For any filmmaker, finding the best shooting location (even for something like a product shoot) can be difficult and time consuming sometimes. The location and backdrop of a shot can make it truly exceptional, or rather bland and forgettable. There are a few things that any filmmaker can do to make sure that the backdrop and scene are perfect.
Maps and other guides to the area are easy to find with access to the internet. Examine a map of your area to find interesting spots such as varying landscapes, sidewalks, streets, and even specific details such as flower beds or even an incline of the ground. Make note of interesting places to check out, and plan a route to scout out each location. This will save time and gas.
The oldest trick in the book for any filmmaker to find great locations is to just drive and look around the area. Your search for a perfect backdrop may take you through many different locations, from the back alleys of a city to the deep wilderness.
No matter where you go, it is necessary to protect your gear and have a convenient way of carrying it around. As you go to different shoot locations, make sure that all of your gear is easy to carry and is protected—no matter where your shoot takes you. A well-made travel bag can make the difference when it comes to traveling to shoots. Climbing around and getting the lay of the land is important to look at details, but make sure all your gear is stored and shielded while looking about.
Knowing the Popular Areas
In every town or city, there are popular and famous landmarks, gardens, memorials, buildings, or other locations where local history was made. Do some research on the area you’re in to get a feel for these kinds of spots. Ask locals for some of their favorite places to go in the city. Check out the history of the area, and make arrangements to visit these locations to get a feel for what might work for your planned shoot.
Apps and Websites
There are multiple apps and websites that are just the ticket for finding other locations. Instagram, Flickr, ShotHotspot are just a few that can be used to show a variety of locations that other photographers and filmmakers are currently using. It might also inspire you to transform areas you hadn’t thought of into the perfect backdrop.
Technology has made it easier to find the perfect spot for any shoot. While the old fashioned way of driving around in a car can still be used as a great method for inspiration and creativity, it’s not the only way. Use these tips to save time, energy, and money by doing a little research beforehand. Combine all of these ideas to form a different approach and make your own way to find the perfect location for your next shoot.
Do you have great location shots to share? Please submit them to the St. Lawrence International Film Festival!