10 Production Tips for Location Shooting

Whether you’re making a movie on a large budget or getting ready to shoot a short film, there are rules everyone needs to follow. Putting together a film set can seem like a never-ending task. There are plenty of areas you need to make sure to include within your plans. 

Location shooting is not only about locking down your space to film. It’s about setting up your film set so that your cast and crew are safe. It’s about having everything so that the director can call “action.”

If you’re getting ready to run a production, it’s time to organize your plans. Here are a few production tips to keep in mind on your next film set. These will help your set to run as smoothly as possible. 

1. List of All People on Set

No matter your film’s budget, one of the most important things you can do for your set is to know who should be there. Including an organized list will give you an indication of how many people are on set. You want to know that you have everyone accounted for. 

This list will give your whole crew an indication of what they’re going to be dealing with. Even your PAs need a general indication of what to expect when they’re on set. 

Detail for yourself and your entire crew what your day is going to look like as far as people go. Make sure that it is as updated and accurate as possible. This will give you an indication of what you should expect as far as bodies go. 

2. Have First Aid Available

Accidents on a film set do happen. While you may take all of the precautions to ensure that they don’t happen, the slightest error can require medical assistance from any part of your cast or crew. Immediate first aid can save your entire shoot in the event of an emergency.

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Before you even begin shooting, be sure that there is a form of first aid available. Have everything stocked so that these emergency services can be sought out or administered immediately in the event of an accident. 

Have all bandages, disinfectants, and other items that are needed in the event of an emergency. Your team can never be too prepared for something to go wrong and for medical aid to be needed on set. 

3. Secure a Restroom Option

One of the most valuable regards that you can make when it comes to your set is a bathroom rental. On-set amenities will always be something that is required and needed. You cannot ask your talent and your staff to hold it throughout the duration of a set. 

A bathroom rental should be one of the first areas that you secure for your set. Look into a luxury bathroom rental when possible. 

Giving your cast and crew clean and hospitable bathrooms will make a big difference in how they react on set. By giving them clean bathrooms you show up well-prepared for your shoot. Your entire set will see the difference between not making any arrangements for them, and making sure that they’re as comfortable as possible. 

4. Scope Out the Sound Structure

One of the biggest problems that comes along with filming in a public place is the sound quality. What most individuals don’t realize is that microphones pick up everything. The last thing your production needs is to have to pause for every sound. 

Testing the sound quality before the day of filming will tell you what you might need on set. Take a sound recordist with you to see if they can handle the area. Some busy areas may be too much for even the best microphones to get clear audio. 

In some cases, they might be able to put special blockers on their microphones to dull the surrounding sounds. Noise control will be a very important aspect of your project. 

5. Have All Required Permits

Unless you are doing a gorilla-style shoot, you must have all the paperwork to shoot in locations. Many locations require permits and documentation to get your shots. Be sure to clear all of your filming needs before setting anything up or showing up with your cast and crew. 

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If your documentation is needed, all of the paperwork should be kept handy.

In some events, you may need to prove that you have permission to film in a certain space. Always try to have all of that paperwork ready to hand off should it be asked for. 

6. Invest in Insurance

One area that is not stressed enough is the importance of having the correct insurance on your film set. There is insurance available for everything from camera equipment to locations and stunts. Depending on the type of film shoot you’re setting up, you may need part of these or all of these. 

Insurance protects your investments and makes it so that in the event of an emergency you’re covered. 

Look into what type of insurance will best protect your film. Ask all of the reasonable questions beforehand regarding what you should be looking for and how you should be protecting yourself and your crew during those long set days. 

7. Have the Correct Equipment

It takes more than most people understand to get the perfect shot. Going over your equipment and making sure you have all of the sound and lighting materials is a big part of your filming day. One of the most important areas you need to plan out is your equipment. 

Make sure that your DP and other crew have all of the correct items they need to make the set run smoothly. Days before shooting, go over every list in grave detail. 

Many crews have their own equipment that they will bring along with them. In other cases, this equipment can be rented for certain fees per day. 

8. Keep an Eye on the Weather

You don’t want your shots to be tampered with because of bad weather. If possible, be sure you’re scheduling your set for a good day to be filming. Reschedule when possible if the weather is going to be less than what you need if you’re doing an outdoor shoot. 

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Cameras and other equipment can be easily destroyed or damaged when out in conditions that aren’t suitable for your shoot. 

You also need to take concern when it comes to your cast and crew. Will they be able to film in less than great conditions? Will they have problems making it to set if the weather doesn’t stay something desirable? 

Weather can play a big part in throwing off any of your filming plans. 

9. Stock Food Service

Your entire crew needs fuel for the day ahead of them and in between shots. Besides having meals prepared for your cast and crew, having craft service availability is also key on set. 

Stock your snack table with healthy foods that will give your crew and actors stamina throughout the day. Fruits and veggies are a great idea when possible. Things such as granola and nuts are also a good idea to keep your crew feeling up to the task. 

One thing you will need to look into before stocking a craft service table is any allergies that might be on site. Always be considerate of the items that your crew may not be able to have around them. 

10. Be as Prepared as Possible

When it comes to filming at your location, you want your set to be as prepared as possible. Having everything planned out and in order will be an asset to your crew. While you should have assistants to help with these plans, you still need to make sure that everything is in order.

Assemble enough schedules and files that have everything if documentation and reminders are needed. It is always an asset to the production when things are prepared and organized.

Have everything as planned out as possible before your crew begins shooting.  

Location Shooting Is an Adventure to Set Up

When it comes to setting up a location to film in, there are plenty of plans that need to be put in place. Location shooting isn’t always the most reliable situation and having those key areas, such as a bathroom, locked down will help your cast and crew to be ready for action. Have everything planned out before you begin filming. 

Ready to take a break from thinking about the set you’ve been constructing? Take a look through our other articles. We have the topics that you’ve been looking for. 

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