5 Tips for Location Scouting

January 16, 2023

Location Scouts and Why They Matter  

The number of days spent in production is one of the biggest influences on your project budget. Each production day will typically involve a director, a producer, camera operators, talent, and various other people who make everything run smoothly on set. While their expertise is costly, it’s also what enables a video to be excellent and effective. Ultimately, our job is to work within your budget to give you a great piece of content that will matter to your audience and give value to your message. Location scouts are part of what we do to ensure that we’re prepared for those precious production days so you get the most bang for your buck.

What is the Goal of a Location Scout?   

On a location scout, we survey an area of potential locations to get a feel for what fits. The goal is to find a place that balances an accurate representation of the creative director’s vision and the locations that are available within the project scope. A successful location scout requires innovation, astute observation, and flexibility. When you’re on a schedule or a tight budget, you simply can’t afford to be close-minded or unimaginative.

Let’s get practical.

Here are 5 things to keep in mind on a location scout.

1. Time & Light

The position of the sun and time of day are both crucial factors to consider, especially if the potential production location has a lot of windows or open areas inside of a building. Remember the length of a production day. If you shoot from 6am to 8pm, you have to consider the changes in lighting. After a thorough location scout, the production crew can prepare for lighting changes and adjustments to keep the day running smoothly. But, be aware that outdoor lighting comes with an inherent element of changeability, and it’s important to be flexible.

BR Works Living Room Scene Location Scout
BR Works Living Room Scene Location Scout
BR Works Living Room Scene Live Action Shot 

2. Reflective Surfaces

How often do you pass by a reflective surface to get a glimpse of your hair or to adjust your jacket? They are everywhere, and reflective surfaces are extremely important to pinpoint in a potential production location. Not only can it affect the lighting, but it can also pick up things that are not meant to be included in the video. You don’t want your editor to have to spend extra time editing out the crew in a mirror behind your talent.

3. Logistics of the Space

This one seems obvious, but sometimes goes overlooked. Is it possible to film in a crowded space? Can you safely block off areas for the production crew without interrupting regular business too much? Sometimes this is a no brainer, like when we shoot on location in someone’s house or office. It’s a smaller, contained space that is specially designated for production. But, other times it can be more of a challenge. For example, if you are shooting in a hospital, you cannot shut it down,  so you may have to improvise as production occurs. Allotting time into the schedule for potential interruptions helps the day run more smoothly.

BR Works Kitchen Scene Location Scout  BR Works Kitchen Scene Location Scout  

BR Works Kitchen Scene Live Action Shot 

4. Aesthetics 

Aesthetics are the look and feel of a location. Finding the right ambiance is vital to the creative component of a video. You want a place that is an over-exaggerated version of what the concept is trying to convey because it will be more visually interesting for your audience. The aesthetics of a location will affect the mood of a video long before an editor adds music, motion graphics, and color adjustments.

BR Works Backyard BBQ Location Scout BR Works Backyard BBQ Location Scout  Man dances at his backyard BBQBR Works Backyard BBQ Scene Live Action Shot 

5. Production Functionality   

Finally, consider the functionality of the space. Quite simply, there needs to be enough physical room at the location for the production crew to set up equipment comfortably. While creatives are almost always excited to approach a difficult, challenging shot, remember that each set up and experiment will take time and adjustments. Addressing production functionality and planning accordingly ensures that your crew can stay on schedule, and therefore on budget.



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