Location Scout Checklist to Find the Perfect Spot to Shoot
Having the best place to shoot your film production project begins with an experience location scout. If you’re not a location scout, or you intend not to hire one and wish to do it yourself, that’s okay too. Follow along with this location scout checklist to find the perfect spot to shoot your film. A few steps in research and careful planning and you’ll be on your way to a great shoot.
Read the Script
The first step to scouting a location has absolutely nothing to do with the location itself. You need to read the script. Without a full understanding of the script and the fine details of the story, you cannot possibly determine whether a specific location is, or is not, ideal for the shoot.
Familiarize yourself with the script and the emotional background of the story. The goal here is to understand the script in a way that allows you to fully immerse yourself in a particular scene and know exactly what it will take to produce that scene visually.
The next step is to research details on the location you are considering your shoot in. Check the official community website to determine weather forecasting and permitting details that will help you to ensure you schedule your shoot at the appropriate time.
You’ll also be able to get important facility information through research and may be able to check surrounding locations as well. All without ever leaving the office.
Scout the Locations
Next you will travel to the locations that you have in mind and start scouting. Take a camera with you so that you can take shots of the important elements of each location and begin to visualize the shots that will be captured as well as the setup that you will use for camera, lighting, audio and crew.
As you are scouting the location, pay close attention to the surrounding noise or actions. Is there traffic or other noise? Is there a lot of interruption from animals or people? These can all make your shoot difficult and may mean you’re in the wrong location.
If you’re considering an indoor location, is the area big enough for your crew? Is there enough room for the equipment?
If shooting outside, can you control the natural light and will there be a particular time of day that is better or worse for your shoot?
Take note of your surroundings and any pertinent details while you are there. Capture pictures so that you can reference later on as you make your final decisions.
Check Nearby Facilities
Once you have checked the actual location, consider checking out the nearby facilities to ensure you and your crew will have everything you need while there.
Make a checklist of the important elements to check while on location such as:
- Cell signal
- ATM and banking locations
- Hotels and lodging
- Food and other essentials
- Medical care
Make a Decision
After you have taken note of each location and the important sound, physical, lighting and surrounding features, you can head back to your office to decide what’s best for you. Use the pictures that you took to review and make a final decision on the best location for your shoot.
Location scouting takes time and effort, but you can do it. This location scout checklist makes finding the perfect spot to shoot a step-by-step process.