Online Video Making: Shooting on Location

Last week we talked about shooting online videos in a studio. While having a controlled environment and a set give you greater control over the shots, many videos must be shot on location. After all, if you’re making a training video for your assembly line workers, it’s not practical to create an assembly line in the studio; if your video is promoting a line of swimming pool products, you’ll want to include poolside shots. Shooting on location can add a level of realism to the video, but it does have its own set of challenges.

Scouting Locations for Your Online Video

The first task is to scout locations for your online video. Use your script as a guide and highlight each scene that needs to be shot on location. Next, create a list of all locations. For example, your Web video may have several scenes, each shot at a different location such as an interior office scene, a poolside scene, a beach scene, and a church scene. After you’ve highlighted and listed all locations, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for. Think about possible locations that could serve double duty. For example, a hotel on the beach would likely also have a swimming pool. A church likely also has administrative offices.

Once you have your list, brainstorm nearby locations that might work. Include your partners as one of your partners may be willing to allow you to shoot the video at a personal residence or commercial building, minimizing the need for permits and rental fees.

Obtaining Permits for Video Production

Your video calls for a scene in an art museum, and you just so happen to live close to one that would be perfect. You’re even a member, so you can get in for free. You grab your video gear and ask your talent to meet you at the front of the museum – not so fast! You’ll need to get permission first. Most likely, you’ll also need a permit.

The permit process varies by different types of facilities, cities, and states. In general, expect to fill out an application, provide proof of liability insurance, explain in writing what your shooting plans are, and pay a fee. You may also have to notify nearby residents of your intentions. If you’re working with a video production company, the producer will likely take care of these details on your behalf. If you’re shooting the video on your own, you will be responsible for obtaining the necessary filming permits.

Shooting Video on Location

The locations have been scouted, permits pulled, and shooting day has arrived. Like a studio shoot, the video production crew will be busy setting up audio, lighting, and camera equipment. Though you’re shooting on location, the location will likely need to be staged somewhat. Among the challenges you’ll likely encounter while on location are:

  • Weather and wind issues
  • Curious onlookers
  • Access to power sources

Fortunately, experienced video production crews are equipped to handle most challenges. With careful planning, an on location video shoot can be the right call.