When we watch films, we rarely stop to think about where they were shot unless we recognize a Liberty Village building in the background. But filming a movie involves a large amount of resources and effort as well as a place to film. Many television shows and movies are shot on sound stages, where real locations are replicated by set dressers and carpenters, but others are shot on location. Here are some of the things that filmmakers have to worry about when shooting on location.
The first thing that location scouts look for when they're searching for a location to shoot a specific scene is how well that location matches the look and feel that the script writer, production designer, and director are going for. A Saskatoon auto body shop might have the right equipment and be large enough to accommodate the film crew but be to clean and respectable to represent the sketchy machine shop called for in the script, for example.
A common snag that filmmakers run into when shooting on location is problems with permits or permissions. In order to film at a business that does cottage rentals in PEI, the filmmakers need to get permission from the owners. In the case of city streets, permission has to be obtained from the city council. Where helicopter flights or blocking off streets has to be done, there are extra permits required as well as assistance from police and city officials.
There might be a perfect patch of jungle in Mexico that is exactly what the filmmaker wants visually, but if it's at the top of a mountain with no Vallarta condo rentals nearby for the crew and no road that the trucks carrying the lighting, sound, toilet, and food equipment can use to access it, he or she cannot film there. Access to utilities such as water and power is also essential in the case of many major film shoots.
Light and Weather
One of the biggest reasons many directors prefer to work on sound stages is that they have complete control over the weather and the quality of the light. When shooting a GTA limo driving down the street outside, the filmmaker would have to wait until a certain day and time to get the right cloud cover or rain strength. Any delays in production costs big money when you've got hundreds of people on the payroll.
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