Do you need a location scout for your next film?

The question could almost be answered with another question: would this article feel out of place if it was posted on a website belonging to a local pharmacy? The value of shooting on location, the right location, is beyond dispute. Furthermore, do you know what real estate agents and location scouts have in common? They have the same three favorite words: ‘location, location, location’.

If shooting on location is important, then the process of finding the ideal places where you will make your masterpiece come to life is, by definition, equally important. With that established, the original query can be addressed, do you need a location scout for your next film? That’s exactly what we are going to find out.

Real or Fake?

You should not misinterpret what has been mentioned previously; studio sets are needed and should be used appropriately. The main advantages of a studio are:

  • Control- This is the most important one. No dwelling over whether or not an overly eager passer-by may find it appropriate to run in and ruin the perfect shot. Studio sets eliminate almost all of the unknowns.
  • Imagination comes to life- This depends on the film, but sometimes nature cannot imitate art. If you need to film a scene on a technologically advanced alien planet, chances are, you are going to need to create a lot of elements from scratch.
  • Fewer restrictions- Permits and paperwork are not as problematic.

Looking at the above, it would seem like there is no need to leave the comforts of the studio. Budget restrictions aside, there are plenty of reasons to shoot on location.

Advantages of Real Locations

The main problem a studio has is that you can feel the lack of authenticity. A real location will help create the mood and atmosphere that most directors strive for. Furthermore, real locations will be able to match more closely what the script itself needs. There’s nothing quite like real life to bring a movie to life.

Using a Location Scout for Your Next Film Could Level the Playing Field

There is a reason why I compared the two main options available to a director; it seems that the advantages of one represent the disadvantages of the other and vice versa. Bring in the location scout, the ultimate leveler. Bear with me for just a moment longer; I am going somewhere with this.

You see, through location scouting, you are not just going on a site-seeing quest to discover what looks appealing and could be used to paint the perfect picture you have in your mind’s eye. It’s a lot more technical than that. There are many things to consider when choosing a great filming location, but that’s always the case when you are searching for something great, isn’t it? A location scout needs to think about everything, and I mean everything. Whether it is obtaining the required permits, talking to the local population, hiring security (to make sure those pesky by-passers don’t get any wild ideas), or dealing with potential logistical nightmares, they are ensuring there will be no hick-ups. So, if studio sets offer control, first and foremost, and location scouting can secure this for real sets, you can see how it eliminates its main disadvantage without compromising its advantages.

Benefits of Location Scouting

Without using a location scout and committing enough time to find the ideal sites for shooting your movie, you risk damaging your production’s overall appearance and quality. Yes, you can always use location databases, but everybody knows about their existence. Viewers have already seen the places that they offer; they are looking for something fresh, so this is not the optimal solution. It could help to keep in mind what are some of the most-used filming locations when making your decision. Careful research and scouting will lead to you finding exactly what you need while maintaining originality. With more people involved in the process, the chances of finding locations that fit your script just right increase.

Without a proper location scout, the movie can seem sloppy and ill-prepared. As we saw, there are many technical issues to resolve, and if you have not planned everything out, it could lead to unforeseen delays and discomfort among the crew. This translates badly onto the big screen. 

A lot of times, it could also be a budgetary issue. Studio sets are expensive. Creativity, imagination, and careful planning can go a long way. Does it require hard work? Of course, it does, but the benefits are evident. Arm yourself with an extensive location scouting checklist and get to work; it will be worth it.

Logistics – Ironically, You Cannot Run Away From Them

Logistics play a big part in choosing your perfect locations. For example, Iceland offers fantastic views. The Aurora Borealis remains on my bucket list. It could make for some amazing shots, so you decide to go there. However, getting all of the equipment to said location could be a tricky affair. For something like this, you need to obtain door-to-door deliveries. Fortunately, there are ways to deliver your gear anywhere in the world, even to those more exotic locations. You need to find a way to make sure all the equipment is transported safely, and a location scout can handle this as well.

Can You Guess the Answer?

It feels like we have come full circle. The location is undeniably important. Through careful planning, the main disadvantages of using real locations can be mitigated. Do you need a location scout for your next film? The answer is that in most cases, you do. It will increase the chances of your vision coming to life. Now, if you will excuse me, I have an overwhelming urge to book a ticket to Reykjavík. 


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