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On-Location Video Production and Filmaking: Pros and Cons

By September 17, 2013March 16th, 2016Video

Location Shooting: Pros and Cons

This past week, Tahoe Production House went on location for a commercial shoot.  Why did we do this?  Because it was a lot easier to go to the location that had what we needed, in this case a Casino Craps Table, then to build it ourselves in a studio or on a backlot.  The definition of Location Shooting is: the act of filming in an actual setting rather than on a back lot or a sound stage.

In filmmaking, a location is any place where a film crew will be filming actors and recording dialog.  Filmmakers often choose to shoot on location because they believe that greater realism can be achieved in a “real” place, however location shooting is also often motivated by the film’s budget.

It is often believed that filming “on location” takes place in the actual location in which its story is set, but that is not usually the case.  Most films do both filming on location and studio shoots.  Low-budget films usually do more location shooting than bigger budget films due to the cost of shooting at a place that already exsists is cheaper than building one from scratch.  Sometimes the latter is true.

Location shooting has Pros over filming on a studio set:

  • It can be cheaper than constructing large sets

  • The illusion of reality can be stronger – it is hard to replicate real-world wear-and-tear, and architectural details

Its disadvantages include:

  • A lack of control over the environment — lighting, passing aircraft, traffic, pedestrians, bad weather, city regulations, etc.

  • Finding a real-world location which exactly matches the requirements of the script

  • Members of the audience may be familiar with a real-world location used to double as a fictional location

  • Taking a whole film crew to film on location can be extremely expensive

Location shooting usually requires a lot of coordination, so having a location manager can be helpful.  Depending on your budget, this might be the best option for your shoot.