To Achieve On-Location Video Success, Be a Better Boy Scout

A Boy Scout would never leave for a camp out without scouting out the area first. He would want to know the weather, the food and water situation, and the best places to set up camp.

If you are considering shooting an on-location video, we advise that you take a page from the Boy Scout handbook and go into the shoot prepared. To help you do so, our DC-area video production team has come up with the following location scouting tips, which can help increase your odds of a stress-free, successful shoot. Be prepared or suffer the consequences. You've been warned!

  • Choose the Right Location. You want your surroundings to fit the message of your video. So, if you are shooting a how-to video for your new garden rake, choose a lovely garden—not a barren stretch of earth or tub of soil on your kitchen counter.
  • Scout at the Right Time. If you plan on shooting at 5:00 p.m., scout at 5:00 p.m. And don’t do it a month or more before your shoot—wait until a few weeks or days before. Natural light changes each day. So, if you scout the location in October, the lighting will be very different by December.
  • Look for the Right Light. Where are you getting your light from? The source should properly illuminate your subjects without flooding them with light. Bring your own lights if you believe the ambient lighting won't be enough to light your subject.
  • Listen for the Wrong Sounds. Writing off noises, such as people talking or traffic in the distance, is a big mistake. Even seemingly quiet, distant noises can be picked up by the microphone. If you don't realize this until you get home, you may have wasted an entire day of shooting.
  •  Ask for Permission. If you are shooting video in a public space, you'll need to get a  permit from local authorities. If you are shooting on the property of a business, you'll need permission from the owner. If you neglect to do so, your shoot could be derailed by a visit from the police.

Beyond the Basics

Need more? Our D.C.-area web video production team can help you plan your shoot and shoot, edit, code, and promote your videos. Our award-winning team can give you the edge you need to not only compete in your local market, but dominate it.

Jim Folliard
Founder, Director, Cinematographer, Photographer & Editor
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