Moving Pictures – locations

Location – Location – Location

This is an area of story telling that I’m very particular about; Where you shoot something says as much about the final product as the dialogue itself. The selection of the right location should be a major item in your pre-production planning. Some times the location is an easy thing to decide: A story about a teacher should be shot in a classroom… A story about a fireman should be shot with him sitting on the bumper of a fire truck… easy enough, right? Not always.

As a video producer, you will inevitably end up with a story that doesn’t seem to demand a particular location… and that’s OK. I think that the next logical decision should be where NOT to do the interview. Just my opinion here: don’t just default to putting your subject in the corner of the room with a silk plant behind them… this isn’t a testimonial for the local credit union, it’s a story about how God works in the lives of people! Find somewhere to shoot the interview that won’t distract from what’s being said. …and PLEASE: Don’t shoot an interview with your subject on a green-screen unless you’re going to add a cool motion element to the piece! (Great example from my friend Ken Wilson at NewSpring Church: http://vimeo.com/5368535)

Bottom line: When the story doesn’t “demand” a certain location, keep it simple and effective.

For John’s story, I had very little time to plan and just one (late) afternoon to shoot. Rather than just have him “meet me at the church”, I suggested that I could stop by his house. I took advantage of a great looking staircase in front of his place and then just let him tell his story. Editing and treatment took about a day and a half, and the final product worked great in a sermon about God meeting us right where we live. In the end, I’d like to think that the viewer doesn’t even consider the location simply because it didn’t distract any from the story.


2 comments on “Moving Pictures – locations

  1. Oh, man…wait til I tell you what happened with us on location.

    Day 1 – we filmed at sunset in the most beautiful meadow you could possibly imagine. Perfect wheat. Perfect tree in the middle of the field.

    Day 2 of the shoot – Nearly 2 weeks later we went back to film the second half of the video…and they’d bailed the hay and plowed the entire field.

    I cried quietly for about 20 minutes. Then we had to figure out how to work around it. Location is so important. I agree with you 100%.

  2. i agree too. i once took part in a music shoot and the director ditched it half way through saying the location was wrong!

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