Documentary pre-production, location scouting

Documentary location scouting

Documentary Location Scouting

I am jumping ahead here by starting the locations starting so early in a Documentary project. I came across an interesting online article that could prove to be vitally important in the production of my documentary film. A local venue has been running Cinema and Entertainment events specifically for Dementia sufferers and their carers, which is central to the narrative of my documentary.

To research this further and to take this idea to the next step I decided to conduct a recce of the venue and surrounding locations in the immediate area before contacting the venue. The reason for this may seem obvious but my aim was to scout the venue to see if it met my requirements as a filmmaker, which I have listed below. It is also a good idea to try and get a feel for a location and see how it fits into your visualisation. One of the key things to my films is production value. What do I mean by this? for example if you need to film in a church and both the local church and the cities Cathedral are both potential options always go for the Cathedral to immediately step up the production value of your film. Of course this isn’t a hard rule and sometimes the local church is the better option.

Documentary location requirements

  • Venue open to filming
  • What access will they allow
  • Dates available
  • Cost if any
  • Additional permissions required – if any
  • Is the location noisy so poor sound
  • Restricted Public access

Additional requirements

  • Easy to get to
  • Parking
  • Services near to hand (food, drink, toilets, medical)

The B-Roll

What is the B-roll? whenever you are filming a documentary or indeed any filming you will always need to make cuts in your footage. an examples of this would be a long interview, which after a short while becomes boring visually, there’s only so much time that you can watch what I call a bobbing head, you can acceptably watch for 15 seconds but any longer and you need to break away to a different visual just to keep your audience engaged. When you cut you need to cut away to a different visual usually related to the what the subject is discussing, but may just relate to the location, but whatever it is make it interesting.