Location, Location, Location (Part 2) – A 3 Part Series on Where to Film

A person with a slate stands in front of equipment parked on set, indicative that locations cost money, baby!
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Finding the right location for your next video project makes a huge difference. However, there's more costs that come with a location than you might think.

Why Locations Cost Money (And How That Cost Racks Up)

Welcome back to Location, Location, Location: A 3-Part Series About Where to Film! Last time, we discussed the ins and outs of how to find and lock down your filming location. This time, we’re focusing on something clients never love discussing: hard location costs.

Something that often goes ignored when discussing locations is cost. Many clients believe public spaces will be simple and cheap to film. True, some of them are, but this isn’t a guarantee. Knowing how much an Atlanta filming location will likely cost can be difficult, so understanding what goes into that price is important. Below are 7 factors that will affect the price of a location:

Loss of revenue for owner

If you’re looking to rent a business space, it may require the space be closed. This is definitely going to cost you. If it’s at all possible to film when the business would normally be closed that is better, but the owner of the business will either need to be there or will need a representative of the business to lock-up and possibly supervise. These things cost the owner money, and they’re likely to charge you for it.

Size of cast and crew/ size of venue

The size of your venue, and the size of your crew have to match somewhat. If you’re looking to shoot in a bathroom with a crew of 50 people and a cast of 20, it’s going to get very tight in there. Keep in mind that wear and tear of any location goes up exponentially the bigger the crowd is, the location manager or owner will definitely take this fact into account when deciding on what to charge you.

Equipment and Resources Used

Many savvy locations will ask what kind of equipment you will be bringing and what kind of power that equipment will draw. It’s no secret that film equipment, lights especially, can take a ton of power to run, so locations will need to take that use of power into account. (This is one reason ECG Productions often uses LED fixtures when it’s appropriate.)

Permit Requirements

What are the permit laws for this location? If this location is a public place you will likely need a permit and these come with fees that are usually scalable depending on your needs. Filming in a small area of a park? You’re not likely looking at any huge permit fees, but if you need to close down an entire city block and use a drone and pyrotechnics? You’ll be charged accordingly.

Parking

Remember those 50 crew members and 20 cast members from the bathroom scene? They’ll all need a place to park. Finding street parking for this amount of people can be very difficult. No one wants to have their crew worried about getting out of a 10 hour day to a parking ticket, or worse, a towed car. You may need to rent a parking lot for your location. This will add to your location costs.

Timing

How long you will need a location has a huge impact on how expensive it will be. Keep in mind that overage rates are often more expensive, so do your best to estimate exactly how much time you’ll need.

Insurance

Everyone has to have insurance and a location will want to verify that yours covers enough, and that theirs covers them as well. If you’re planning any strange activities, this may affect rates.

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