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Location Scouting

Lesson 5 from: Produce And Create An Impactful Interview

Abba Shapiro

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Lesson Info

5. Location Scouting

Lesson Info

Location Scouting

Let's talk about locations. The first thing you need to do when setting up an interview is figuring out where your location is and a lot of times, you're given a location. Maybe it's a hotel room, maybe it's a person's office, maybe it's a meeting room, conference center, or in this case, we have a large set. But I want to talk about some of the things I have problems with and some of the benefits. The first thing I do when I come into a location is I listen and that's really important. We don't really listen when we're in a room. We tune that out and I notice that there is this heater that's on and that's going to give me this low hum that I'm going to be fighting. The next thing is, if you can't turn something on or off, be aware that the air conditioning or heater system may go on and off during the interview and you have to be sensitive to that. Always get some ambient sound at the beginning and the end of your interview so you can cut that in under so it can be a lot smoother. The...

n next thing I would do when I'm in a room is listen to how sound echoes. This is a very live space. It's a very hard space. If we take a look, we have a hard wall here, a metal wall, I have bricks, I have a concrete floor. All of those things are going to bounce sound. I also have a very high ceiling. That's going to give me an echo. So if I'm going to use this space, I want to be aware that I'm going to have to do something to fix that. Probably put some moving blankets, that will deaden the sound. Sound blankets is what they're called, but moving blankets is really what they are, and I can put those on the floor, I can hang those off of the walls, and that's going to soften the echo and give me better quality sound. The next issue is I have a lot of windows and I'm on the street here and there's a lot of background construction noise. So that's going to be an issue. Do I want to shoot in this space even though it looks really pretty but I'm going to be fighting sound the whole time? So I have to weigh that decision. Now we have some curtains here and that's going to deaden the sound from outside, but maybe if I want to use this space, I have to pick a time of the day when there is less construction or less noise. And that's true no matter where you are. If you're working at an office space, are you near an elevator? In a hotel, are you near an elevator? A lot of times I've done conferences and they give me a room and it's on the second floor of the hotel and I say, "I can really hear the street. Can you give me something on the top floor maybe that shows the back of the hotel so I don't have that extra sound?" So always be careful to listen to the sound. Just stand there for a few minutes and hear things that might interfere with your interview. So that's an important thing when dealing with sound. The next thing is, I want to see if my light's good. Now this is a beautiful room with light. I have a lot of ambient light coming in. I have these huge windows and if we look here, behind the windows, they are frosted glass. So that's going to give me great diffusion and I can really leverage this light so I can probably do my interview a lot quicker because I don't have to set up all these lights. The downside is if I move those curtains out of the way, I'm going to hear a lot more of the noise. So the plus is they deaden the noise, the downside is that if I move it, I might hear more street noise. Things to keep in mind. When I'm dealing with light, I want to see if i have a lot of space to position my lights. I also want to make sure I have enough power and I look around to see if there's outlets, that's useful if you're going to be charging batteries, if you're going to be running lights directly off the electricity. And if you're using lights that use a lot of power, maybe not LEDs, but maybe the old-fashioned incandescent lights, you're going to eat power. You need to make sure there's going to be plugs or you're going to need to be prepared to bring some extension cords. So that's what I do about light and space. And it's nice to be able to scout your location. It's not always an option, but today, it's very easy to find out what a space looks like. You can definitely have the client send you pictures. They can take a picture with their phone and immediately message them or email them to you. You can even set up a video conference from their phone and they can walk you through the location. It's really good to do that in advance so you don't necessarily have to worry about challenges when you get on set for the first time. Keep in mind when you're scouting a location, you should scout it at the time of the day that you're planning to do your shoot because sounds are a lot different. In the morning, I have this construction. If I love this space, I'll do it in the evening. What's my light doing? If I scouted in the morning and I'm shooting in the afternoon, the light could be on the other side of the building. Are people in the office? These are things to keep in mind when you're scouting a location.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Rough Cut of Blair Stocker Interview
Location Considerations

Ratings and Reviews


I found this course very helpful and I recommend it. I picked up a lot of tips, and frankly this course made me realize that putting more preparation into client interactions AND using a more sophisticated production pays off in higher quality video. I wish he had gone into more detail on microphones and camera gear but I can pick that up on review sites.

Jess Connor

At first, I felt like the class was difficult to get into during the "live" instruction but quickly found after the first few classes that the information was extremely valuable. Maybe it was just me- maybe it just wasn't my style at first. I absolutely would recommend this class to anyone interested in learning interview or basic film skills. It's brilliant!

Geo Wright

Abba was great at explaining why you would do a specific thing in an interview and also the editing as well. Well worth watching.

Student Work