Location Scouting: A Vital Step When It Comes to Creating

Location Scouting: A Vital Step When It Comes to Creating

A few days ago I had the idea to shoot a new video. This project would involve three cars driving in a formation next to one another, which means location is key. Over the summer, I went to a spot next to a bridge to do some flying and thinking back to then, this would be an ideal spot to do this shoot. Without any planning, this idea would crumble which is why it is important to always scout these locations beforehand.

The idea I have in mind for this is simple. I would have all three cars driving in a triangular formation at a set speed, taking up all three lanes of the highway. I will have my pilot, Tom Harmon, fly my Inspire 2, while I operate the camera with a 45mm (90mm equivalent) to get right up close to the cars. This all sounds easy when said, but when it comes time to plan out the entire shoot, we need to make sure we cover everything before it all falls apart. The first thing to take care of is location. I chose the spot by the bridge because it is a pretty unique place compared to just driving on a road. Another reason why I like this spot is because it is a three-lane highway on both sides, making it easy to align the cars and have them driving in a legal manner. You may be questioning how we will fly over the highway or got this shot when there were no other cars on the road that could get in the way, but I am hoping the solution will be simple. We plan on doing the shoot right at the crack of dawn when there is little to no traffic and some good light from the sunrise.


I included a few sample shots from the Inspire 2 with the 45mm lens as we followed traffic at about 35–55 mph. This is only one of the shots we'd shoot for the video, while the others will have to be rehearsed later on again before shooting. By taking a few photos of the bridge, we get a sense of location to refer to without actually being at the location. Having these clips allows me and the people I am working with to brainstorm more ideas and get everything set before the shoot. If you are ever out scouting, I would definitely recommend grabbing photos to refer to down the road. I found that this is extremely helpful in so many different ways because you don't have to return to the location unless maybe the season changes like it did for us.

In the video above, the first two shots are from the summer on the DJI Mavic. I was just out thinking about ways to take a good photo of this bridge and see if would even be worth it to shoot. However, at the time I couldn't think about how I'd go about composing an image there so I just grabbed a few photos and videos as a reference and moved on. The second two clips are more recent test shots from the Inspire 2 with the X5S and Olympus 45mm Lens, shot in D-log (none of the clips are edited or color corrected). With the ability to focus so closely on a subject, I am thinking that filming in the dead of the winter may not be the worst idea if we have three colorful cars driving over the bridge. When all this is said and done, I will probably revisit the location once more before actually filming there, but I figured I would share some of my process with everyone. Who knew that having a few photos to refer back to would come in such handy?

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1 Comment

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Location is so important, I've actually started shootinf in really random places though and seeing how beautiful I can make them.