It’s a very British thing. When the sun comes out and families flock to the beach, a strange ritual occurs. The family will walk to a space in the sand, weighed down by wet suits, towels, beach tents and chairs. They will stand and look. They will mumble and point. They will walk five paces to the left. Once again, more mumbling and pointing. Then the whole group will go two and a half paces to the right. A bit more mumbling and pointing. Finally, half a step towards the sea and a little bit to the right – and that’s it. The perfect place to set up for the day and enjoy the beach.
Finding the right place on the beach is something to be taken seriously. Too close to the water and the tide may creep up on you. Too close to the cliffs, and there could be too much shade. You need to be far enough away from everyone else to have your own space, yet close enough to the action. And watch out for hazards – jellyfish, large uncomfortable stones and sand that is just too sandy. And of course, you need an unobstructed view.
The right location on the beach will turn a great day in the sunshine into a spectacular one. Once in situ, you can watch all those people who turned up too late to get the good spots, marvel at the construction of windbreaks and beach tents and enjoy the traditional beach towel dance – undressing with a towel loosely tied round their waist and keeping at least a tiny bit of dignity.
It’s said location, location, location – as the popular television programme reveals – are the three things that matter when buying a property, and location is also fundamental when making a video. For a film that showcases a company, then it’s important to realize the surroundings say a huge amount about the firm; are they reflective the brand? Are they corporate or kooky? Cutting edge or old-fashioned?
If the desired look is a busy, modern office, then no amount of clever lighting and ‘fixing in post’ will disguise the fact that there are only three people sitting at a bank of empty desks, because everyone else found an excuse to work from home that day as they did not want to be filmed. If the corproate video is to portray an efficient, well-organized warehouse and distribution centre, then it would be good to have a quick tidy up before the film crew arrive, getting rid of all the usual debris that can litter a warehouse. And remove the inappropriate calendars and hundreds of dirty coffee cups.
For interviews, often the location is the boardroom. But again, think about what the location says to the audience. Is the boardroom reflective of your brand – a bright space where people want to do business? Or is it a bland, off-white box with dirty windows and a tired MFI table?
Like finding the right spot on the beach, finding the right location to film is collaboration. Yes, the Director of Photography and the producer will have eyes trained to see the best location, but it’s also important to discuss it beforehand. A few iPhone photos shared prior to the shoot can make all the difference. Location matters, especially if you want to avoid getting sand kicked in your face.
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