When there are so many beautiful places to film on location, you don’t have to be limited to a film set. Shooting on location will enable you to achieve a sense of authenticity and realism that you wouldn’t get in a studio. It can sometimes be cheaper and you can film in places that wouldn’t otherwise be possible to recreate on a soundstage or backlot. And those are just a few of the advantages of location shooting. On the downside, you’ll have to do location scouting, deal with permits, and possibly dub over voices.
Where you choose to film will be completely dependent on how long filming will take, your budget, and the film’s setting. Whether you’re shooting a move, TV show, or a short commercial, here are some of the best places to film on location.
The United States is so vast, that filmmakers have many choices when it comes to locations. From, suburban neighbourhoods to big cities, America has it all. Two of the most common places to shoot on location in the US are California and New York.
California is the home of Hollywood, where filmmakers and actors alike search for their next big projects. Despite the number of prominent studios, California is also a popular filming location. Movies such as Forrest Gump (1994), Rush Hour (1998), and The Princess Diaries (2001), were filmed in various locations across California. Finding a great filming location in Los Angeles isn’t hard, especially since it is the hub of the motion picture industry.
New York is on this list of the best filming locations because of its well-known landmarks. New York has inspired many filmmakers over the years, and with places like Brooklyn, Times Square, and Central Park, it’s not surprising. New York monuments such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building can be seen in films, such as Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) and Trading Places (1983).
Canada is such a versatile landscape and has attracted countless directors and producers. One television show that films on location in Canada is Heartland (2007–present). While some of the interior shots were filmed in a studio, the rest of the show is filmed on a working ranch in Alberta. When one of the characters moves to Mongolia, the production team used the Drumheller valley to depict it.
Some locations in Canada have often been used as a stand-in for locations in the United States. Shooting in Canada has been a popular option for filmmakers as it can be a cheaper alternative. For example, Mean Girls (2004) was shot on location in Canada, though the film was set in the Chicago suburbs.
The United Kingdom is also a popular choice for filmmakers. Contrary to what most people think, the UK has more to offer than sprawling manor houses and the countryside to use as filming locations for period dramas. Two places of note are London and Liverpool.
London is a common filming location, and like New York, is renowned for its distinguishing landmarks. Big Ben, the London Eye, and Buckingham Palace can be spotted in quite a few blockbuster movies. Films shot in London include Love Actually (2003) and Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019).
While Liverpool may not seem like the ideal location to shoot a movie, places like the Royal Albert Dock, the Georgian Quarter, and the Liver Building have been used in many films. Sherlock Holmes (2009) filmed scenes on Stanley Dock, while Liverpool Town Hall can be seen in The Hunt for Red October (1990), and the Queensway Tunnel was featured in Fast & Furious 6 (2013).
Ireland has been used as a filming location for numerous mainstream films such as The Princess Bride (1987). The rolling countryside in Ireland was to depict 13th century Scotland in Braveheart (1995). Other great places to film on location are New Zealand, where the Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001–2003) and Wolverine (2009) were filmed, and Croatia, where the city of Dubrovnik was used to film Game of Thrones (2011–2019) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017).
Before you start filming, you should do some location scouting to make sure the place you are shooting in is suitable for your needs and you should also make sure that you have all the necessary permits. If you’re not sure what you need to do before you start filming in a specific location, contact the local film commission. You’ll need to think about how easily you been able to gain access to the location and its availability. Some things are better shot on a soundstage, but if you’re looking for natural beauty and realism, then location shooting will be a good option for you.
Image Credits: Obregonia D. Toretto