Our Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Recce
A “recce” (abbreviated from reconnaissance) is essentially visiting a shoot location before filming to assess its suitability for shooting and is vital to ensuring your shoot day goes as well as it can. If you have a video production project on the horizon and you’re wondering what to look out for here’s checklist of what to focus on when doing a “recce” of any location you may want to film at:
Health and Safety
The number 1 reason for doing a recce is to access how safe the location is going to be. The last thing anyone wants on shoot day is equipment (or worse, people) getting injured or damaged. You’ll need to look at access–especially if there’s lots of loading to be done–and the space in general to identify anything that could be a possible hazard.
Something you have to consider is how much space do you actually have to work in? If it’s a small area you may have to restrict yourself to just the bare essential pieces of equipment and plan where they need to be set up. Also you’ll need to know how you’re going to get all the equipment in there. If you’re going to be doing a lot of moving around will it be worthwhile in investing in something to help move the equipment or an extra set of hands?
If you are planning to film outside it’s essential to take into consideration the weather. Check the long range forecasts and consider how the weather may affect your shoot. Can the shooting be done if its raining?, windy?, snowing?
Rain covers for cameras make it possible to shoot in wet conditions.
Even on really sunny days you may need to plan for such things as too much light and how to compensate for it.
It is important to review how many lights are going to be needed to light your location. If you’re inside consider the windows and that amount of natural light that will be in the room. You may discover that you have a lot of windows that may need diffusing or blocking, so measurements will need be to taken so that you can precut everything that’s needed, saving time on the day.
Sometimes when doing a recce you may find something there that you never considered before, that would look great as a prop in your fillm. Likewise, you may realize extra props or set pieces are needed to further dress the location.
Shoot day efficiency is key and something that your client will appreciate. One of the big benefits of performing a reccc is to figure out where lights, cameras, props will need to be beforehand saving vital time on the shoot day. This ensures that people aren’t waiting around for longer than is necessary and you can get straight to the shooting.
Something that can easily be overlooked is the amount of sockets available for lights and cameras and any other piece of equipment you want to use. Also the type of power available will be an important factor to establish. We’d also suggest establishing the tech specs of the power ring/circuit you will be using to ensure that you don’t overload the system. Always enquire into how the location will charge for the electricity used and at what rate so that you don’t get any nasty shocks on your final invoice.
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Checking power supply prior to shooting.
Don’t overlook the importance of having a good spot to make tea and coffee! Film crews need to be kept hydrated and they can be known to consume record amounts of tea!
If you are catering for a larger film unit consider whether you are able to get food delivered to location or source it locally.
What else happens around your location?
It is very easy to forget that sometimes the outside world can affect your location. For example you may have an interior location booked but didn’t realize that a train line runs directly behind, or that it is under a flight path. Overlooking elements like this could result in unwanted noise levels that can make filming difficult and time consuming. Likewise for exterior locations you will want to find out if anything is happening around on the day or nearby. For example – On one occasion we turned up for an outside location shoot only to discover that the army were training (blowing things up!!!) very near to us!
Location recce meeting
Finally check that you have the correct clearance for filming at your location? You should always try to have a location agreement in place before you shoot and have a copy with you on shoot day for good measure.