Ask anyone in the production industry, and they will tell you that thinking on your feet is crucial during a production day, and that’s not necessarily due to bad planning. There are simply items that land out of the client and crew’s hands causing day-of changes. With that being said, there are certainly logistics that should be coordinated and in place before the production day to keep surprises to a minimum. Each on-location production presents a unique set of challenges, but here is a list of just a few simple, yet occasionally overlooked logistics. Address these items before production, and it will set your day up for success.
Contacts: Identify the appropriate contact(s) for the location, client, and crew, and supply names and phone numbers to all parties involved. Having contact information on-hand avoids a scramble when parties need to connect.
Building Entry & Parking: Knowing where you’re going seems obvious. Everyone has the address of the location, so you’re all set, right? Wrong. The address may put you in the correct general location, but specific directions on where to park and enter the building will save time and confusion upon arrival.
Security: If the location has security personnel, they should be made aware of the production and given the names of crew if they will need to check in. If special check-in procedures for the crew and equipment will be required, time should be built into the schedule to allow for them.
Loading in: At some locations, loading in is as simple as walking through the front door. Others, however, require special instructions, like loading docks, service entrances, etc. Avoid having to redirect the crew by establishing with the client (and building management, if necessary) the appropriate area to bring in the equipment.
Staging Area: Once in the building, the crew will need a place to “stage” or set up and store gear for the day. An ideal area would be secured (i.e. locked room) and easily accessible for the crew.
Location Noise: Especially when the project calls for recording audio, any location noise that could be disruptive to the production should be discussed and addressed ahead of time. Obvious noise issues such as filming in a working office/facility or near a train station/airport should be noted. Other noisy situations that may or may not be controllable are HVAC systems, high foot-traffic areas, and construction.
These location logistics have very little to do with the actual filming process, but are just as important to the overall success of the production day.