Video Production Crew in Los Angeles

A Basic Survival Guide to Booking Video Crew & Shooting On-Location in LA

Los Angeles is a very large metropolitan area generally considered to be the center of southern California. As of the 2010 Census, the county has a population of nearly 10 million, making it the most populous county in the United States. There are unique media districts established in Los Angeles, Hollywood, north Hollywood, Studio City, Burbank and other communities that help make LA one of the busiest motion picture and television production markets in the world. Because of all this, it helps to be armed with some advanced information before booking production crew, equipment and scheduling location shoots within county borders. Also, individual cities may have their own location filming requirements. We believe the information and links on this page can be of help with planning your project and finding video production crew even if you’re an old hand at shooting in the LA basin.

Weather:

LA enjoys some of the best weather in the continental US but, contrary to popular folklore, it really does rain occasionally in southern California. The “rainy season” (if you want to call it that) normally runs from November through April. Also, very high or low temperature ranges and extreme winds can sometimes be a problem depending on region and the time of year. The deserts can be 90-100F in the daytime and 40-20F at night during the winter. Beaches and coastal regions are often foggy, overcast and drizzly in May and June. Santa Ana winds can stop an exterior shoot dead in it’s tracks but are very predictable well in advance. The phenomenon generally occurs in late spring or fall when air is forced down the mountain slopes out towards the Pacific coast. The air mass is further heated by compression as it drops in altitude before reaching the Los Angeles Basin and can sometimes be in excess of 60mph but more often are limited to 15-20mph gusts. All this may sound like a weather nightmare but Los Angeles tends to have perfect weather the majority of the time. Just keep an eye on the weather predictions as you would anytime you plan to shoot exteriors.

Traffic:

Both the freeways and surface streets are notorious for severe traffic congestion, and the area’s freeway-to-freeway interchanges regularly rank among the top 10 most congested points in the country. Depending on the time of day and driving conditions, getting the crew and equipment to locations can take much longer than the point-to-point distances normally would indicate. Realistic travel times are necessary in order to keep schedules on track. Pre-plan carefully, leave early and check the live traffic maps link to the right.

Permits:

Within the county’s borders, other entities and jurisdictions may exist, with separate requirements, fees and permits of their own. Individual cities, beaches, parks, federal lands and private property owners all may play a part in the puzzle. This can make getting legal permission to shoot at your chosen location(s) a long and trying process. You can often avoid hassles by enlisting a single agency who will act as your liaison between the various entities concerned. If you don’t want to do it yourself, we suggest contacting Film LA Inc., a non-profit company who can handle all the details for you so you can get on with shooting your project.

Unions:

Whether your production is union or not, it may still be necessary to hire union sound, lighting and camera crew if a venue you wish to shoot at is union affiliated. Motion picture studios, broadcast networks, convention centers and theme parks, etc., may have specific requirements regarding the use of non-union technicians working on the premises. However, non-union crews are often allowed within guidelines. If you’re unsure about a possibly unionized location, it’s always safer to ask in advance than to encounter a problem at the last minute.

Feel free to contact us if you are planning a location shoot anywhere in the southern California area. Although we can’t always predict things like weather, local bureaucracies, or video production crews other than ours, we’re always happy to discuss ways to avoid typical pitfalls and make your shoot as stress free and productive as possible.

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