Let’s Take This Outside: The Pros & Cons of Alfresco Filming

Now that Summer is here (for now), crews around the country are getting their kit together and getting out there. Given the chance, everyone wants to film outside in the real world, right? Not necessarily. When working to a brief, there’s a wide range of factors to consider when deciding on location. Here are some of the key areas our Production team consider when making that call.

1. Taking the Scenic Route

When your script calls for a dialogue-heavy scene on top of a mountain, it’s the producer’s job to work out the risks, costs, and logistics of filming on an actual mountain. Recreating the action in a controlled studio environment might be safer and allow greater control over sound quality, camera angles and the actor’s comfort. It would almost certainly be warmer! On the flip side, it can take a lot of time and effort from the art department or sfx team to recreate authentic-looking natural landscapes.

Filming outdoors often requires a leap of faith

2. A Matter of Time

Budget, project deadlines, availability of talent and the number of set ups required all factor into where and when you can film. If the filming requires specific participants or talent it may mean choosing a location that best suits them.  For example, when we filmed the cast of Corrie, it made total sense to head up to the Weatherfield set. And, when we filmed an advert for Ninja Warrior Aqua Park, it made total sense to film at… Ninja Warrior Aqua Park!

Travelling to the action

3. Blame it on the Sunshine

When you’re filming outside one of the major issues is lighting. A changeable sky can wreak havoc with continuity. While consistent cloud coverage is ideal, it’s unfortunately something you can never be certain of.  It doesn’t need to stop your external filming but it’s worth factoring in more time if action must be paused in the middle of the day to avoid totally burnt-out shots.

When we filmed an advert for Love Island The Game last year we were blessed with wall to wall sunshine. Not so much of a blessing for our gaffa though!

Burnt out shots? Blame it on the sunshine

4. Braving the Elements

At TellyJuice we’re ready to film whatever the weather. We’ve shot in high winds, heatwaves, and heavy rain in our time. However, if the script calls for a sunny day and your weather app is saying drizzle you could be in trouble. The magic of a grade can work wonders, but some things can’t be fixed in post. For some of our clients the authenticity of the real world is vital, and for that reason the TJ team have great waterproofs and super strong sun cream!

Rain or shine, our crews are out there

5. Getting Ready to Rough It

When you film at a studio you have electricity supplies, lighting rigs, dressing rooms, toilets, catering and somewhere for the client to plug their laptops in.

If you’re filming in the middle of a field the logistics become trickier. Location managers can do amazing things but if your budget is tight and your kit complex it is worth considering an interior option. That said, certain shots would be hard to replicate in a studio setting. Like herding sheep for a channel ident for example!

Filming with sheep

These are just some of the considerations we discuss with our clients when planning an outdoor shoot. There are challenges, but when the weather’s good and the scenery does some of your Art Director’s job, there is nothing better than filming outside.

Plus, haven’t we all spent enough time inside over the last few years?

You can see more examples of TellyJuice’s work here.