Finding the right filming location is crucial to successfully reproduce the filmmaker’s vision. The site of the shoot has a major impact on the aesthetic look of a film. Luckily for Indian filmmakers, our country is filled to the brim with picturesque destinations like:
The ancient, stone-carved Baleshwar Temple in Champawat
Lush green, panoramic cliff locations in Tehri
and many more…
Then finding the perfect shoot location should be easy, right?
Not exactly. Despite an abundance of destinations, directors & producers often have trouble finding the right place to shoot.
To begin with, many potential sites remain unexplored due to language barriers & the absence of managers who know the area well.
Also, one of the major problems is lack of information. Finding particulars of an existing shoot location isn’t simple. A producer has to go through many middlemen, to get the right information about the place.
And after a filming location has been finalized, one needs more details to plan production e.g. Is camera equipment available nearby? Is the place accessible by road? Are there any restrictions on shooting at night? This information isn’t always easily available. And even if the producer makes some calls & looks up online, the details aren’t always reliable.
But the struggle doesn’t end there. To begin filming, about 30-32 location permits are required, including clearance from police, local government authority, fire brigade, and special clearances for aerial filming, etc. Often these are obtained by line producers through third party contacts – they know a guy, who knows another guy, and who knows who’s the actual guy?
“I was shooting a short recently, at a traffic signal in Ghatkopar – but we couldn’t get the relevant permissions from local authorities. So the film crew faced a lot of trouble managing the crowd & controlling traffic at the signal.”
– Rahul Patil (Director)
Banking a whole production schedule on such a tedious, unreliable process can be risky for a filmmaker trying to minimize (or better yet prevent) budget overshoots.
How can this problem be solved?
Through technology & transparent operations.
The internet has made our lives easier, at the click of a button – from home delivery to live streaming. Even the process of making films has benefitted greatly from advancements like CGI, 3D shooting, etc. Technology has been our sharpest tool, so why not use it to streamline the process of finding a shoot location?
How can tech make things easy?
In India, there needs to be an efficient approach to finding, shortlisting & booking a filming location.
“Location managers & line producers need to work systematically. Rather than leaving things for the shoot day, they should take a planned approach & communicate properly with the filmmaker, to properly understand his vision for the project.”
– Prateek Baagi (Location provider)
Technology can facilitate this improved way of working by:
• Providing a reliable database of locations – The internet can be used to compile necessary details (photos, specifications, address, availability, etc.) of all shooting destinations in a single convenient place. A comprehensive filming location database will cut down on a lot of man-hours and speed up the shortlisting process. Having complete, transparent information will also save filmmakers & producers unexpected expenses.
• Enabling secure payments – Money risk often restricts a filmmaker from exploring new locations & possibilities. This limitation can be avoided by using digital payments & keeping an online record of the transaction – which can hold location managers accountable for the location services promised.
• Making the process transparent – Technology can help avoid surprises, like
someone missing a permission or accidentally not abiding to a law.
“Some areas like Rajasthan are difficult to get permissions, especially for drones and gimbals. There’s been an act that gives limited registrations for drones, but shooting in such locations is still difficult. It would be helpful if all these things, along with photos & rates are clearly mentioned online.”
– Sanskar Jain (Cinematographer)
An organized player needs to collate all the information & use it to streamline the way of working. However, due to the presence of many independent location owners, implementing these improvements is difficult. That’s why the Film Facilitation Office (FFO) is taking steps in this direction. It was set up to serve as single-window facilitation & clearance mechanism for location permits.
But even in locations covered by FFO, a producer also needs many other services – equipment, catering, crew, talent etc. And besides, there are also locations FFO doesn’t cover. This is where Filmboard completes the ecosystem.
With the help of our online marketplace, we’re trying to make accurate information & the right film resources available on one convenient platform, so that last-minute shocks can be avoided. The philosophy is to make the process as simple as possible: search, identify, check availability & book.
We believe the right technology & attitude, can make the shooting process more efficient & transparent, giving filmmakers more options & more freedom to explore their craft.