Video and Digital Producer’s Guide to Shooting in Charlotte, NC
Everything you ever wanted to know about shooting video in Charlotte.
Tori Musciano – Camerawoman – Charlotte, North Carolina – Go To Team
|Prior to arriving in a new city, every producer needs the lay of the land. This guide explores everything about Charlotte, NC that producers need to know.
Nicknames: The Queen City
Industries: Financial Services, Motorsports, Energy
Charlotte is a fast-growing city with the elegance of the old South and the conveniences of a large urban area. It’s a bustling city with big businesses, high tech firms, universities, pro sports teams, museums, and great restaurants. Both Bank of America and Wells Fargo are headquartered here in Charlotte, making it the second largest banking center in the nation (next to New York City.) Small business thrives in Uptown Charlotte and where the city continues its Corridor Revitalization Project.
The thunder of NASCAR can be heard all around the Charlotte area as it is located in the heart of NASCAR country and is home to Charlotte Motor Speedway. Their NBA team is the Hornets and their NFL team is the Carolina Panthers.
Scattered throughout Uptown Charlotte and the surrounding metro area are art, science, and history museums to feed the mind and soul and premier restaurants to feed the body. Nearly 2.5 million people live in the Charlotte metro area, over 800,000 inside the city alone.
This population feeds the business of Charlotte, home to 292 of the top Fortune 500 companies, making it the fifth largest urban region in the country.
Once you’ve decided to shoot in Charlotte there’s plenty you should know:
Where to Stay
Of course, where you stay in Charlotte depends on what and where you will be shooting. Most of the larger businesses are located Uptown, as are several exceptional hotels including the Morehead Inn and the Westin. These hotels are also very close to the Uptown home of the Hornets’ and Panther’s Bank of America Stadium. Queen’s University and Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) are convenient to Uptown as well, whereas the University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC) is located north of the city in University City. Shooting at Charlotte Motor Speedway will bring you through University City or to the Concord Mills area, all of which have several hotels, including a Hilton in University City. NASCAR is headquartered at the track, but many of the drivers are scattered across Mooresville and Kannapolis, two smaller cities about an hour northeast of the city. And you may not want to stay in an Uptown hotel if you are shooting out in the suburbs like Ballantyne, Pineville, Matthews, or Gastonia – you’ll only increase the drive time for you and your crew.
Locations and Drive Times
There are several distinct districts in Charlotte: Uptown, Myers Park, Dilworth and South End, South Park, University City, Mooresville, and Race City, Concord, the Track, and Pineville/Matthews. The Charlotte Douglas International Airport is just west of the city and not far from the two major interstates serving the Charlotte area: I-77 (a North/South route) and I-85 (more of an East/West route, despite its number.) From the airport and in between these locations, drive times should average 30 to 45 minutes. It will probably require an additional 10 to 20 minutes to reach locations like Mooresville and Race City, Concord, the Track, and Pineville/Matthews. Moving around Charlotte is like most other cities; it is built on a grid with some one-way streets. The major North/South route is Tryon Street and the major East/West routes are Trade Street and U.S. Route 74 (Independence Boulevard.)
The South isn’t known for its transportation, and getting around the city even with a car can be difficult. Fortunately, the city has a few options to make travel a bit easier. When heading to the airport, try taking the Sprinter bus, a direct line from downtown to the Charlotte Airport that runs every 20 minutes during the week and every 30 on weekends. There’s also the CATS bus line that operates in the city and surrounding areas. Recently, the city also opened the LYNX light rail train line, running all over the city with 15 stops including UNC Charlotte and South Charlotte. Tickets are only $2.20 each way and trains arrive between 10 and 30 minutes. There is also the streetcar system which runs every 10, 20, or 30 minutes depending on the time of day. Even with all of these options, you may want to consider a cab or an Uber since the public transport isn’t very extensive yet, and parking downtown can be hard.
The best part of driving around Charlotte is the weather. North Carolina as a state is home to that “Carolina Blue” sky, and when the sun is out, you can see Uptown from almost every corner of the city. Temperatures in Charlotte are mild and comfortable most of the year. During the summer the average temperature is 76 degrees Fahrenheit, although in July and August the days can reach up into the 90s and the humidity can be a little trying. Winter temperatures average around 40 degrees Fahrenheit with the occasional winter blast of snow and ice. The spring and fall are always cool and close to perfect and the year rounds out with an average rainfall of 43 inches. To see the current forecast for Charlotte, click HERE.
Crews across the country have a set of guidelines by which they conduct business. And as different as each city is from another, so are those guidelines. Every producer should have a basic understanding of each city’s standards. Shoots in Charlotte are based on a ten hour day and the crew is on the clock at the specified crew call. Overtime at a rate of time and a half begins after ten hours. If your shoot takes the crew to a distant location, travel time can be expected. A distant location is any location outside a circle with a 30-mile radius drawn around the city. But all of these are just guidelines; certainly, verify with your crew their specific policies.
Chamber of Commerce / Visitors Bureau
If you have additional questions about Charlotte, like lodging, transportation, or locations, you can always contact the city’s Chamber or the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Charlotte Chamber of Commerce
330 South Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28232
Charlotte Convention and Visitors Bureau
500 South College Street Suite #300
Charlotte, NC 28202
For more information on shooting in Charlotte, you may also consider the North Carolina Film Office.
North Carolina Film Office
301 North Wilmington Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
Booking the Right Crew
But even with the perfect location, the best-laid plans, and great weather, so much depends on the right crew. Booking the right crew means finding a crew that not only gets the job done, but does whatever it takes to insure you have the best shoot. Are you conducting a series of interviews that require dramatic lighting? Are you going to be “run and gun” around the city? Is your shoot going to require any specific equipment? Finding a crew that can handle every one of your needs is just as important as lining up all of the interviews and creating your shot list.
For more information on booking your video crew, reference: “Everything you ever wanted to know about booking a video crew.”
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