Video and Digital Producer’s Guide to Shooting in Denver, CO
Everything you ever wanted to know about shooting video in Denver.
Ryan Dumville – Director of Photography – Denver, Colorado – Go To Team
Prior to arriving in a new city, every producer needs the lay of the land. This guide explores everything about Denver, CO that producers need to know.
Nicknames: Mile High City and Queen City
Industries: Aerospace, Telecommunications, and Technology
Denver’s famous nickname is the “Mile High City” due to the fact that the city’s official elevation is one mile above sea level. It is unique for its walkable downtown and city park systems. Travel and Leisure rated Denver 11th for “America’s Favorite Cities,” 3rd for “Hipster Cities,” and 2nd for “Being Green.” Denver is becoming one of the few cities modeled as a sustainable, green city with major innovations across their city to ensure a greener, healthier earth. Colorado is popular for its scenic atmosphere and Denver falls into the right place for availability for a wide range of activities indoors and out. It’s surrounded by various mountain peaks ready for explorations and though the history of Denver is quite short, it remains as one of America’s most favorable and beautiful cities.
Denver is one of those cities where you could find something to fit your niche regardless of what background you come from or hobbies you enjoy. It offers numerous museums that will open you up to the exciting events that occurred in Denver such as the Gold Rush and Wild, Wild West stories. Festivals are big in Denver ranging from the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, the Colorado Brewers Festival, and A Taste of Colorado. These festivals tend to draw big crowds so prepare to enjoy everything Colorado offers while attending. Concerts are always available whether it’s an open mic night downtown at local bars or attending the infamous Red Rock Amphitheater to see your favorite band. If crowds aren’t your thing, there are a plethora of parks available to explore throughout Denver and the rest of Colorado. Denver’s largest park is the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Park and it’s located right next to downtown. There are many city parks, dog parks, trails, and mountain parks available to the public. During the winter months, Denver is right near some of the most popular ski destinations in the world with activities from skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and tours. Denver has its own natural playground directly in its backyard.
Denver is one of the only cities in the United States that has seven professional sports teams including their NFL team the Denver Broncos, their MLB team the Colorado Rockies, their NHL team the Colorado Avalanche, their MLS team the Colorado Rapids, their lacrosse teams Colorado Mammoths and Denver Outlaws, their NBA team the Denver Nuggets, and finally their rugby team the Denver Barbarians. Whether you’re a football fan or a rugby fan, there’s a sport for everyone to enjoy. Some popular arenas and stadiums these sports teams perform at include the Pepsi Center and Coors Field.
Where to Stay
There are two major areas when selecting where to stay while in Denver – downtown or the airport. The Denver International Airport is located right outside of downtown Denver and staying in one of the hotels such as the Westin, Hyatt House, or Days Inn Suite will give you access to both the city and airport in a reasonable amount of time. Be prepared to drive if you plan on dining out, visiting downtown, or seeing any attractions the area has to offer. Some downtown hotels include The Sheraton, Staybridge, and the Four Seasons-Denver. Staying downtown comes with a price since most of these will be more expensive than those by the airport and surrounding cities but these will put you right in the middle of restaurants, bars, events, and attractions.
Locations & Drive Times
From the Denver Airport, a Union Station ride will take about 30 minutes to reach downtown Denver whereas a car would take at least 45 minutes, not including other factors like traffic. Once you’re downtown, almost everything can be reached by foot within a 15 to 20-minute time frame. Of course, the rail system is always available to take you almost anywhere and it runs every 10 minutes. Denver is known for being one of the cities in the US. that has the most walkable downtown system, and there are plenty of resources available to make your transportation much easier.
Denver has about everything when it comes to transportation. Their bus system runs every day along with their Light Trail and Union Station. Of course, car transportation is available but today, services like Uber and Lyft are the most popular and easiest ways of getting around by car. If you plan to just stay around downtown but don’t feel like walking as much, Bike Taxis can be found on corners of the street taking you anywhere you please in downtown Denver.
Denver is known for its slogan “300 days of sunshine” with its mid-summer climate throughout the warmer months. With that being said, Denver can get quite cold and add in the factor of the elevation and altitude, it can be quite dry to those who aren’t used to the environment. The average high in January is 44 degrees and the average low is 17 degrees. Luckily, the average high in July is 88 degrees and the average low is 59 degrees. Humidity is not an issue in Denver but prepare to moisturize more often and wear sunscreen because it can sometimes feel not as hot as it really is. Snowfall ranges every year but on average they get about 10 inches during their colder months. Click HERE to see the current 10-day forecast for Denver.
Production of Guidelines
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 Denver 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
If you have additional questions about Denver you can always contact the city’s Chamber of Commerce.
Denver Metropolitain Chamber of Commerce
1445 Market St.
Denver, CO 80202
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 ensure 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 camera crew, see: “Everything you ever wanted to know about booking a video crew.”
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