Video and Digital Producer’s Guide to Shooting in Houston, TX
Everything you ever wanted to know about shooting video in Houston.
John Riley – Camera Operator – Houston, Texas – Go To Team
Prior to arriving in a new city, every producer needs the lay of the land. This guide explores everything about Houston, TX that producers need to know.
Nicknames: Bayou City and H-Town
Industries: Energy, Aerospace, Defense and Bio-Science
Houston is one of the most populated cities in Texas and ranks among the top cities in the US. Known for its innovations in healthcare and medical research, Houston offers a melting pot of different interests and cultures for both locals and visitors to enjoy. Most popular is the NASA Center which has contributed to some of America’s most historical events. According to Travel and Leisure Magazine, Houston was voted #5 Best City for Winter Travel, #3 Most Cultured City in the US, and #1 Best City for Foodies in 2016. Some popular attractions include the CityCentre, art museums, and the Galleria, one of the largest shopping malls in the country. Whether you hop from restaurant to restaurant downtown or explore the many art galleries and museums, Houston offers a special flare of history and fun for all ages to enjoy.
Houston hosts the annual Comicpalooza, Texas’ largest annual, multi-genre, comic book and science fiction convention during the summer. Along with multiple festivals, Houston plays a major part in many art conventions and galleries. Most are free and open to all ages. One of the most popular museums is the Menil Collection located right outside of downtown Houston and offers free admission every week.
If the arts are not your thing, Houston offers many sporting events including their NFL team the Houston Texans, men’s and women’s NBA teams the Houston Rockets, and their MLB team the Houston Astros, 2017’s World Series winners.
There is a different range of places to stay while in Houston such as hotels, motels, and resorts. One of their popular resorts is the Houstonian Hotel, Club, and Spa. It’s known for golf courses and pools along with George W. Bush as one of its residents. There is also a wide range of RV resorts lining the outer parts of Houston.
Houston provides many opportunities for higher education including University of Houston, Texas Southern University, and Houston Community College.
Once you’ve decided to shoot in Houston there’s plenty you should know:
Where to Stay
The Westin, Club Quarters, and Four Seasons are among the top hotels to stay in while in Houston. They are all located downtown so if you are looking for something a little more reasonably priced, the Hampton Inn and Embassy Suites are great hotels with a great location for downtown Houston and other attractions.
Location and Drive Times
The majority of things to do in Houston are all located either in or right outside of Houston so driving times should be roughly 15 minutes to get from one location to another without the factor of traffic. The William P. Hobby Airport is a 25-minute drive from the center of Houston and the Ellington Airport is a 30-minute drive. With the use of all the transportation services Houston has to offer, the majority of your jobs and activities will be a 15-minute destination.
Houston offers a great base for transportation ranging from the Metrorail, bus system, and car services. Uber and other rental cars services are available as well. If you decide to drive yourself there are many parking options located around the city. Houston offers a parking reservation service called Panda that allows you to reserve parking online for a desired amount of time.
Houston’s weather remains fairly constant with it being quite humid and hot throughout the spring and summer months. Their average temperature in the summer falls about 85 degrees and their winter averages around 53 degrees. Because it can get very humid and very hot, if possible, it is best to schedule interviews and other indoor shooting during the middle of the day and leave the outdoor shoots for earlier in the morning and mid to late afternoon during this time of the year. The annual precipitation measures 50 inches so scattered rainstorms are expected but shouldn’t interfere too much with shoots. In the end, it’s best to check the weather reports just before your visit in order to be prepared for any anomalies in the seasonal weather. Click here for the current ten-day forecast for Houston.
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 Houston 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 Houston you can always contact the city’s Chamber.
Houston West Chamber of Commerce
10370 Richmond Ave. #125
Houston, TX 77042
Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce
3920 FM 1960 #120
Houston, TX 77068
Houston Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
12 Greenway Plaza #1100 77046
Houston, TX 77046
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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