Video and Digital Producer’s Guide to Shooting in Los Angeles, CA
Everything you ever wanted to know about shooting video in Los Angeles.
David Feeney Lance – Cameraman – Los Angeles, California – Go To Team
Prior to arriving in a new city, every producer needs the lay of the land. This guide explores everything about Los Angeles, CA that producers need to know.
Nicknames: City of Angels, La La Land, and The Big Orange
Industries: Entertainment, Aerospace, Tourism and Technology
Known for its melting pot of bold creatives and eclectic world cultures, Los Angeles is one of the most popular and most visited cities in the United States. The beaches, near-perfect weather, and well-known celebrities always put LA on the map for people’s destinations. It tied for World’s Best University City (with London) so it offers more than just fame and sunbathing weather, too. Los Angeles is known for its bold restaurants and shops along with Rodeo Drive, the Hollywood Sign and Walk of Fame, along with Venice Beach. It also has some of the best museums in the country. LA offers almost anything for all types of people including a plethora of shoots available.
During the winter, LA is mostly known to be the host to many awards shows including the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. The springtime is most popular for music festivals and food festivals; Coachella has taken over the past few years with major artists performing as well as many celebrities attending the infamous concerts. The summer also plays home for many festivals as well including the LA Food and Wine Festival and the FYF Music Festival. The fall offers a thrilling Halloween Carnival as well as multiple auto shows. The Staples Center is a very popular spot for concerts, conventions, and sporting events. Overall, Los Angeles is one of the most interesting and catering cities to fit anyone’s needs and wants.
LA has a range of professional sports teams including the LA Lakers and LA Clippers as their NBA teams, LA Angels and LA Dodgers as their MLB teams, LA Chargers and LA Rams as their NFL teams, LA Kings and Anaheim Ducks as their NHL and the LA Galaxy MLS team. The neighboring colleges also serve plenty of sports functions available to the public.
For higher education, Los Angeles offers quite a lot of colleges and universities to attend. Some include the University of California, University of Southern California (USC), Fashion Institute of Design and LA Technical College.
Once you’ve decided to shoot in Los Angeles there’s plenty you should know:
Where to Stay
Los Angeles has a hotel on almost every corner so finding one within good driving times and accessibility to your shoot will be no problem The deciding factors will be whether it is closer to downtown LA or more outside the city near the airport. With those factors come expense differences so some options include the Omni LA Hotel at California Plaza, Holiday Inn LAX, and the LA Hotel Downtown. Expect to drive to most shoots in Los Angeles so plan accordingly for the location of your hotel.
Location & Drive Times
From the Los Angeles International Airport to downtown LA takes about 45 minutes by car, not including traffic. With LA’s popularity comes an extensive load of traffic so make sure to be proactive when leaving for shoots. LA does offer a metro system which takes longer than driving but is still a valued source of transportation. The Staples Center is a 10-minute drive from downtown LA and Venice Beach is about a 45-minute drive to downtown. Los Angeles is a five and half hour drive from San Francisco; flights are always available but the drive is doable as well as very scenic. San Diego sits about two hours away from Los Angeles so overall drive times are manageable as long as traffic times are kept in mind.
Los Angeles weather is known to be almost perfect. With their winters sitting at a high of 68 degrees and their summers with a high of 84 degrees, LA offers perfect weather year round. Rain is not common which can put California is many droughts throughout the year, but overall plan to wear comfortable and cool clothes year long for shoots. Click HERE for a current 10-day forecast.
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 Los Angeles 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 Los Angeles you can always contact the city’s Chamber.
LA Area Chamber of Commerce
350 S. Bixel St
Los Angeles, CA 90017
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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