Video and Digital Producer’s Guide to Shooting in St. Louis, MO
Everything you ever wanted to know about shooting video in St. Louis.
Kyle Kaiser – Cameraman – St. Louis, Missouri – Go To Team
Prior to arriving in a new city, every producer needs the lay of the land. This guide explores everything about St. Louis, MO that producers need to know.
Nicknames: The Gateway City, Mound City, The Lou
Industries: Bio-Science, Healthcare, Education
St. Louis is probably most well-known for the iconic arch dominating its skyline. The Gateway Arch is the tallest man-made monument in the US, and something St. Louisans are very proud of. But there are even more reasons to visit St. Louis. Rich in culture and suspected to be one of the friendliest cities in the country, St. Louis has a lot to offer from botanical gardens to toasted ravioli.
New York has bagels, Chicago has deep dish pizza, and St. Louis has Gooey Butter Cake. Along with the local delicacy toasted ravioli, this St. Louis-found-only gooey butter cake was accidentally made in the 1800’s by German immigrants and is a city-wide obsession. Any place that mixes basically butter and sugar and calls it cake must be worth visiting.
After eating an entire gooey butter cake, walk it off in Missouri’s Botanical Gardens, ranked the best botanical garden in the United States by the Travel Channel. The Missouri Botanical Garden is home to a 14-acre Japanese garden, 79 acres of plants and views, and one of the largest collections of rare orchids in the world.
St. Louis is also home to the largest beer-producing plant in the US, and Anheuser Busch definitely rules the area and its major sporting events. The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the most successful baseball teams in the states, and support for the team is extensive. St. Louisans hold a lot of pride for their home team and game-days are major events for the city.
St. Louis was named after the French King Louis IX, and residents have not forgotten their French heritage. Every year, St. Louis hosts elaborate Mardi Gras festivities, second only to New Orleans. Around 500,000 people visit St. Louis every year just for this party.
There are many opportunities for higher education in St. Louis at Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis University, and the University of Missouri St. Louis.
Once you’ve decided to shoot in St. Louis there’s plenty you should know:
Where to Stay
There are plenty of hotel options in downtown St. Louis that can accommodate nearly any price range. On the nicer end, you have options such as the 1925 Magnolia Hotel, located on 8th Street and right in the heart of downtown. This upscale hotel 3-star hotel was ranked the 3rd best hotel in St. Louis by Travel and Leisure. Another unique option is the St. Louis Union Station Hotel, located in a converted 19th-century train station. The rooms are elegant and cozy, the prices are affordable, and it’s conveniently located right next to the active train station for easy travel. Among these, there are plenty of Courtyard by Marriott’s and Hampton Inns all over the city. If you wanted to be located near the St. Louis Lambert International Airport, there are many affordable hotel options just 15 miles from downtown. Many offer free shuttles to the airport as well. Some options include the Hampton Inn, Hilton St. Louis Airport Hotel, and the Pear Tree Inn.
Locations and Drive Times
There are many different neighborhoods in St. Louis with their own character contributing to the city. The Carondelet neighborhood along the Mississippi River on the southern side of town houses some of the oldest homes in St. Louis, made of local red brick and bordering Carondelet Park. The Central West End neighborhood borders the commercial district and features chic boutiques and modern restaurants and homes. It also is where the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis is located. Other neighborhoods include the Cherokee Historic District, Clayton, Lafayette Square, Soulard, The Hill, Forest Park, and the Grand Center Arts District. Each neighborhood is no more than about 30 minutes drive from the airport.
St. Louis traffic is relatively mild compared to many other cities, and it is sometimes referred to as the 20-minute city because many of the major attractions are located close by and are easy to travel to. If you don’t have a car to drive around with, St. Louis boasts a great public transportation system. You could take the MetroLink or MetroBus lines, the $2 downtown trolley or a cab to get wherever you need to go.
St. Louis is a rare city that experiences all four seasons in full. Summers in the Arch City are hot and humid, winters are cold and can drop below freezing with snow. It’s also possible that you may experience some extreme weather in the form of flooding or tornadoes. Tornado Sirens are something residents are used to, and extreme weather warnings for flooding are yearly occurrences since the city is flanked by rivers. For the current weather in St. Louis, 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 St. Louis 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 any other questions about St. Louis that can only be answered by the people who live there, check out their Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau.
Regional Chamber of Commerce
1 Metropolitan Square #1300
St. Louis, MO 63102
701 Convention Plaza, Suite 300
St. Louis, MO 63101
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 video crew, reference: “Everything you ever wanted to know about booking a video crew.”
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