These professional teams are responsible for finding and evaluating potential filming locations that align with the production's script, budget, and technical requirements. 

Without them, film crews would be left scrambling to find suitable locations at the last minute, jeopardising those iconic movie scenes.

Continue reading to learn more about the critical role tech scouting plays in the film industry!

What is tech scouting?

The tech scouting phase of pre-production is vital to the filmmaking process.

To put this into perspective, just imagine you arrive on set and the power’s out, there’s no parking and the landlord’s screaming at you because you don’t have the required permits.

Sounds like a scene straight out of a horror movie, right?

Well, this is the sort of nightmare you could be facing if you skip the tech scout!

Long story short, tech scouting is the process of identifying and evaluating the logistics of potential filming locations; essential to the success of a production. 

This includes assessing the location's suitability from a technical perspective, taking into account factors such as accessibility, power supply, parking, and weather conditions. 

As well as negotiations with location owners to ensure smooth execution of the shoot and handle all necessary legal documentation such as release forms, insurance and permits.

The size of a tech scout crew depends on the scope of the production and its intended outcome. Smaller projects could have a team of 3-5 people whereas a larger production would require anywhere up to 15.

Teams are typically composed of a location manager, a location scout, and key production team members such as a director, producer, DP, gaffer, etc.

Each member of this team uses the scout as an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the location from their own perspective and how it can be used effectively for production.

Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash

The process of tech scouting 

The process of tech scouting starts with understanding the project's needs and vision. Scout teams work closely with the director and production team to identify what type of location is needed. 

Once potential locations are identified, an in-person tech scout is carried out to gather all necessary information, take measurements and assess any other essential factors that may affect the filming.

You remember Harry Potter’s iconic bedroom under the stairs, right? The one where he spent most of his childhood?

Well, without the tech scout team, those scenes wouldn’t have been possible. It was up to them to search the UK for the perfect location that fit the description from the books and the director's vision.

They had to make sure the location was logistically sound and had the right dingy aesthetic for the scene.

Thanks to their hard work and attention to detail, the scene was brought to life in a real-world setting, adding realism and authenticity.

Key resources for tech scouting 

The tools and resources commonly used by tech scout teams include location databases, scouting software, and cameras. These tools help to quickly and efficiently find and evaluate potential locations. 

They also assist in creating location reports and presentations, as well as organising and tracking locations.

However, tech scouting is not without its challenges. 

Dealing with unpredictable weather, angry landlords, and budget constraints are just a few examples of the obstacles that may arise throughout a tech scout.

To overcome these challenges, teams must be creative, well-organised and have a problem-solving mindset. Whilst also able to work well under pressure and have a deep understanding of local laws and regulations concerning the film industry.

Photo by Gordon Cowie on Unsplash

Sounds like a lot right? 

That's because it is. 

Tech scouting isn’t easy, but without it, the final product could fall short of the director's vision.

So, the next time you watch your favourite movie or TV show, spare a thought for the tech scouts behind the scenes who helped make those iconic scenes possible!

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