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Everything you need to know about Warehouse Film Locations

This year has proven how valuable warehouse film locations can be for filming. It is no secret that the film industry has changed dramatically this year due to the impact of COVID-19, yet the demand for entertainment has never been higher. Warehouse film locations provide a unique set of advantages that can help keep your crew safe and your production on schedule.

The Growing Need for Unique Film Locations in Los Angeles

With the rebooting of the film industry, the need for unique film locations has never been more important. A good location can create more than a pretty backdrop for your film, becoming a character in and of itself in the film. A great location creates the on-screen universe just like the costuming and props create a real world.

Los Angeles’s long history as the center of film means that its many locations have appeared on screens big and small. Local productions feel the need to find a film location that really makes their production stand out -- and not remind the audience that what they are watching was filmed somewhere in Los Angeles.

This is where warehouse film locations come in. Supremely adaptable to just about any script, or serving as a sound stage for independent films, warehouses are able to be shaped to become steamy tropical jungles or the bustling streets of 19th century New York.

Real-world locations, like warehouse film locations, are the core of the film industry. They offer a certain gritty realism and can help shape an entire film. Filming on location gives an authenticity that just can’t be made on some backlot.

Pros and Cons of Warehouse Film Locations

Warehouse film locations come with a whole slew of benefits, and some drawbacks that must be considered. Your film will be served by doing the right research when scouting locations, especially now, as demand will begin to increase as more productions resume filming. By doing the right research before filming, you can save time and money on your shoot.

Pros of Warehouse Film Locations

  • Lower price than studios. Often you can reserve a whole warehouse space at much cheaper rates than a studio space. There are always great deals out there, so be sure to be prepared to negotiate.

  • High-quality sound capture. Warehouse film locations, like TUXEDO LA, are specifically designed to allow for studio-quality sound capture.

  • Adaptable to multiple locations. Warehouse film locations tend to be wide open indoor spaces that can easily be converted into whatever type of location that you will need. Whether it is for a music video or for a car commercial, a feature film or tv show, warehouses offer something for every production.

  • Climate controlled environments. Keep your crew healthy and safe inside a warehouse. You also guarantee to always be able to control the lighting and weather -- something out of your control when filming in the outdoors.

  • Studio-quality experience at affordable rates. Get the same experience you would get in a big-name studio’s offerings.

  • More control over the production. You can be sure to have the time and space that you need to capture your film without having to schedule in and around other productions.

Cons of Warehouse Film Locations

  • It can harder to get the authentic details that you can capture from a production on-location. The architectural details of a church are much harder to replicate in a studio than in the real thing. Consider the requirements of the shoot and whether or not such details would make or break the scene.

  • Getting the right permitting can potentially be cheaper than renting any kind of indoor space. However, you will be at the whim of the weather and the sun. There might also be regulations about what kind of disruption the film can have on passersby and people who live and work in the area.

  • It can sometimes be easier to go to a location instead of building it in house. This is great for productions that take place in a contemporary world, but scripts that call for 1960’s diners, futuristic dance halls, or abstract environments meant to showcase the talent over the location can really only be achieved in a space like a warehouse film location.

Costs Associated with Renting a Film Location

Costs for a great film location can vary from place to place, even within the same neighborhood. Location fees can range from as low as $100 to as high as $20,000 a day, but the average fee is between $500 to $1000. Prep and strike days are often 50% cheaper.

To get an idea of what a location might cost, you can take a look at the location on Zillow and see what their monthly rental estimate is. This gives you an idea of what the daily fee might be. You will also need to have insurance to protect your crew and talent and to protect yourself should anything happen at the filming location. General liability insurance helps cover the premises and locations for bodily injury and property damage. Generally, this has a million-dollar limit, but it can be increased through an umbrella policy.

Basics of Shooting in a Warehouse Film Location

When you have chosen the perfect location for you to film, whether that is a local coffee shop or a warehouse, here are the essential moves to make to ensure a smooth and successful production.

Here are the best tips from veteran filmmakers about what to make sure to do:

  • Make sure you have power! This is key in any location. Be sure that there are enough outlets, generators, and other power sources to meet the needs of your production. Consult with all departments of the shoot to ensure that their needs will be met. Evaluate how many batteries to bring and how transportable a generator would be.

  • Get good parking. This is one of the most overlooked things to do. Good parking can ensure that it is easy to unload and set up the shoot without worrying about having to hike half a mile to the shoot with heavy equipment.

  • Get as creative as possible with your location. By sticking to one location as much as possible you can save money and time in the shoot. Come prepared to transform the location from one place to another. See how many ideas you can fit into one location with that old Hollywood magic.

  • Stay in communication with the property manager and owner. Be sure to let them know about any changes and the schedule of shooting. They should be fully informed of what is going to be involved in the filming. Stick to the agreement you make and maintain that valuable relationship.

  • Keep in mind that almost every place in LA has designated permitting agencies that will assist in getting the right permits for your shoot. It can seem like a terrible annoyance to have to go through that process and pay for it, but without the right permits, you are at risk of getting fined and shut down by law enforcement.

The Top Equipment Needed to Film in a Warehouse

Here is the top equipment that any filmmaker will need when filming. Be sure that you have this equipment and all the supplies you need to support it, like batteries and power cords.

  1. A Camera This might seem like a no-brainer, but make sure you have the right tool for the shot. Whether you are shooting on a smartphone or on a high-end camera, choosing the right camera can make or break an entire film.

  2. Lenses A camera is only as good as its lens. Before spending all of your budgets on a fancy camera, consider what lenses you might want to use on the shoot. Consult with your cinematographer to see what they are looking to use and what will be compatible with the cameras that you are looking at.

  3. Sound The film’s sound should not be an afterthought for your production. By getting a quality recorder and microphone you can make sure your film sounds as good as it looks. Without good sound capture, you may have to reshoot or throw out much of the material that you captured.

  4. Tripod A sturdy and portable tripod can be the difference between getting that smooth pan and accidental handy-cam.

  5. Gimbal Where smooth Steadicam shots were once only available to high budget productions, gimbals can be a great addition to any shoot.

TUXEDO LA in Los Angeles, CA makes your film or photoshoot project pop because it is a warehouse film location dedicated only for the purpose of filming. TUXEDO LA proudly serves the Los Angeles Film Zone with a unique studio space perfect for movies, commercials, photoshoots, sound stage, and more. Give us a call at (323) 940-8464 with any questions or to schedule a visit.

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