|You’re going to learn:
Shane’s essential tools that he uses on a location scout so he is ready for any scenario that comes his way!
You may be wondering why a cinematographer would bring a tape measure to the scout. According to Shane, that’s because he often must determine if he can fit the technocrane through doorways, and things of that nature.
This specific FatMax measuring tape extends out to nearly 10 feet. This allows Shane to do anything from measuring windows to sharing intel with the production designer. Trust Shane when he says, this specific measuring tape has saved him on many occasions.
The Insta360 ONE X is Shane’s go-to location scouting device and is the way he scouts every location. When Shane attaches the Insta360 ONE X to the pole and turns it on, the camera immediately connects to his phone. Don’t worry about the pole being in the shot, as the Insta360 paints it out. That way, Shane is able to scout the whole location.
The Insta360 also affords Shane to see the ceiling which allows him to decide things like what to do with the can lights that he may not want. He can also look at the floor to determine whether it is uneven or if he can roll a dolly on it.
When conducting a location scout with this camera, Shane gathers all of the information his team needs from the key grip and the gaffer to the location department and the transportation department. They will need to know details like where the base camp is located, where the generator is going to live, and where the cable run is going to be positioned. So, Shane labels all of the locations and downloads them to his whole team so they can stay in the loop.
|PRO TIP: Do not forget your battery caddy for the Insta360 ONE X. The batteries deplete very quickly. Shane keeps at least six of them at the ready, especially when scouting 10-12 locations per day.|
Learn more about the Insta360 and what it can do with INSTA360: VIRTUAL SCOUTING FOR THE COVID-19 ERA.
In fact, he uses it for all of his color work. So, if he needs to sell a director on a color, a tone, or a desaturation — whatever it is — he will take some shots, go into Adobe Photoshop, and color grade them. That supports the whole prep process and refines the look of your project.
Some filmmakers out there may think that light meters are dead, but they would be mistaken. In Shane’s world, it’s a common occurrence where he will venture into a location and wish to replicate the natural light in the space. So, he wants to know if there’s enough light to be able to expose for it.
Sometimes he loves the quality of light at a specific time, so his light meter is always at his side in order to measure it.
Next up is Shane’s color temperature meter: the Sekonic C-800-U SpectroMaster. The color meter is essential to location scouting. Oftentimes, he wants to measure light sources like fluorescents in the ceiling or, say, determine if the lights in the parking lot are metal halides, high-pressure sodium, or an LED source that he has never encountered before.
With a color temperature meter, Shane measures the light source and records it in his little book or in his notes on his phone. Then, he knows exactly what he needs to create in a particular scenario.
|PRO TIP: Unlike the C-700, the C-800 has the XY function, which allows you to match sources.|
So, you may be asking, ‘Why binoculars?’ Well, there have been times when Shane is on scouts when suddenly he hears, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to put a camera up there?’
Instead of climbing all the way up to the indicated spot that may, in fact, be treacherous, Shane can pull out his binoculars to first confirm if it’s possible.
Collaboration is a huge part of scouting locations. So often, you’re pointing out specific areas but your finger is not effective when denoting a specific spot. The laser pointer falls exactly on what you are referring to which is ideal for clarity and clearly conveying your ideas.
Whether you’re working with the production designer on set design or the gaffer with hanging a light, a laser pointer is sure to come in handy.
Let’s be honest, you are constantly going to cut things. You’ll cut tape, string, rope, boxes, packaging — and any other variable you come in contact with on the scout.
The DeWalt Utility Knife is very unique because it expands to a full mat knife, but you can also fold it and keep it in your pocket.
Of course, Shane also has his MacBook Pro 14-inch laptop. It’s lightweight and compact but has all the ports he needs. This is the device he uses in the car while scouting, making camera and lighting lists, as well as any additional adjustments.
His laptop allows him to send documents and updates immediately to production and keep everyone on the same page.
Last but not least in Shane’s scout kit is his Duracell 400-watt or 800-watt power inverter. There will be the time when you are at a location that you’re scouting and all of a sudden production calls. They want lists done. So, you need to have your computer at the ready.
But, then your battery dies… With the power inverter, you can plug directly into the minivan that you’re traveling in to supply tons of power. The Duracell Power Inverter saved Shane in the past and will certainly do so again in the future.
|PRO TIP: Shane has powered sources like a SkyPanel S30-C, little light mats, and other small lights that require some power in the car with the Duracell Power Inverter.|
Well, what are all of these essential location scouting tools without an effective bag to carry them in? The Sachtler Camera RollPak Bag is a powerful option. With its wheels and ability to zip and transform into a backpack, it enables you to carry two of them onto a plane without a problem. One as a backpack and the other as a roller.
|PRO TIP: Always tag your bags with your name or initials.|