Since the invention of the Canon 5D, it has taken scouting to a whole new level, and preparing that package that allows you can take advantage of serendipitous moments, lightning in a bottle so to speak, is essential.
In Act of Valor, we shot on four continents, twelve states, and five different countries. Our method was to land in a foreign country, get our boots on the ground, start to scout our locations for about a week, and then shoot for a week. Both our scouting and shooting packages were aboard the plane in our overhead bin space. I took a small compliment of Panavision Primos, Canon L Series, and Zeiss ZE primes.
While we were scouting in Cambodia and heading to Kampot, I looked out the window and saw a river that led to these amazing mountains that resembled Fiords. We jumped out just as a long skinny boat was heading upriver. We whipped out the Panavision 35mm Primo and slapped in on the Tripod and tilted up with the boat to reveal the mountains where our terrorist would be running his training camp. Go it. Let’s continue scouting.
These spontaneous moments are jewels and capitalizing on them is paramount. On the day when we were scheduled to shoot this, the water level had dropped and it was overcast.
The Scouting Locations Package
Soup to Nuts
- 2-1440 Black rolling Pelican Case
- 1-Canon 5D
- 1-Canon 7D
- 1-35-70mm Leica R Zoom
- 1-21-35mm Leica R Zoom
- 1-80-200mm Leica R Zoom
- 1-Tiffen 77mm WW ND Filter Set .3-2.1
- 1-Zacuto Z-Finder
- 4-Hoodman 16GB 600x CF Cards
- 2-Canon Battery Charger
- 2-Multi International plug
- 1-FireWire CF Card Reader
- 2-500GB bus powered G Drive
- 1-Mono Pod
- 1-Lee Color Gel Swatch
- 1-Rosco Color Gel Swatch
- 1-Light Meter
- 1-Color Temp Meter
- Gel Swatch Library
What is in your scouting package? What moments have you been able to grab while location scouting?
Looking for mentorship in the film industry? Schedule a 1-on-1 meeting with Shane Hurlbut, ASC today! This is where you can get expert advice from an industry professional on your career or a particular project.
About Filmmakers Academy Cinematographer Mentor Shane Hurlbut, ASC
Director of photography Shane Hurlbut, ASC works at the forefront of cinema. He’s a storyteller, innovator, and discerning collaborator, who brings more than three decades of experience to his art. He is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers, the International Cinematographers Guild/Local 600, and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Hurlbut frequently joins forces with great directors: McG’s Netflix Rim of the World and The Babysitter, plus Warner Bros. We Are Marshall and Terminator: Salvation; Scott Waugh’s Need for Speed and Act of Valor; and Gabriele Muccino’s There Is No Place Like Home and Fathers and Daughters. His additional film credits include Semi-Pro; The Greatest Game Ever Played; Into the Blue; Mr 3000; Drumline; 11:14, which earned Hurlbut a DVDX nomination; and The Skulls. Notably, his television credits include the first season of AMC’s Into the Badlands.