Indie filmmakers or short filmmakers are always burdened with budget restrictions, a known fact. and they know if it is outdoors, then it means more cost. More variables are in action and hence short films or even web series almost always happens indoors. Though the reasons are genuine, outdoors have their own merits. A natural location provides extra authenticity to the frame that is set. Everything that is present outdoor is a natural property for your shot. The beauty that is present outside cannot be compensated with a room or a house.
Light being a major factor, as in a daylight outdoor shot will not have too many artificial lights, whereas you have to set up lights indoor to bring out the feel. The natural light is enough to bring the feel of cinema.
One of the main problems shooting outdoor is finding the locations. You have to search for places before the shoot that are remote or that are feasible for a peaceful shoot. The location must also be apt for the scene and at the same time flexible for the restrictions.
How do you do it
You can have assistants or friends who love to travel to search for locations that fit better to your scene and script. Having a location scout by yourself or having a friend for that makes the job much easier. You can pay the friend nominally, or select someone who is into film making and who is desperate in learning stuffs. This makes even that guy learn and benefit from what is done. The point here is simple. You need not have a script team. You need not have a direction team. But if you are indie filmmaker, you must make sure to have a production management team. Don’t underestimate production management.
Accessing the locations
Budget filmmakers will surely face the problem of getting a police permission for shooting outdoors. The process of getting a permission for shooting a short film is actually a tiring process. If you know someone from the department who can help you in this, well and good. But if not, the shoot can’t be carried out as planned. The hack for this is, prepare a letter stating that you’re a student and fill in the letter by saying that the shoot is for a college project and also that it is done to create social awareness which can create a soft corner. If anyone asks, this can be shown to reduce what has to be done, or sometimes this is what Is all you have to do. Policemen respects college projects and won’t drag you in to tiring process.
Have a detailed read on managing cops here : https://studentfilmer.com/2016/10/15/how-to-manage-team-time-and-cops-while-shooting-outdoors/
Managing the locations
People do stare at the camera after a frame is set that leaves bat shots and too many takes. Selection of the location is very important here. Select a location where there will be minimal crowd so that you can manage them. And also, let the place be away from police boundaries.
In case if the location is most apt and if there is much crowd or if you plan to show the crowd on screen, the only technique is Guerilla filmaking. Just set up the cameras hiding, shoot the scenes when it’s all not noticed and get it right as much as possible. This also gives a realistic feel to the movie.
For example, please do watch the Short film Chilra Illa paa in which there are scenes involving the public in a busy road. A travel will be shown and it is a good example for guerilla filmmaking. This is not an easy process. The cinematographer has to be talented to make good shots that are put in through a hide.
Have a detailed read on crowd management in Chilra Illa Paa short film here https://studentfilmer.com/2016/06/28/how-to-tackle-shooting-challenges-in-streets-cops-people-locations-etc
Production Friendly Script Writing
One universal discipline or principle for Indie filmmakers is that they have to be creative-ready to change the script to whatever is available. This does not mean a compromise, but it is a hack. But understand that This alteration must not have any effect in the core or the heart of whatever content is taken into hands. Just minute changes can really be done without any fear about the core getting damaged. This will surely not affect your vision if you are so Clear about what happens and how it happens more than where and through which it happens. for Example, if 5 thieves are hatching a plan in a shed or garage, but if you don’t have access to a garage, then how will you bring out the same scene without the garage. One thing you have to be completely flexible is your ability to tweak your ideas based on what is available at the same time making sure the core is not compromised. this is what we call as a production friendly script writer. We will see more about this production friendly script writing in the subsequent articles