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You might think from the title of this movie that we're talking about insurance claims, but it's actually much simpler than that. Mitigating risk just means removing the opportunity for things to go wrong. And the benefit of the site survey is it does just that. By going out and looking at your site and really assessing what's there, you could remove potential risks that are going to make the overall production go much smoother. For example, some of the things you're going to look for are technical problems. Is there going to be any issue with the location? Is there challenging lighting, such as overhead skylights that you're going to have to gel? Is there a lack of power? Is it going to be difficult to put lights in because the room is too small? You're going to look for opportunities and challenges that will affect how you light the scene or where you stage the equipment.
Additionally, you're going to want to make sure that you get permissions for usage, not just the location itself but the area surrounding it. Have you determined where you're going to park your vehicles? Do you know where you're going to store your gear? Do you have permissions to be in the surrounding areas? Have you actually addressed with the neighbors if you're going to be bothering them or getting in their way, that they know what's happening on the day of production. You're going to want to take a look and see if you're going to need any special equipment. This can include things like generators or overhead silks to diffuse the light.
Do you need pop-up tents to store your equipment? What is it that you have to bring so the location is ready to use? The other benefit here is that it really forces the team to focus on the project in advance. By coming to the location and looking at it, you can ensure that everybody is thinking about what's involved in the project. Remember, when it comes to video production, you and your crew often have multiple jobs stacked up back to back. You may have a job on one side of town one week for a client and then all the way on the other side of the country next week for a different one.
The benefit of doing the location scout or the site survey is that it forces you to look at the location and to really think about how you're going to take the place you're shooting and the script that you have or the treatment that you have and bring it to life. This is when the production becomes real for most of the people on your crew. Going to the location forces you to look at it and make sure that it's suitable and can help you achieve the goals of your script.
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