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10 Tips for Shooting Video in Nashville

Posted by Alexa Fried on February 24, 2016

Nashville has become the new “it” city in most recent years, bringing together tradition and cutting-edge entertainment. The town is robust with exceptional backdrops, unique eateries, and historic monuments for a variety of video shoot genres. Before you head out to Music City, USA, check out our top ten tips for shooting on location in Nashville:


10 – Access to state-owned buildings, parks, and roads is plentiful. Most state-owned property is available free of charge. Just know that if you want access to a state-owned location, you’ll need to send an email to the film commission, and they will help coordinate the shoot. So whether you are an up and coming mom and pop shop or F500 company, there will be plenty of opportunities to get a diverse range of shots you are looking for. Regarding permits,“there are no state permitting fees in Tennessee” according to the Tennessee film Commission, however, if you have a crew more than 3-4 people, you will likely need a permit to be safe.

9 – Even though Nashville was once known as the 10 minutes city due to the close proximity everything, this is no longer the case. In thanks to the recent climb in population, allow 20-30 minutes of travel time during the day and 30+ minutes if you’re going anywhere from 4:00-6:00 pm. Taxis, Uber, Lyft will be your reliable best friend if you are looking to travel from point A to point B in a hurry.

8 – As cool as it is to get aerial footage of all the note-worthy areas, both urban and rural, the state still requires drones to have FAA approval before beginning to shoot. Make sure to utilize the quality surroundings and get some aerial shots of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Mississippi River after you get those permits though!

7 – Nashville’s rich history offers a plethora of b-roll locations. Some of the great iconic shots that showcase Nashville’s music hub is Music Row, which is comprised of recording studios and record labels, Honky Tonks, and Ryman, the original home of the Grand Ole’ Opry. Another great location unique to Nashville is the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. Other great b-roll locations include: Centennial Park and the full-size replica of the Greek Parthenon; and locations like Meade Plantation, The Hermitage Home, and Franklin’s Carnton Plantation contribute to Nashville’s diverse, traditional, and distinctive location and create unique scenes for shooting footage.

6 – Though the city is filled with traditions of all sorts, the memories of entertainment’s greats have also left their mark. Elvis Presley created his legacy of Rock n Roll, Dolly Parton the Queen of country, Bill Monroe as the Father of Bluegrass, and so many more who left their individual marks in Nashville history which can be captured in the legendary Country Music Hall of Fame Music Museum.

5 – To get those classic Nashville skyline shots, we asked some of our DPs how to get the best vantage points possible. Their advice: to shoot from the top levels of local parking garages in the West End area near all the hospitals. Another key piece of advice they offered is to shoot from the Shelby Street Walking Bridge which is across the river from downtown, looking back at the city. It really creates a beautiful and exceptional shot.

4 – Even though the beautiful and historic city has much to offer, be wary of those impending Tornados. According to About Nashville.com the Middle Tennessee area, including Nashville, “has around a dozen or so tornado watches issued annually, and at least one tornado is either spotted and/or touches down in Middle Tennessee every year.” Also be sure to check the weather report if you’re shooting in the spring months. “The highest monthly rainfall occurs normally in the month of May producing the most rain, normally around 5 inches.”

3 – The Tennessee State Prison is actually one of the most popular and free spots to shoot in believe it or not! The unique 19th century architecture has been used as the backdrop for many music videos and films and is the perfect fit for a creepy yet eerie shot on any day of the year. The location is also an easy ten-minute trip from Downtown Nashville making it accessible for your crew large or small.

2 – Once you put some distance in from the bustling downtown life, you can find some stunning waterfalls just a short distance from the city. Only about an hour or two drive, depending on which location you chose, there are many different falls to venture out to shoot. One of these falls includes that located in the Burgess State Park. The park is filled with rolling hills and fields of flowers if you are looking for a truly serene scenic shot. Just be sure to prepare your crew; they could be in for an unexpected hike!

1 – A favorite tip we like to ask our DPs is where to grab a good bite. Nashville is the new “it” food city! With a wide range of cuisines and eateries, you can get a taste of anything in the musical city for just about any price. Check out The Southern, Farm House, Husk, Pinewood Social and of course Hatti B’s or Prince’s Hot Chicken, which are great options according to Crews Control represented DP Chris Codner.


From Barbeque to Speakeasies and skylines to a historic State Prison, Nashville really does have anything and everything your video shoot needs. Your shots will be anything but boring in the iconic Music City, U.S.A. and will be sure to captivate audiences of all ages. Make sure to check out the rules and regulations regarding permits before shooting but once that is all in check, join the legends that have already created a legacy in Nashville, Tennessee. If you’re need of a video crew in Nashville, click here for a free quote! Also find us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn!


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