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10 Tips for Shooting Video in Phoenix

Posted by Guest Blogger on November 16, 2015

Phoenix, Arizona – also known as the Valley of the Sun with its 325-plus days of sunshine each year – is the most populous state capital in the U.S. Phoenix’s size and location provides a unique backdrop for any film project. While it may get hot (and it does get hot, think 110 degrees in the summer), Phoenix is home to incredible mountain ranges and valleys, a bustling city and unique southwestern architecture, which makes it a fantastic location to set up your next shoot. Before you head out to the southwest, check out these tips for shooting on location.

10 – Permits are one of the most important things to keep in mind when shooting on location. The Phoenix Film and Digital Media Permit allows crews to film all over the city in city-owned buildings and public right-of-ways within City of Phoenix boundaries. Find out more information about the FDM here, and remember that when completing your Certificate of Insurance, you need to write “The City of Phoenix is an Additional Insured with respect to liability arising out of the activities performed by or on behalf of the permittee,” otherwise your application will be rejected.

9 – If you’re just shooting B-Roll though, a permit usually isn’t required unless you are shooting in city-owned buildings or have five or more people among a few other rules.Look over these guidelines to determine if you need a permit or not.

8 – The unique landscape of Phoenix can be a cost-friendly alternative to shooting in other locations. At the right place, Phoenix can feel like Palm Springs, South Carolina, Los Angeles or even parts of the Middle East.

7 – The film commission is extremely helpful when it comes to finding the right location for a shoot. One of the services they offer is location photos on its website to help you “scope out” places to shoot. If you can’t find the perfect location based on the website’s photos, give them a call and they’ll help find you a place that matches your vision.

6 – Additionally, while you may envision Arizona is dry, brown, and full of cacti and rattlesnakes, Phoenix is so much more than that. The bustling city offers a diverse set of backgrounds, like green tree-lined neighborhoods, urban lofts, eclectic bungalows and sprawling estates.

5 – Weather can be a huge factor when it comes to your shoot. While you don’t really need to worry about rain, you should be concerned about the heat. The weather is relatively mild from October to May, but once June hits you might think about starting a shoot as early as possible before the heat becomes unbearable.

4 – Traffic in Phoenix may not be comparable to that of more notorious traffic nightmares like Washington, D.C. or the Los Angeles area, but be sure to account for some time lost while sitting on the freeway. Also keep in mind that several freeways have roads that run parallel to them. While you may get stuck at a stoplight occasionally, you can take N Pima Road if you’re traveling via the 101 or E McDowell Road if you’re following the direction of the 202. Also important to note is that crews are not permitted to film on major thoroughfares during rush hour traffic (6 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.).

3 – Only 15% of Arizona’s land is privately owned. The rest of it is public forest and park land, state trust land and Native American reservation. So if you’re looking to shoot in a secluded or isolated area, you can easily be found within a short driving distance from the capital.

2 – The Sky Harbor airport is both an asset and a disadvantage. Being located in the heart of Phoenix is convenient, but it is also very busy. With a bi-directional flight path, four active runways and planes taking off or landing approximately every 20 seconds, producers need to consider this when thinking about the sound of their interviews or videos. Crews Control represented videographer Jim Kent says “Producers should really look [at] a map if they plan to do any important sound near the airport.”

1 – Finally, there are several conditions that require City of Phoenix off-duty personnel to be present. Check them out here to see if you fit any of the criteria.

Don’t think about all the stereotypes when it comes to the desert. While it’s hot, Phoenix is beautiful and offers incredible sunsets every night. It has so much more to offer than how most envision the Old West. If you need a crew in Phoenix, Crews Control represents the most talented and creative crews in the world. Click here for a free quote. Don’t forget we’re also on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn!

Written by Crews Control’s Fall 2015 Intern Sara Goodwin


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