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10 Tips for Shooting Video in Salt Lake City
As Utah’s high elevation capital, Salt Lake City is known for bordering the Great Salt Lake, the Wasatch Mountain range and being the headquarters for the Mormon Church. With jaw-dropping landscapes, a thriving art scene and several iconic landmarks, SLC has much to offer any traveling producer. But what do you need to know before traveling all the way to the capital of the Beehive State? We talked to Utah DP Walt Winters about 10 tips for shooting corporate video shoot in Salt Lake City.
1. Permits: The Utah Film Commission doesn’t issue permits, but the office can facilitate in-coming productions in obtaining them. The state of Utah also doesn’t require a statewide filming permit, but local, state and federal jurisdictions will most likely require one. You will need to submit a film/photo permit application at least 4 business days prior to filming. Click here for more information on permits.
2. Weather: Utah is the driest state, behind Nevada. But the Salt Lake City area is less dry than other regions. Extreme heat is more common than extreme cold in Salt Lake City. The weather often flip-flops dramatically in short periods of time. “In the spring in SLC-some days it can be in the 70’s and sunny and the next day it can be in the 40’s, rainy in the Valley, and snow in the Mountains,” Winters said.
3. High Altitude: Salt Lake City is known for its high altitude climate. “When out-of-town producers come here, I’d say the number one thing they often complain about is having a headache or their mouth is dry,” Winters said. “I always tell them to drink tons of extra water, since we are in the high desert out here and SLC sits at about 4500 ft. So the altitude affects all of us.”
4. Transportation: There are several options for public transportation including commuter trains called FrontRunner, buses and a light-rail. These methods are inexpensive and convenient, but if you need to move heavy and expensive equipment from location to location, then a rental car is the way to go.
5. Parking: If a rental car is your preferred method of transportation in the city, you’ll have to consider parking. Salt Lake City is a small city compared to most and the city government has made parking a top priority since 2002, when they hosted the Winter Olympics. Many parking spots are metered and available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Here is an interactive parking map!
6. Food: Utah’s most iconic foods include Navajo Tacos, Funeral Potatoes, Utah Scones and, of course, some classic fry sauce! We also recommend getting a Crown Burger, which is a charbroiled beef patty with hot pastrami, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and a sesame-seed bun spread with fry sauce. Crown Burger is a local fast food chain that is consistently rated one of the best places in the country for a burger. For more restaurant recommendations, click here.
7. Great Salt Lake: As the largest lake west of the Mississippi River, the Great Salt Lake provides outstanding scenery and recreational opportunities for Utah. Vibrant sunsets are breathtaking against the lake’s turquoise water. That’s a must get shot! Sailors, swimmers and beach goers are frequent on Antelope Island and some shoreline areas draw hikers and mountain bikers. Great Salt Lake is an ideal location to get b-roll of visitors and locals too.
8. Grid System: The city follows a street grid system based on the grid plan developed by church leaders back when the Salt Lake Temple was first constructed. Each address in the city is an indication of how many blocks north, south, east or west that address lies from Temple Square. This can get confusing, so remember to keep your GPS handy or ask for directions.
9. Mountains: Salt Lake lies in a mountain valley with the Wasatch Mountains to the north and east. With mountains bordering the city, it’s tough to capture any aerial or drone footage without them gracefully resting in the background. But make it a conscious effort to shoot some video of the mountains around SLC that make this city’s landscape so incredible.
10. Temple Square: Downtown you will find historic Temple Square. This complex is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and sits on 10 acres in the middle of the city. Salt Lake City is the headquarters of the Mormon Church and the Mormon Salt Lake Temple is the city center. Like the majestic 19th century Temple and the neo-Gothic Assembly Hall, there are several iconic landmarks just in this region of the city that make for great establishing shots.
- B-roll: “This is a great state to shoot in,” Winters said. “There are so my diverse land and cityscapes to choose from. From alpine to desert, modern to old.”
- High Altitude: The altitude will affect you if you’ve never been to Utah before. Remember to drink a lot of water!
- Permits: While the state of Utah does not require a permit statewide, local, state and federal jurisdictions will most likely require one.