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Locations for Video Shoots: The 6 Top Cities in the U.S.

Posted by Kim Moseman on May 1, 2021

In this blog, we are going to look at some of the most popular locations for video shoots in the United States. We will take you on a tour of six of the top cities for camera crews looking to shoot video. These cities, and many of the locations, also happen to be some of our very own favorite places for videography.

1. New York City

new york morning

Of course, New York City would make the list of top places to shoot video in the U.S. New York City offers camera crews such a tremendous selection of fascinating places to film. 

There are memorable locations, picturesque buildings, and those places we have all seen in both movies and music videos. But, also, there are those little places that only the locals might know about such as vintage lofts, artsy coffee shops, and old movie theaters.

Some of the more well-known places to shoot videos in New York City include Chinatown, SOHO, the Meatpacking District, the Flatiron Building, and, of course, Times Square.

And, just as a little refresher on what has been filmed in New York City, let’s take a quick look.

In 1978, the Daily News Building was featured in Superman with Christopher Reeve. The Hook and Ladder firehouse was shown in Ghostbusters, and the movie, When Harry Met Sally, featured Katz’s Delicatessen. And these mentions are just scratching the surface.

There are also music videos that were shot in this scenic gold mine. Michael Jackson filmed his video for “Bad” in the Hoyt–Schermerhorn Streets station, the White Stripes filmed a music video in the Upper West Side. Also, let’s not forget, the legendary, Beastie Boys filmed their song, “An Open Letter to NYC” throughout the enamoring city.

2. Washington, D.C.

washington dc tower

Washington D.C. is a popular video location for camera crews, and it can be another fabulous place for shooting multiple types of video projects.

D.C. has artistic hotspots, stunning architecture, and is full of history. The number of great places to film in D.C. is virtually never-ending.

Video shoot locations will, of course, always depend on the video project you are working on. But the Capitol, Georgetown Waterfront, The National Arboretum, and the Lincoln Memorial are well-known places for many looking to snap great photos and shoot beautiful videos.

Georgetown University is a location that was featured in The Exorcist, and The West Wing TV series.

The Washington Union Station was a top pick for directors of the movies, Hannibal, Head of State, and Collateral Damage.

If you are looking for some additional locations to film outdoors while in D.C. – locations with artistic backdrops provided by neighborhood artists, consider checking out Eastern Market. Also, Big Bear Cafe on 1st Street in D.C. has some beautiful outdoor gardens that would be perfect for various types of videos in between coffee refills.

3. Dallas, TX

dallas tx nighttime

Dallas, Texas is a city known for its football team, a popular 80’s TV show, and, sadly, the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy, an event that includes some of the most historic video footage in U.S. history.

Dallas is also known for its video shoot locations and for appearing in numerous movies and TV shows.

Although many often think that RoboCop was filmed in Detroit, the majority of the blockbuster film was shot in Dallas, TX. The film featured Dallas City Hall, the Plaza of Americas, and the Renaissance Hotel.

Also, Benji, the 1972 film loved by most everyone that has a heart, was filmed in Dallas. Parts of the lovable dog film were shot in McKinney and Denton.

Walker Texas Ranger, The Rookie, Pure Country, Prison Break, and a long list of other hit movies and TV shows all have credits for video locations in the Dallas, Texas area.

For camera crews looking to shoot their next video in Dallas, there are historic saloons and old wineries in Cedars, and there is Fair Park, Adolphus Hotel, Pioneer Park, Southfork Ranch, and the historic McKinney town square.

Just a little forewarning, although the Adolphus Hotel is a jaw-dropping venue where scenes from True Blood were filmed, rumor has it that the luxurious hotel has a few haunted rooms. This means that your next video production could result in having uninvited extras on the set.

4. Atlanta, GA

atlanta nighttime

There’s something for everyone to love in Atlanta, Georgia. There are great music venues, scenic parks, old Southern restaurants, and the Georgia Aquarium. And there are scores of exceptional video locations in Georgia’s energetic capital.

Just outside of Atlanta, in Senoia, scenes from Driving Miss Daisy, Sweet Home Alabama, and Fried Green Tomatoes have been filmed. But in recent years, the small unassuming town has been known for the sets that have been used for filming the Walking Dead.

Atlanta is home to the beautiful Fox Theater, a location that has an interior rich in camera angles ideal for many types of film projects. The Fox is a versatile venue and often has sold-out theatrical presentations and as well as shows featuring world-famous musical artists. 

The Fox Theater sits on Peachtree Street in a city with a selection of enormous buildings that help form a memorable skyline. These buildings include 191 Peachtree Tower, Suntrust Plaza, the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, the Westin Peachtree Plaza, and of course the state capitol and its iconic golden dome.

For filming, camera crews in Atlanta can enjoy several scenic views from Piedmont Park, the one-of-a-kind camera angles available at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, and various video locations that include old Georgia homes in DeKalb County, to backdrops on concrete walls featuring paintings from local artists.

Also, videographers and camera crews can check out picturesque coffee shops in Midtown, the famous Flying Biscuit, and intimate music venues like Eddies Attic and Smith’s Olde Bar – awesome filming locations and venues that have featured musical artists such as David Bowie, the Georgia Satellites, and John Mayer.

5. San Francisco, CA

san fransisco bay hazy

San Francisco, or the “city by the Golden Gate,” is known for the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the San Francisco Giants, The Castro District, and, of course, Lombard Street, the most “crooked street in the world” as it’s called.

Lombard street is without a doubt a very winding road, but it’s also a scenic street with beautiful flowers, greenery, and gives visitors a great view of the “Gold City.” It has all of the striking qualities that make for a great location to shoot videos and snap heart-stopping photographs.

The city’s view of the water, hills, fog, and the huge number of pictorial locations provide camera crews with a vast selection for video projects.

Scenes from Steve McQueen’s, 1968 movie, “Bullitt” were filmed in San Francisco. And the number of times the Golden Gate Bridge has been filmed in movies and other video footage is immeasurable. 

The iconic bridge was featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s, Vertigo, and the hit movies Superman, A View to a Kill, Interview with a Vampire, and others.

Coit Tower is another great location for camera crews looking to shoot video in San Francisco. It’s a location that gives visitors a priceless view of Alcatraz Island, the City of San Francisco, the unforgettable skyline, and the piers.

And, if you are up for a hike, you can head to the Twin Peaks for a 360 view of the entire city.

After your hike, you can refuel in Fisherman’s Wharf, a location full of personality and one that is filled with beautiful restaurants, and street performers. It sits right at the Northern waterfront and is where you will find the well-known Pier 39. 

If your crew wants to consider filming at a music venue known around the world, well San Francisco is home of the Fillmore. It’s a location that has hosted musical artists such as Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, The Cure, The Who, and the Grateful Dead.

If you are looking for more than one historical music venue, there’s also The Great American Music Hall and the Chapel.

6. Los Angeles, CA

los angeles hollywood sign

How do you even begin to write about locations for camera crews to shoot video in Los Angeles? I mean, the place is home to Hollywood. And, Los Angeles has beautiful weather, mountains, deserts, beaches, and a huge selection of movie stars to choose from.

The 1982 film, Blade Runner, featuring Harrison Ford, was filmed in downtown Los Angeles. The popular movie features scenes from the Bradbury Building, Million Dollar Theater, and Union Station.

Also, Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, and Kim Basinger shot several of the scenes from the 1997 movie, L.A. Confidential at the Pacific Electric Building, and City Hall. Also, the Pacific Electric Building was featured in the classic movie, Forrest Gump. It’s the place that Forrest and Lieutenant Dan celebrated New Year 1972.

The historic Pacific Electric Building was built in 1905 and served as the main train station. Since then, the iconic building has been repurposed several different times and has, of course, appeared in many pictures and movies. Another ghost-warning here, the fifth floor is supposedly haunted.  

Since we are talking about places to shoot video in L.A., historic buildings, and ghosts, we should probably also mention the Biltmore Hotel. This is the place that The Black Dahlia was last seen alive. Allegedly, the ghost that hangs out here is none other than Elizabeth Short (The Black Dahlia). While ghosts are definitely breathtaking, so is the inside of the Biltmore Hotel. It’s amazingly beautiful with highly detailed ceilings in its foyer and throughout the hotel.

If you are looking to get away from the ghosts and shoot video in a unique and beautiful outdoor location in Los Angeles, why not check out the Bronson Canyon that is in the southwest area of Griffith Park.

It was here that scenes from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Adventures Of Captain Marvel, The Searchers, Cloak and Dagger, and other movies were filmed.

Other great locations for filming include Grand Central Market, Rodeo Drive, Griffith Observatory, and Malibu. When you make your trip to Malibu for those video shoots, make sure to stop at Malibu Wines.

Recap: Locations for Video Shoots

When it comes to picking the perfect location(s) for your video shoot, it will, of course, always depend on your project and the direction you and your camera crew wish to take.

While there are wildly popular video shoot spots throughout the United States, there are scores of other scenic locations that are great for videos in every town.

Old neighborhoods, abandoned buildings, low-lit city streets, brick walls that have been covered in paint by local artists, parks, lakes, hotels right around the corner, and local coffee shops can all be great video locations. 

If you would like to discuss putting together a camera crew for your next project, let’s chat. We would love to help you with your next film project.

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