In 2016, 717 film shoots took place in Montreal. The city is the backdrop for several films and hit TV shows. Montreal stands out as a filming location because, more than any other city in North America, it has preserved its remarkable architecture, which spans three centuries and reflects different historical periods. Several Montreal filming locations, such as Le Windsor Ballrooms, can be redesigned and transformed to allow spectators to travel through time and around the world. Since finding the ideal location is the first step for a successful film or TV series, Le Windsor has prepared a guide to help you find the perfect filming location in Montreal.
Know your script
You must clearly identify the needs of the script before you can choose the appropriate location: a historic site, a distinctive building, an urban landscape, etc. Choose a site that lends itself to your story and the message it wants to convey: elegance, luxury, extravagance, authenticity, etc.
Scout at the right time
Environments change depending on the season, day and time. It's therefore best to explore the filming location at the exact time you plan to shoot. Several factors must be considered, such as traffic noise, direct lighting, foot traffic and visitors.
Check the lighting
Are you filming a daytime scene or a nighttime scene? Check the light levels by filming a few seconds of test footage. Churches, ballrooms, restaurants, auditoriums and houses usually have the lowest light levels available. Because outdoor lighting conditions vary throughout the day, they can be as difficult to manage as those indoors.
Check the sound
The ability to record audible dialogue is one of the most important requirements of a successful shoot. When you explore a location, listen carefully for sounds that could become problematic. Is there constant background noise? If so, can it be turned off? How will the dialogue sound—do you hear a reverberation? Can you record clear dialogue? Don't forget to account for the day and time of the sound recording, since sound conditions change frequently.
Make sure you have enough space
You may have found a filming location that works perfectly with your story, but it's easy to forget that equipment must also be set up. To avoid wasting valuable time on space management issues that could have been taken care of earlier, you need to figure out where your equipment will go before you begin filming. Make sure you have a space that is reserved for your actors—they will need privacy to concentrate and memorize their lines. Try to keep filming equipment (camera, lights, crew) far away from the actors. As you decide where to set up, make sure you have physical access to the areas in which you plan to place the camera.
Check the electrical power sources
Make sure you have enough electrical outlets. Check with the on-site team to ensure that the electrical panel has enough power to operate the lights, cameras, makeup stations, sound equipment, etc.
You need to obtain permits and other legal authorizations to film at certain locations. When you visit a location, you should also look into the legalities of filming with local authorities and owners. Did you choose a street or sidewalk that will interfere with traffic? Do you plan to film on private property? Many owners will be pleased to accommodate you if you ask, but it's best to obtain permission in advance.
Scout the area
Do you have good cellphone reception at the filming location? If you plan to film outside major urban centres, make sure you have enough gas. Become familiar with the area (restaurants, stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, etc.) to meet the needs of your team. When shooting on location, make sure to find an electronics store in case you need to replace a cable or an adaptor.
We hope that this list helps you make the perfect film or TV show. Make a checklist and ensure that your filming location corresponds to all the most important logistical requirements. Discover some of the films and TV shows that were filmed at Le Windsor Ballrooms. For more information, please contact us.