Posted on Monday, February 24, 2020

Shooting In Studio vs. On Location

Whether for small or large-scale production, considering where to shoot your film is an important part of the planning process. There are benefits and drawbacks to both options.

Shooting on location

Shooting on location can add authenticity to your film, as well as offer a unique traveling experience for your cast and crew. Often films are shot in remote, stunning locations to support the storyline.

However, shooting on location also has potential drawbacks. It’s important to consider all facets of on-location shooting, both the good and the bad.


  • Can be cheaper than building complex sets
  • Possibility to use non-union labor and save funds
  • More realistic
  • Ability to work with a location scout
  • Great for low budget
  • Can use the world as your background
  • Little set design needed
  • Fewer construction overheads


  • The environment has a mind of its own
  • Traffic and background noise
  • Issues with privacy and security
  • Strangers might disrupt your set
  • Equipment security (especially for overnight sets)
  • Expensive to transport crew to remote locations

Shooting in a studio

If you worry about the external forces of nature and human disruption, then shooting in a studio is the better option for your production. With studio production, you don’t have to deal with the unpredictability of weather and curious bystanders.


  • Ability to control the environment, including lighting, traffic, city regulations, etc.
  • Easier to shoot with special FX
  • Easier sound recording
  • Ability to craft grandeur sets
  • Use of large-scale equipment
  • Ease of privacy
  • Easier security
  • Predetermined loading area


  • Renting a location may be difficult with limited studio spaces
  • Duration may vary
  • Harder to create a sense of realism
  • Cost may be too high for low-budget films
  • Renting a studio plus props adds up
  • Can only work with what you’ve got
  • The studio acts as your canvas
  • Have to build sets for each scene

What’s best for my project?

Whether to choose in-studio or on location truly depends on the size and scope of your project, as well as the story you want to convey. If let’s say, you want your film to take place in an alternate universe, then shooting on location may be difficult. You’d want to rely on VFX for that.

If you want your story to take place in the mountains, there’s plenty of remote locations to shoot.

Ultimately, your budget, set needs and concerns about external factors will help determine what route is best for you. For either option, LA 411 has an abundance of resources available at your fingertips to elevate your production.

At the end of the day, do whatever brings your vision to life.