Gateway to Video Production
Saint Louis has to be one of the most interesting cities in the Midwest to shoot a video production. While most major American cities grew in the late 20th century, St. Louis actually shrank as people moved out to the suburbs, leaving behind hundreds of homes and commercial buildings vacant or abandon. Time has taken its toll on some of these structures giving certain areas a post-apocalyptic look without all the effort of the Set Design department. However, St. Louis still maintains gorgeous turn-of-the-century buildings, cathedrals, parks and some modern commercials districts with high-rises. As a videographer and photographer, I believe that St. Louis’s diversity is all the reason to flip on the video camera and start shooting, but there are a few things you should know before you start shooting.
When I first moved to St. Louis, I was surprised to learn that it is very much a union town, especially with the hotels, event centers, news stations and sports arenas. So before you set your sticks down in Busch Stadium, make sure you have checked in with the local and received their permission. A few that I know are IBEW Local 1, Local 600, IATSE Local 493.
Clear Skies Ahead
We have all heard about FAA restrictions on the use of aerial drones and that they are now offering special licenses for commercial use. However, getting caught flying without a permit can cost you time and money and St. Louis law enforcement is on the lookout for unauthorized UAV’s. The people over at Know Before You Fly have some great advice to save your video production from hefty fines.
Watch The Weather
While you are unlikely to see tornadoes in the city, if you are filming in the suburbs or outskirts of St. Louis or in southern Illinois, summer afternoon thunderstorms and high winds can derail your production schedule. During the winter time, ice storms are common and can cripple the city’s roadways. So always keep an eye on the weather radar.
Keep An Eye On Your Gear
While most areas of St. Louis are nice, peaceful places to film, the quality of the neighborhood can change from street to street. Break-ins and theft are very common throughout the city. So, be smart and always have a PA or grip watching your video equipment and grip trucks.
Rent From The Bad Dogs
The biggest and baddest rental house on the Mississippi is Bad Dog Pictures. I was tuned onto this place by producer, Ray Voltz, over at Wells Fargo Advisors. They stock all the gear you need and can help you find local crew, as well.
The Best In The Midwest
So, while there may be a few things you need to keep in mind before shooting video here, there is no substitute for the iconic, unmistakable beauty of St. Louis.