Location scouts appraise French filming
For Roland Caine, shooting in France means he’ll find two things — unparalleled texture and light.
“The country is unique in terms of its architecture and cobblestone streets,” Caine says. “And the light in the southern part of France is so thick and rich and amber that it’s like nothing anywhere else.”
Caine — who has worked in France on several films and car commercials over the past few years — also believes the country offers a less congested alternative to some neighboring locales. And this can make things easier for a working crew.
“Towns are farther apart from one another and there’s less pressure on the roads than in the U.K.,” Caine says.
But Caine also advises visitors remember that when they’re in France they should do as the French do. “You need to be more human — and a little less businesslike than in the U.K., Germany or the U.S. when you’re in France,” he says. “Then things will go smoothly.”
When Chris Morgan worked in France on the Drew Barrymore film “Ever After,” he found himself surrounded by “gorgeous scenery, beautiful light and probably the best food one could hope to eat.”
That last part is no small thing to Morgan, whose mother is French.
“Food is highly underrated as a way to keep people happy,” Morgan says. “And as a location manager and scout, you’re always looking for ways to keep people happy.”
In addition to using the local cuisine as an enticement to a crew, Morgan recommends allowing enough lead time to put together permits.
“The secret to shooting successfully in France is getting to the right people,” Morgan says. “You need to allow yourself the right amount of time, and speaking some French helps, too.”
Morgan is just as enamored of French crews — specifically d.p.’s.
“French cinematographers are used to thinking around problems,” Morgan says. “They’ll find amazing ways to do things regardless of budget.”