My Shoot List in LA
As a professional videographer based on the West Coast, sometimes I feel like LA gets sold short. Not because the public doesn’t think it’s a great city. I feel as though LA gets simplified somehow.
True, it’s home to many beautiful people with fashion-week worthy wardrobes, as well as many aspiring stars. And that’s what most of the video footage seems to focus on.
But if you dig just a little bit, you can easily find a core of natural beauty and inspiring destinations that look good on camera and capture a truer spirit of Los Angeles.
When I go to LA, I like to keep things fun and lighthearted. My Lumix GH6, Mavic Pro Drone, and GO PRO HERO 6 help me capture footage worthy of luxury travel video. But it’s not just the tools — it’s the location. It’s perfect for travel market video, too. Let’s check it out.
Griffith Observatory and Natural Park
Set your sights on space with the Griffith Observatory. Tucked away in a gorgeous natural park, the observatory offers amazing views of nature and LA. From that high perch, you can capture breathtaking shots of the city. You also have a good view of the Hollywood sign, a classic shot that adds instant panache to your footage.
I’m particularly fond of the sunsets. From the Observatory, you can watch the lights come on over LA — and if you’re feeling up to it, a hyper time-lapse of nightfall sparkles on-screen later on.
Santa Monica Pier and Beach
The site of many b-rated teen romance movies, Santa Monica Pier has a charm that’s hard to deny. Once home to just a couple of thrill rides, it’s now a thriving foodie scene as well. While you’re shooting the iconic rides, which cost a few dollars per spin, you can chow down on everything from organic offerings to classic burgers and fries. And while that’s not technically part of Santa Monica Pier’s appeal to a videographer, I do think it’s a good bonus.
I do enjoy packing my travel market video full of narrative, and with so many people experiencing Santa Monica Pier, it’s easy to find the thread of a story.
The Original Farmer’s Market and Grove
Speaking of delicious food, the Original Farmer’s Market and Grove is also a food-rich destination that offers plenty of great shots. It’s hard to ignore the allure of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables, homey booths, and the authentic pride on every vendor’s face. Plus, the market’s emphasis on organic and healthy really speaks to LA’s core beliefs.
But moving on — there are three LA hotels that stand out to me in terms of luxury market video because of their unique personality and film-ready quality. With some cutting-edge travel video to showcase their amenities, they could draw in more tourists from all over.
The Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites
The Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites has a mouthful of a name, but it’s earned it. Featured prominently in movies and TV shows for a reason, this glittering behemoth has tons to offer to guests and tourists. But, although they do make an appearance on the silver screen, they haven’t invested in any luxury branded video to showcase what sets them apart.
While the rooms have an understated modern hotel feel to them, I think they could show off their amazing views and high-class amenities through a “feature film” of their own.
The Standard Downtown LA
On the other end of the spectrum, The Standard Downtown LA bills itself as a classy boutique hotel. Located in the middle of LA’s heart, it offers rooms decked out in Art Deco grid patterns as well as amazing views. But the real shoot-list begins with the amenities on the roof: from a classy private garden to an amazing rooftop pool, it’s easy to make the Standard look great with my drone and my Lumix.
Freehand Los Angeles
The Freehand, also located in downtown LA, Is a “historically significant” hotel as well. All history aside, the unique inside décor gives an air of luxury — but nothing more-so than their iconic rooftop pool. Visitors can bask in the water surrounded on all sides by glittering skyscrapers. I can’t think of anything more worthy of luxury travel video than that — and bet it would make an amazing drone shot in the early morning or evening.
LA has plenty of things to shoot that aren’t starlets. If you’re looking for luxury travel footage, there are plenty of opportunities. Where will you shoot in LA?