Locations for Filming and Photography in Nebraska

Capturing NEBRASKA in a frame is indeed farm fields and the many agricultural clichés… but know there are many surprises. Including other types of fields.

College World Series 2011 TD Ameritrade Park

College World Series 2011 TD Ameritrade Park

 Motion pictures or media production happening here might sound curious to you – especially if you reside near one of the coasts. That’s okay. We’re used to it.

LOCATIONS are mostly film-friendly.  Credit the fine people of Nebraska. PERMITS are easy – when needed.  LOCATION FEES are comparable to a medium-sized city in the U.S..  If you are at least INSURED – deals can be had easier.

Please poke around this site.   And ask questions.

 W E L C O M E

Western Nebraska at the Colorado border

Western Nebraska at the Colorado border

NOTE:  Locations are available on a PER-PROJECT basis.  You  must CONFIRM with ANY location on AVAILABILITY and INTEREST - prior to getting excited about shooting there. 

Golf Courses

cropped-quarry-oaks-pano-labeled-jamie-vesay100_1824.jpgGolf courses in Nebraska are abundant. Most of the clusters are near the larger metropolitan areas of Omaha and Lincoln, but other beauties can be found on the outskirts and between these cities. Looks vary greatly. Most first-time visitors to Nebraska are taken by the topography of the land. In a surprising word: hilly. Sure, you can get plenty of flat too. Depending on your creative, you can get northeast U.S. look, park setting, European links in the Sandhills, or Nebraska prairie.

cropped-bayside-golf-trd-wm-lbld-img_0668-version-3-copy.jpgThere are a few gems in the north central part of the State and to the west.

Benson, Omaha

Benson, Omaha city course

Municipal courses (munis), public, and private clubs provide many options.  You’ll find true “country” clubs in small towns, often flat and wide open courses.

Click on this link for big MAP OF GOLF COURSES in NEBRASKA.  If you have never shot on a golf course, please visit my blog entry on JamieVesay.com about SHOOTING GOLF.

And if you or your client likes to play, allow an extra day to enjoy a round or two.

 Photos and words COPYRIGHT Jamie Vesay 2014  ANY USE requires permission.

Nebraska. The Big Picture

From local crew to diverse locations that are happy to host, producing your project in Nebraska is – friendly.  If you’ve never been, creating your project here will be a pleasant surprise. Clouds chasing Church road NE Jamie Vesay Spring 2011 IMG_0210 WMPhotographically, the open spaces and giant sky get much of the credit. If your project will include exteriors that feature the land or clouds or natural light: it will be good.

If your location is locked and you know where you have to be, great! A physical address should be found easily with any GPS or hand-held device. But be advised: rural addresses can confuse the satellites and they might take you to the wrong place. Double check this at least a day before your shoot.  Cookie Cutter hood in Omaha 2011 Jamie Vesay WM LBLD 100_1531 copyAlso, know there are a few serious cellular service holes in various parts of the State. Check your provider. It is critical to have at least cell coverage on the set.

The State is big. From east to west it is about 400 plus miles. In travel time, if you drive straight through – in a car, you’re talking about 8 hours.  There is a TIME ZONE change in west central Nebraska.  Be CAREFUL driving on GRAVEL roads and if you’re here in CONSTRUCTION season, check your routes to set. Here is one map of the State roads.

The WEATHER is the next thing to talk about right after you decide on locations. In Spring, it can be volatile. In Winter, well it’s just not fun. Here is a weather Category link. Please read if you’ll be working outside.

Snow in early fall. Four seasons in one day.

Snow in early fall. Four seasons in one day.

There is a ton I can tell you about Locations in Nebraska. Bounce around this site and check the Category list. There are many options depending on your needs, except for mountains – or an ocean.  For a few fun snippets of inspiration from around the State, visit these Flickr sets from Jordan McAlister’s Nebraska.

cropped-seward-nebraska-labeled-jamie-vesay-dscf2019.jpg

For additional intel about the big picture of filming in Nebraska, you can check out a post from KFTV.  “Nebraska is located on the Great Plains of the Midwestern USA. While it does not attract the volume of production experienced by states… it does have a filmmaking tradition dating back to the early 20th century.  These days it attracts the occasional feature film but mostly relies on TV commercials and corporate work.”  Read MORE here.

Finally, and most importantly, we want your experience to be a great success but we prefer it was also a positive experience.  So have fun and hurry back!Nebraska enter Sign DeSoto April 2013 Jamie Vesay WM IMG_0392 2

Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln is the State capital and the second-most populous city after Omaha.  Lincoln is also the county seat of Lancaster County. Downtown could double most medium sized cities with a nice mix of old and newer building architecture.

Lincoln O Street downtown 2010 Jamie Vesay WM LBLD  100_1963

Walkways over the streets that are connected to buildings are interesting visuals. They also make a walk warmer in winter.

Lincoln walkway connecter 2010 Jamie Vesay WM LBLD 100_1966

Lincoln has been captured on the big screen a few times, from back in the eighties and Terms of Endearment to most recently in the movie NEBRASKA.  There have been a few low-budget independent films that chose Lincoln too and the movie Yes Man shot B-Roll at the University of Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium.  National commercials have shot here, including Prilosec OTC, History Channel, and Visa, plus many regional spots.

Take a look at this video. A great cross-section of Lincoln action and landmarks: including Memorial Stadium, Pinnacle Bank Arena, downtown, and the Capitol.  Created for University of Nebraska Conference Services. Produced by University Communications in cooperation with CueMotion.

The Pinnacle Bank Arena is new and the area near here that connects to the Haymarket have been big visual changes to this area. The Haymarket is also a wonderful stop for clients and crew for amenities and trinkets.

There are a few visual gems in Lincoln that (IMO) have yet to be highlighted to their beauty and should be by some project. One is the Sunken Gardens near 27th & Capitol Parkway. They are a breath of fresh air near a busy intersection.

cropped-sunken-gardens-lincoln-2009-labeled-jamie-vesay-100_0652.jpgAs the name implies, the property is sunken low from the the street, however wide shots from higher points will see the traffic. Sound could also be an issue. The City is willing to work with you to shoot here but arrange ahead because it is popular in the warm weather with weddings and visitors.

Filming at the Capitol building has been challenging in the past. A document that includes a list of requirements and rules does exist but contact the Capitol directly for what current protocol is. cropped-lincoln-capitol-west-entrance-pano-shot-labeled-by-jamie-vesay-100_2028-copy.jpgIf you click on the Visa commercial link above, you will see inside and success by a tiny crew. I think this was shot the day after it was acceptable for small cameras to be used in all TV commercials.  There are a few gorgeous hallways with great architecture and wonderful natural light.

Lincoln Capitol  walkway 2011 Jamie Vesay WM LBLD treated IMG_1888

The City of Lincoln is film-friendly. For direct inquiries, start at the Mayor’s Office. Another helpful contact is the Nebraska Film Office which is based in Lincoln. They can direct you to other local contacts as well. Naturally, any other location you are interested in, contact them directly for proper permissions etc.

As I say with all location scouting: Hire a local scout that knows the area. If you can’t afford one, build in extra time to look harder and think creatively. Look away from the next obvious list or off the main drag or not from the travel brochure. There are surprises hiding but you have to find them. The one below is an example.  A beautiful relic of an enclosed staircase hiding downtown in an alley. With the right frame, it could double New York.

Lincoln encased staircase 2012 Jamie Vesay WM LBLD treated IMG_4846

Be safe.  Have fun.

Photos here and words COPYRIGHT Jamie Vesay 2014   Any USE requires permission. The UNL video is used here with their permission.

Courthouses

Courthouses in Nebraska vary in architecture, scale, location (topographically) and access. The photos I have shot, know about, and speak of here are COUNTY courthouses. There are no interiors posted here.

Seward cnty NE courthouse Photo by Jamie Vesay WM LBLD DSCF2027

The courthouse above is in a town square surrounded by active streets. A look like this might work for or against you, depending on how wide your shot is and if you are turning around and seeing FROM the courthouse.  This one also happens to be at street level. Note the leafless trees too as it was shot in winter.

Saunders cnty NE courthouse in Wahoo Photo by Jamie Vesay WM LBLD DSCF6172

The photo above is an older courthouse set slightly above street level on one side but ends up being street level on the back side. Note various things that are planted on the property that may NOT be MOVABLE. Some have giant sculptures, historical markers, aircraft or tanks (the military kind). Here, there is a torpedo on display at right.

Depending on the shots needed, your options are fairly deep.

A few HINTS if you happen to be looking for a courthouse that needs to be PERIOD. Look around at the modern design of things in the shot that you’ll have to hide – like storm windows and doors, cell towers, satellite dishes, concrete, landscaping, light poles, parking stalls, meters, handicap ramps, signage, and anything else current day.Dodge cnty NE courthouse in Fremont Photo by Jamie Vesay WM LBLD DSCF6148

If not an actual Courthouse, consider the many DOUBLING options. Schools and churches can often look like the main entrance and steps to a government building.Mead public school in Mead NE Photo by Jamie Vesay WM LBLD IMG_0762

The photo below is an old high school that has been converted into apartments. It could be a school as it once was or the side entrance to an old courthouse.School apartments in Blair Photo by Jamie Vesay WM LBLD IMG_2730

I have wanted to add a Courthouse Category for some time but have been slow to do so, until recently stumbling across the fantastic Flickr gallery of Jordan McAlister who has so much of an appreciation for courthouses, he shot ALL of them in Nebraska. Thanks Jordan! Visit his Courthouses Gallery here.

For questions about filming or photography around Nebraska courthouses or anywhere else in the State, contact me jamievesay@gmail.com

Photos here and words COPYRIGHT Jamie Vesay 2014   Any USE requires permission.