Locations for Filming and Photography in Nebraska

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

College World Series 2011 TD Ameritrade Park

College World Series 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.Nebraska county road BW labeled WM Jamie Vesay 100_1114 - Version 2 copy 2

LOCATIONS are mostly film-friendly. Credit the fine people of Nebraska for being nice. PERMITS are easy, when needed.  LOCATION FEES for any location of scope and scale are comparable to a medium-sized city in the U.S.  Considerations are how long you’ll be shooting and disruption, subject matter, size of crew, etc. If you are at least INSURED – deals can be had easier.

Lights and cables in a home.

Please poke around this site.  Ask Jamie questions about anything. 

Dirt, stone, dry, dusty.

 W E L C O M E

Western Nebraska at the Colorado border

Western Nebraska at the Colorado border

NOTE:  Consider location availability on a PER-PROJECT basis.  CONFIRM ANY location’s INTEREST – prior to getting excited about shooting there. 

Wind Farm, Wind Turbines

There is something mesmerizing about them. If you’re lucky enough to get to work around them or even for them, the view gets better as you get closer.

Windmills and old one near Petersburg Jamie Vesay WM LBLD treated IMG_5281In my opinion, the best array is near Petersburg*. Firstly, there are many of them there – over fifty (50) spread out over one area. Additionally, there is another array near here with about twenty-five (25) in that group. The amount of turbines here on land that is topographically diverse, make this location worth the trip. From Omaha, they are about 130 miles northwest (about 2.5 hr drive). If you plan on shooting for a full day or hope to shoot at sunrise or sunset – consider staying closer to them. Moderate lodging and food exist in Petersburg, Neligh, or Albion. Larger scale amenities can be found in Norfolk or Columbus (each about an hour away).

cropped-wind-turbines-hay-rolls-petersburg-jamie-vesay-wm-img_1693-copy1.jpg

If you are shooting for the energy company or maybe a related client, your access will be easier and more fluid. You can shoot from the county road (and the array mentioned above does have roads close) but please know that most of the turbines are planted on PRIVATE PROPERTY, so you need PERMISSION (if you want to work close to them). SIDEBAR to those already saying, “I don’t ask permission,” location scouting and shooting is as much of a professional process as operating the camera. If nothing else, you are being respectful of people’s property and feeding production karma.

th_Wind farm Petersburg house IMG_8224  Back to the turbines.

th_Wind Farm at sunset Winter 111614 Jamie Vesay WM IMG_5995 - Version 3

Time of year is equal to and comparable with the time of day you’ll be shooting. In late fall and winter, the sun is on a lower southern track. Keep this in mind if you want the sun backlighting them. If you’re getting on top of one (ONLY with company permission and climbing gear) there is such thing as being too high – as the sun may actually be under them.

CAUTION – WARNING about shooting in WINTER: Ice can build up on the blades and fall off. In extreme temps we’re talking heavy ice falling from a high point. Vehicle destruction or death can occur.  Dress warm, stay focused, and be safe!

th_Wind farm Petersburg old outbuilding early summer IMG_1712 copy

Mid June

Another hint about TIME OF YEAR: If you want green, early summer is most lush and best. If you want crops, later summer to early fall is best. Understand if you are not shooting at these times, the land is brown, the crops are cut or non-existent or buried in snow, and there are no leaves on trees.

th_Wind farm Petersburg trees cut corn IMG_8254

April

Regarding WIND, Nebraska is indeed notoriously a wind prone State and most of the time, there is at least a slight breeze. Good thing if you’re shooting wind farms and most turbines do move with even a slow wind. But every now and then, there is nothing. Hence, a non-spinning turbine is just not interesting. Here is a filming TIP: If it’s windy, show it. The lovely tall grass below is a natural foreground connection point to what you’re shooting.                     You’re welcome.

th_Wind farm Petersburg cows IMG_1640 copy

The following is important intel so please read slowly: WIND changes direction and turbines spin INTO it. If you pick a shot that looks great on one day – the turbines could be facing the opposite direction (even profile to your view) and will look vastly different on another day. The best view of course is when they face you.

th_Wind farm Petersburg sun cloud sprinkler IMG_1777 copy

Finally, as with any shoot, SAFETY should be paramount. While the wind farms are indeed mesmerizing, you should treat your shoot like any industrial environment. Weather, time of year, how close you’ll be working are all considerations. Also, have proper permissions. From the farmers to the owners of the turbines, please ask before you shoot. If you’re project has any value, I am confident they will be open and even interested in collaborating with you.

Be safe and (always) have fun.

* There are other arrays in the State. Google “Nebraska wind farms map” to find a list and the best one closest to you. Honestly, you will waste your time shooting at just one single or two (like near Lincoln) especially once you’ve seen a large array. If you are in Omaha, and are unable to travel to Petersburg or others, there is a large array in Iowa near Walnut – which is only about 30 minutes from downtown.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Commercials shot in Nebraska

NATIONAL

There are plenty of television commercials shot in Nebraska.  They are primarily how those of us who do this for a living make our living.  Most are local and regional but there have been national spots.  If you’re curious about coming here to shoot, please reach out for Q & A.   Professional intel gladly shared.

Garmin Asus G60.  Partially shot in Alliance, Nebraska at Carhenge.  Here’s a case where filmmaking meets tourism. 

E-Z-GO 2Five.  A local Nebraska production company partnered with a local ad agency to shoot an out-of-State based product.  They brought the vehicles here and it was shot in Bellevue, Omaha, and Ashland Nebraska. 

Prilosec OTC. Three have been shot here over the past few years.  Scenes shot in Lincoln, Springfield, and Omaha.  Out of town Producers collaborated with local crew.

If you’re a local production company and you have a national spot to post here – send an email.

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