Roads.  Of the top ten of locations I have scouted, roads are certainly on the list.   Aside from needing them in our practical lives every day, what is it about a long road that seems to drift off in the distance or stripe across the landscape?  Is it the life metaphor of travel or the one-mile-at-time?  Well, depending on what you want, crossroads, long road, dirt, asphalt, even brick – there are many of these shots in Nebraska.

Here are some things to think about when searching for or shooting on roads:

  • Safety, safety, safety.  Don’t be afraid to inform the local law enforcement of your presence.  In most cases (at least out here) they want to help with traffic control.
  • Shut it down.  Get a county or city permit, rent some barricades, and block the road for the time you’ll be on it.  This is safer for your crew and cast and easier to work.  And post PAs or law enforcement at the barricades.  Locals & the press will not see the biggest brightest blinking Road Closed sign.
  • While your favorite road might be cool and straight off the storyboard or layout – remember the basics of logistics.  Parking, restrooms, staging, lunch, traffic, safety, and hiding the crew and vehicles from the shot.

    Dirt & stone surface. One lane tunnel. LOW CLEARANCE.
  • If you are doing traveling shots using picture cars, you might consider paved vs. dirt.  Firstly, the bumps in the road will shake the camera.  Dry dirt roads are very dusty.  Even if you’re shooting near a dirt road you could end up waiting a while for the dust to settle before shooting another take.  Also, when you add water it does knock down the dust.  But too much water (or heavy rain) will make mud.
Asphalt crossroads.
  • Watch your background.  It’s a challenge these days finding that long road with no wires or cell towers.  Yeah, yeah yeah.  If a photograph you can do that PS thing.


Dirt road. Hill to the sky.
Dirt, stone, dry, dusty. But cool.

Photos and words COPYRIGHT Jamie Vesay   ANY USE requires permission.

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