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Old July 8th, 2004, 12:40 PM   #1
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How to Get a Hospital as a Location for Shooting? (or shoot somewhere lookin alike)

For my next film project I wil be needing to shoot major parts of the film within a hospital environment. Or, at least places that I could make look like hospital environments. Since no part of my house or any part of any friend's that I know of looks anything like a hospital, I find myself attempting to think of ways to do this.

One way that I have thought of is to actually rent out a hospital room, which would be horrendously expensive. Another way, that wouldn't work, is to set up a blue screen next to a rented hospital bed and shoot background footage to key in. That wouldn't work out too well I think. One more that I have thought of is to paint a wall of my basement white or put some kind of hard posterboard against it to make it look like a hospital room, and put in a rented hospital bed and other equipment. One of my friends, hovever, has a mom that works in a hospital, and I was thinking maybe we could pull a few strings and get some supervisor to let us use one if we gave him enough $$.

It gets worse, because the idea that I have in my mind is that there will actually be two hospitals involved in the film, one earlier in time and the other later. This will probably have me saving up even more cash. Any ideas? Imput is appreciated by the way.

Thanks,

Corey C.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 12:47 PM   #2
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Corey,

You don't mention how many pages you need to shoot in these rooms. Are we talking a few shots, or the entire movie? Minutes or hours? If it's a few minutes, you might be able to grab a suitable room from a "Stop and Doc". These are the emergency room type clinics that are not affiliated with a hospital.

If you need access for hours at a time, with lights and crew coming and going, your best bet is to build a set. This way you have complete access and controll. Medical rentals is one way to get the gear you need, but don't rule out thrift stores. You can find lots of "medical" stuff at thrift stores that will help sell the illusion. Blood pressure cuffs, bed pans, respiratory therapy machines, wheelchairs... you get the idea. Another way to do it is to go to a medical supplier/REPAIR shop in your area. Often they will have dead machines that they will loan you to set in the background. (They've been gutted for spare parts).

Don't overlook school or church clinics, and college teaching facilities.

Finally, some motel rooms look like upscale hospital rooms, and rent for much cheaper.

Be creative, think from a different point of view.

Good luck.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 12:54 PM   #3
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Here in Vancouver there is a closed down mental institution that is used constantly as a jail, hospital, other institutional set that requires a standard layout and white walls. I know indie people who have rented out a few rooms for a shoot and it was inexpensive.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 12:57 PM   #4
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Thanks

Thanks for the quick reply!

Yeah, the hospital room will probably be used for about a good 40 minutes screen-time. So my best bet would either be building a set or using a hotel room, you suggest.

Thanks, I'll keep this stuff in mind.

Corey C.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 01:02 PM   #5
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Thanks Keith, I'm getting more replies than I can answer at one time!

Where in Vancouver is this mental institution? Is there any information on the net that I could research the hospital, see pictures, etc.? That would work well because the second location in my film is in fact a mental institution.

Thanks for the info,

Corey C.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 01:10 PM   #6
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Just ask, they will propably let you shoot in a real hospital for free. Helps if you are a film student.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 01:18 PM   #7
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Just look for any closed down, abandoned hopsitals/mental institutions. Also check out your local universitiy's medical/public health center. Claim to be a film student and ask for use of one of the rooms after hours, I did that at Rutgers and got use of a room for a week bewteen 11pm-4am (just close th shades, put a light outside facing in and it's daytime!). Or hire a local university student as a cheap PA and get him to do it for you legitimately.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 01:30 PM   #8
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Rest homes might be a better bet. They were for another film student who is working on a short.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 01:32 PM   #9
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good ideas!

Thanks, I'm seeing some great ideas here (and writing them all down). I am thinking that I should probably use an abandoned institution for exterior shots mostly, because a lot of those big old abandoned buildings look fantastic & dramatic from the outside, but will have stuff like asbestos & other dangerous/hazardous things inside. I imagine there are places in those that are halfway decent & able to clean up, but I don't know if it's worth the trouble of hiring a professional to walk us through the rooms to make sure we're safe. ($$$) (I can still reconsider this, though). Hovever, like I said in my first post, I do need two distinctly-different looking hospitals for my film. The first location, a regular hospital, I would like probably to look just like a regular hospital, and the second, the mental institution, I would like to look a little darker & menacing. I can aid myself in post and with camera filters here to give it some mood, but sghooting in a mental hospital that has been abandoned for 15 or so years would create a very exaggerated effect, which could be good, but possibly a little TOO exaggerated. Great ieas though thanks, I probably wouldn't have thought of these kinds of things otherwise!

Thanks,

Corey C.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 02:23 PM   #10
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Corey, the place is called Riverview or Essendale. I don't have a link for you but it was used in the X-Files and I'm sure other TV series. It's still up so I assume it is still being used.

You should look at a film called Session 9. It was shot on video on location in an abandoned mental asylum built in the 30s. What architecture!
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Old July 8th, 2004, 02:52 PM   #11
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I've done quite a bit of shooting in hospitals, and if you can get to the right person, it is feasible. The right person being the administrator or somebody on the board of directors. My experiences in trying to deal with the PR department have not been great. Small hospitals in smaller communities are the easiest, usually. I did an all night shoot for two nights at a hospital in Des Moines once. We had an emergency room all to ourselves for several hours. In a larger city, it is unlikely that an emergency room would stay empty for that long. Later on they gave us a room to shoot in, as well as a lounge area and a hallway or two.
Recently we did a half day shoot in a hospital room for a commercial training program. We knew the assistant administrator, and they didn't charge us anything. In most cases I've always had great cooperation from them (except for the PR departments).
It doesn't cost anything to ask.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 03:15 PM   #12
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riverview hospital

I have done some shoots in riverview hospital a couple years ago. It is a VERY spooky place, Some of the bottom levels are almost horror chamber feeling, very creepy late at night running power cords down the halls. We booked half a floor one year for over a month and it was quite reasonable. I think about $1000.00. I'll see if I can track down my budget sheets on that. They may even have a contact name on it for you. Regardless it's sort of on the boundary between Coquitlam and Newestminster if I remeber correct. It is used A LOT and when you go through it you'll see all kinds of different sets that people have built in there. I have been told that their fees have gone up quite a bit in the last little while. I'll see if I can find a contact name for you.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 06:12 PM   #13
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Thanks! That would be very helpful.

For someone that mentioned the film Session 9 earlier- Yeah, I'm familiar with that hospital. It's in Danvers, Massachusetts; yes- the arcitecture is quite a sight. I've never been there myself, but from the film I can tell that the place is obviously HUGE. That's one place I definetly wouldn't want to get lost in.

Thanks again everybody else that added to the input- big help. I'll try to do some Internet research on that Riverview Hospital.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 08:11 PM   #14
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Riverview Hospital

I've been looking on the internet for information about Riverview Hospital, and have found a few things. One thing that I have found out about the hospital is that it has been used in numerous films. I think that I would really like to consider going there and shooting my stuff inside. The page, to my understanding, also said that there are a lot of security people there, which is good. Did you see this Adrian?

What are some kinds of obstacles that you encountered during your shooting when you were there? And if I go there, What kinds of special video supplies should I bring? (I saw that in your earlier post that you mentioned running cords down hallways. This means that I should bring... really long cords?)

I would appreaciate it if you were able to get a hold of some contact information. if you do find some, my e mail address is:

ccook@up.net

Thanks,

Corey C.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 09:40 PM   #15
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I put in a week on "Session 9" and I'll tell ya--you DEFINITELY don't want to get lost in there--it's beyond creepy. Let's just say they didn't need to do much production design work. Many of those rooms and weird murals were found just like they appear in the film.

Not to say that regular old hospitals aren't a creepshow either--I personally never saw or heard anything odd during my two years in the decommissioned North Hollywood Hospital while on "Scrubs", but the security guards have many spine-chilling stories from the night watch after the noise and commotion of the shooting crew have gone home, including hearing phantom guerneys rolling along upstairs hallways, and a woman screaming (heard by three separate guards in different parts of the hospital grounds). Yikes!

(before you ask--I can't get you in to shoot on the "Scrubs" set on the weekends, my apologies!)
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