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I'm working on a screenplay that features a scene in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Specifically, the hero and heroine are shown walking around the capital's "Casa Rosa" (Pink House), which is the Argentine equivalent of America's White House.

Suppose this screenplay were made into a movie. How would a producer choose between constructing and filming a "mock up" of the Casa Rosa here in the U.S., or filming "on location" in Argentina?

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There are many factors:

  • whether the Argentinian government would allow filming to occur there
  • availability of that location at the necessary times, and for the length of times needed
  • weather conditions (rain, fog, sunshine, etc.) of the location and whether that matches the script's requirements
  • cost of permits to film there
  • cost and difficulty of transporting cast and crew, and/or availability of local crew
  • the director's vision, since some directors believe authenticity is essential to tell a story

Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is also a cost-effective way to shoot scenes that appear to be in a specific location. Actors can be filmed in front of a green screen or a blue screen in a sound stage, and the environment can be added later. Sometimes part of the set is built for the actors to interact with, and part of the set is just a green screen (or blue screen). The green or blue screens will be replaced after shooting with what appears to be the rest of the location. In the image below, the actors are standing on concrete street, but in the finished film the green sections will have been replaced with city streets and skyscrapers.

enter image description here

  • Good, upvoted answer. But what is CGI? Could you define or provide a link to it? – Tom Au Apr 29 '15 at 19:14
  • I'll edit the question. Thanks for asking! – BrettFromLA Apr 29 '15 at 20:06
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    Additionally, sometimes you just can't get a location that matches the director's vision of the scene, and either an alternate location or CGI is needed to bring that vision to life. – Johnny Bones Apr 29 '15 at 20:11

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