04 Oct The Luminary Top 5: Best Miami Film Locations
#5: CORAL GABLES
One of the oldest remaining neighborhoods –ahem, cities– in Miami belongs on a list of the best places to shoot. “The Gables” is also where our Miami video production company of visual aficionados calls home, so it has a special place in our hearts. It’s centerpiece, Miracle Mile, is busy all day long as local businesses and residents shop and dine along among an inviting mixture of high end shops and well-known franchises. What sets Coral Gables apart is the city’s determination to keep it’s aesthetic and architecture both nostalgic and modern — urban and tropical.
Beyond the mile, the real treat lies in the shady (actually, shady) residential alcoves and parks nestled between all its confusing and un-numbered roads. So get lost in Coral Gables and you may stumble upon a majestic 100 year old tree, a breathtaking garden, or an old Spanish fountain. Coral Gables residents are friendly but also enjoy their peace and quiet so film ordinance can be a bit strict, therefore film at your own risk. We would recommend obtaining a permit for any shoot involving more than two bodies.
#4: VIRGINIA KEY & KEY BISCAYNE
A quick and scenic drive from Coconut Grove or Brickell lies Virginia Key — or better known to you — “that place before Key Biscayne where the Rusty Pelican is, right?”. Unlike Miami Beach, Virginia Key is so close to mainland Miami you can almost touch it. Turning around and looking at the Downtown and Brickell skyline from the north side of Virginia Key will render the most fantastic views of the Magic City by Night that you can imagine. During the day, it’s beaches are calm and clean, filled with visitors kayaking, paddleboarding, and kitesurfing — making Virginia Key a breeze to shoot a scene at the beach with plenty of production value.
A bit further out at Crandon Park you’ll find a park with gazebos, picnic areas and more watersports. The long and winding Crandon Blvd is perfect for shooting bikers as the bike lanes are wide and clearly marked in green unlike any other place in Miami. Suggested times are weekdays when Virginia Key parking is metered and the Crandon Park North and South Beaches are only $5. Bonus: although not necessarily open to the public, if you’re lucky you may get a chance at sneaking into the long-defunct Marine Stadium, an empty and now graffiti-riddled stadium facing the water and Downtown Miami with spectacular views and including the stadium itself.
#3: LITTLE HAVANA
A rarity in Miami as a liveable, shoppable, and walkable neighborhood that represents the strong Latino –and historically Cuban– influence on Miami, Little Havana is an often over-looked gem in City of Miami. Small businesses, Domino Park, Tower Theater, ornate roosters, memorials, and characters galore, shooting on Calle Ocho is an adventure in and of itself, but you will find the personable small business owners more than happy to let you shoot outside their storefronts.
If you’re looking for a throwback to mid-century Miami and the remains of the Cuban diaspora, look no further. Even better, the City of Miami (where Little Havana is located) has some pretty lenient filming ordinances and one can technically shoot on any public land so long as you are not obstructing a walkway. Midday tourists and weekend locals keep the strip lively. If you’re looking for a less crowded time of day, try the early morning before anyone has had their cafecito, or weeknights when the shops and restaurants close early.
It seems you can’t take a casual stroll or drive through Wynwood these days without coming across a camera crew somewhere. Photographers and video production companies in Miami alike are drawn to Wynwood for its vibrant murals and other such public artworks. For a Miami video company, this is the mecca for “run and gun” shoots. If there is a square foot of plain concrete peeking out between NE 24th and 28th Streets between North Miami Ave and NE 4th Ave, you better believe someone will find a way to paint over it. This works out fabulously for Miami video production companies looking for production value and urban exteriors:
point and shoot just about anywhere in Wynwood and you get just that. In fact, our award-winning short “Miami: The Extra Sense” (2015 Greater Miami Convention Center and Visitor’s Bureau) aligned the trendy neighborhood with the sense of sight. Undoubtedly, the former warehouse district stands out for its colorful modernity and avant garde flare in a city most often recognized for its palm trees and beaches. Parking is amply available (and lightly enforced!) during the day, when the art is most visible and the streets are less crowded, making it ideal for daytime shooting on the fly.
The best place to do just that is in rural Redland (commonly refered to as The Redlands) near the city of Homestead. Miami is great and all but sometimes you don’t want anyone to know that’s where you are. Let’s be honest, sometimes Miami sticks out like a sore thumb in the background. One palm tree, green and white street sign, or Mission Revival style home and you’re just not going to be in “Kansas” anymore. Thankfully, short of snow, you can recreate a lot of the US, South America, and the Caribbean without leaving Miami-Dade County.
Farms, fields, long lonely roads, and old Southern plantation architecture will surprise even the Miami born-and-raised. Redland is sprawling and some parts are quite desolate, but beware, what you think is an open field is probably private property so do your research. As any rural area, lighting is poor so if you plan on shooting at night, bring your best and brightest light kit. This is a best kept secret to Miami video production companies, until now, of course. You’re welcome! And sorry…