Video and Digital Producer’s Guide to Shooting in Columbia, SC

Everything you ever wanted to know about shooting video in Columbia.

Craig Goodale – Director of Photography – Columbia, South Carolina – Go To Team

Prior to arriving in a new city, every producer needs the lay of the land. This guide explores everything about Columbia, SC that producers need to know.

Population: 819,200

Nicknames: Cola Town and Soda City

Founded: 1786

Industries: Healthcare, Education, and Defense

Columbia is located right in the middle of South Carolina. As its capital, it has many historic landmarks and attractions located downtown. Columbia is known as the home of the University of South Carolina. It was rated 107 in Best Colleges in the National Universities Survey. The college is located right in the heart of the city and college students are the main demographic living in Columbia. It has a big-city feel but still remains a small southern town with aesthetics to please everyone.

Things to do while in Columbia will include college activities with the Gamecocks, but the city still offers many attractions for non-college goers such as the Riverbanks Zoo, Columbia Canal & River, the South Carolina State House, and many museums. In fact, Columbia is home to the largest children’s museum in the south, EdVenture. There are concerts available throughout the city; most are located in the Colonial Life Arena. Their most popular festival is the St. Patty’s Five Points Festival which is during the weekend of every St. Patty’s Day. Their sports teams include all of USC Gamecocks sports teams. They recently got their own minor league baseball team the Columbia Fireflies.

Columbia provides many opportunities for higher education at the University of South Carolina, Columbia College, South Carolina State, and Midlands Technical College.

Once you’ve decided to shoot in Columbia there’s plenty you should know:

Where to Stay

Most of the hotels located in Columbia will be decently priced and in a great location from everything, including the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. Some options include Hilton Garden, Hampton Inn, and Staybridge. They all are located walking distance from downtown and transportation services.

Location & Drive Times

Attractions located in Columbia will mostly be a 10-15 min drive, all which are accessible by car with parking. They do have a public bus system as well with stops all throughout the city. Along with most cities, especially with it being a college town, Uber and Lyft are available all hours of the day.


Columbia offers a local bus system with plenty of stops throughout the city. Uber and Lyft are also all throughout the city all hours of the day. Driving your own car or rental is also convenient since Columbia is not too big and parking is not too hard to find.


Like most of South Carolina, the climate of Columbia has a wide range with lows of 33 degrees in January and highs of 97 degrees in July. Snow isn’t expected during the winter months but it has gotten some snowfall in the past but only about two inches. Rain is common and flooding tends to be an issue, but luckily with technology nowadays, you will be notified if the weather will affect your shoot. Click HERE for the 10-day forecast of Columbia, SC.

Production Guidelines

Crews across the country have a set of guidelines by which they conduct business. And as different as each city is from another, so are those guidelines. Every producer should have a basic understanding of each city’s standards. Shoots in Columbia are based on a ten hour day and the crew is on the clock at the specified crew call. Overtime at a rate of time and a half begins after ten hours. If your shoot takes the crew to a distant location, travel time can be expected. A distant location is any location outside a circle with a 30-mile radius drawn around the city. But all of these are just guidelines; certainly, verify with your crew their specific policies.

Chamber of Commerce

If you have additional questions about Columbia you can always contact the city’s Chamber of Commerce.

SC Chamber of Commerce

1301 Gervais St. #1100

Columbia, SC 29201

Booking the Right Crew

But even with the perfect location, the best-laid plans, and great weather, so much depends on the right crew. Booking the right crew means finding a crew that not only gets the job done, but does whatever it takes to ensure you have the best shoot. Are you conducting a series of interviews that require dramatic lighting? Are you going to be “Run and Gun” around the city? Is your shoot going to require any specific equipment? Finding a crew that can handle every one of your needs is just as important as lining up all of the interviews and creating your shot list.

For more information on booking your camera crew, see: “Everything you ever wanted to know about booking a video crew.”

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