Sonoma is a lovely little city with plenty of character. It's part of Northern California's Sonoma County wine region, making it a prime destination for visitors who appreciate the art of winemaking and tasting.
But it has more to offer than just excellent wine; among its attractions are exciting film locations that have been used across various productions over the years. In addition to its rolling landscapes, Sonoma also offers unique historical sites and buildings. Filmmakers have found the flowers, vineyards, and stunning replicas of old-world European buildings make for picturesque backdrops and ingenious shooting locations.
An interesting fact about Sonoma is that the city was once known by two different names, sometimes referred to in records as Sebastopol until 1889 when it was renamed Sonoma—which allegedly stems from "Sonomat," an indigenous Wappo word meaning “nose” or “eye”!
Film Shoot Location Options in Sonoma
Sonoma’s intricate architecture, diversified population, natural beauty, and abundance of options eager to serve the industry makes it a perfect destination for a film shoot. Multiple options complement the industry, making a Sonoma film shoot location a perfect idea.
Experience quality handcrafted beverages in Sonoma. Sonoma has famous spots to enjoy beers, ciders, and wines. With many wineries in Sonoma, you will always enjoy a perfect craft beverage experience during your stay.
- Equipment Rental
Utilize distinctive equipment to transform your space. In Sonoma, it is simple to find reliable equipment rentals to work with, making it possible to obtain personalized decor. Many equipment rental solutions offer styles to meet the needs of your space and give it a spectacular touch.
Flowers provide spaces with a great appearance and aesthetic value. Work with a Sonoma florist to customize your room to match the event. There are numerous florists in the city that you can choose from.
Film Shoot Vendors in Sonoma
The films shoot locations in Sonoma are numerous as are the reputable companies that offer reliable services in the industry. They are companies to work with for your projects and represent several options to suit your needs.
- Taylor Lane Organic Coffee
Taylor Lane Organic Coffee is a beverage company that offers organic coffees and drinks in Sonoma. Taylor Lane offers a wide selection of single origin, fair trade, and locally roasted organic coffees along with branded goods and gift cards. The company also offers pour-overs, premium teas, handcrafted espresso drinks, and more. It is one of the leading beverage companies in Sonoma. Taylor Lane Organic Coffee offers the community free Wi-Fi and warm wood décor inside. For more than eight years, Taylor Lane has remained committed to manufacturing beverages using environmentally friendly techniques without compromising quality.
- Spring Flowers
Spring Flowers is a full-service florist company specializing in a wide selection of flower delivery in Sonoma for over 10 years. This locally owned florist shop offers floral arrangements for different occasions, including weddings and corporate events. It offers a large inventory of fresh flowers in diverse styles and arrangements. The company also offers tips and tricks to help keep your flowers fresh. Their floral arrangements are made with quality and the freshest flowers available in the city.
- Aaction Rents
Aaction Rents is an equipment rental company in Sonoma with more than six locations across Northern California. For more than 10 years, the company has been the largest equipment provider offering a wide selection of quality equipment to meet the equipment needs of people. The staff is fully knowledgeable and equipped. They also offer flexible times to ensure that clients enjoy the best of their money.
Pros and Cons of Film Shoots in Sonoma
Now that you're familiar with some of the options available to you in Sonoma, it's time to weigh the pros and cons of each option. This will help you make the best decision for your film shoot.
- Sonoma has a warm Mediterranean climate with mild winters and dry summers, which allows for more flexibility when scheduling shoots.
- It's conveniently located just north of San Francisco and has easy access to major production studios in the Bay Area.
- Sonoma County is home to numerous well-equipped film production facilities, such as post-production houses, sound stages, and editing bays.
- Its wide variety of historic buildings allows for period piece productions to come alive with authentic locations.
- The area's diverse topography provides options for all types of projects with everything from forests to lakes to mountains within driving distance
- As a popular tourist destination, it can be difficult to secure access to certain locations due to the high demand from visitors during peak seasons.
- The cost associated with filming in Sonoma is relatively high due to the area's popularity amongst filmmakers and tourists alike.
- With an abundance of scenic views comes an overabundance of filmmakers vying to capture them; this means that certain areas may be overcrowded or overly saturated with productions already underway.
- While there are many qualified production specialists available in the area, there may not always be enough resources to meet everyone’s needs on a tight timeline.
- The unpredictable weather patterns can cause unexpected delays or have adverse effects on shooting schedules when rain or fog rolls in unexpectedly.
Tips on How to Organize Film Shoot Locations in Sonoma
When it comes to organizing your film shoot locations in Sonoma, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
- Check the laws: Familiarize yourself with all relevant laws, ordinances, and permits related to shooting in Sonoma. Make sure that you are aware of all relevant regulations so that you can avoid any potential fines or other consequences.
- Make a schedule: Create a detailed timeline for the shoot, including setup times, breaks, and wrap times. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there is plenty of time to get the shots you need without cutting corners.
- Book an experienced local crew if available: Locals will be familiar with the terrain, have possible contacts and connections, as well as know all of the nuances when it comes to filming in Sonoma.
- Secure proper insurance coverage prior to beginning filming in Sonoma: Make sure that your team has adequate coverage for any potential problems that could arise during shooting.
- Bring enough stuff: Bring enough production equipment including lights, cameras, sound equipment, and other necessary items needed for a successful shoot. Packing extra batteries is also a great idea just in case some get drained due to long shooting days or hot temperatures in Sonoma County.
- Arrange for transport: Arrange transportation options for cast and crew members if traveling away from the home base during filming days (rental cars/vans/buses). Having reliable transportation can save time and money while ensuring everyone remains safe while en route from one location to another in Sonoma County.
- Supply water: Make sure that everyone involved has access to clean drinking water during filming days outdoors due to high temperatures often experienced throughout much of Sonoma County during the summer months.
- Have a Plan B: Have contingency plans set up prior to beginning work just in case something goes wrong while shooting (i.e., bad weather conditions) or unexpected delays occur due to traffic issues, etc… It’s always better to be over-prepared than underprepared when it comes to setting up a film shoot!
Famous Locations in Sonoma
- Downtown Sonoma
Downtown Sonoma is a famous place to visit in Sonoma. It offers an incredible spot to locate adorable stores and exquisite cuisine. There is a charming courthouse, numerous parks with green lawns, and benches ideal for people-watching. Downtown features terrific playgrounds for kids to enjoy Ferris Wheel and classic train rides. Visitors can also explore festivals, restaurants, and diners in Downtown Sonoma.
- Cornerstone Sonoma
Cornerstone is famous for the wide experiences it offers to its visitors. It features two large wine-tasting rooms, a market, and exquisite restaurants that offer seasonal ingredient menus. Cornerstone Sonoma also has exotic gardens that offer creative designs from local and international artists. The gardens are landscape designed and remain one of the beautiful features of Cornerstone Sonoma. It features “White Cloud,” a section where the shape of a cumulus cloud is formed through the fragment of oyster shells.
- Sonoma Wine Valley Trolley
Sonoma Wine Valley Trolley is a famous tour agency that offers wine tours with a streetcar. Wine tours in Sonoma feature a designated driver to allow visitors to enjoy a scenic view. Sonoma Wine Valley Trolley offers a wide selection of wine and a wine-tasting experience. Visitors are offered a wine-tasting adventure throughout the whole Sonoma Wine Country.