Even by Texas standards, “Dallas” is huge! In fact, the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington Metropolitan Statistical Area, AKA “The Dallas Metroplex,” encompasses over 9,000 square miles of land and water, making it larger in size than the states of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined. And with a population of over 1.2 million people, Dallas is the 9thlargest city in the country. But don’t let Dallas’ size fool you.
Within its Metroplex lies a plethora of largely untapped film locations and facilities that are easy to access and video production friendly. The Dallas Film Commission provides location support and services for production companies like Blare Media, and the variety of unique film locations makes the Dallas Metroplex a desirable workspace for cinematographers and budget-minded producers alike.
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One area of Dallas offering filmmakers a quirky visual appeal is Deep Ellum: One of Dallas’ first commercial districts for African-Americans and European immigrants during the 19thCentury, Deep Ellum is one of the most historically significant neighborhoods in the city. Deep Ellum rose to prominence during the 1920s, becoming a hotbed for early jazz and blues musicians. Over the next several decades, Deep Ellum would host the likes of Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter, Texas Bill Day, Blind Willie Johnson, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Bessie Smith, among others.
Dallas is still home to great music with artists such as Usher, Selena Gomez, The Dixie Chicks and Kelly Clarkson, all getting their launch from Dallas, making Dallas an important cultural center still. And speaking of culture, Dallas is not only a music center but the Metroplex also hosts over 20 different film festivals. But perhaps the two biggest factors that make Dallas so production friendly are its range of film locations and production facilities and services. Need a giant pool in the shape of Texas? You’ll find it in Dallas. Looking for a 55’ tall cowboy to round out your production? Then look for “Big Tex” looming over the Texas State Fair in Fair Park. Not only is Dallas home to such Texas icons but it also offers production crews like Blare Media a good deal more down to earth attractions. For example, in the historic Western Heights Cemetery you’ll find the final resting place of famed outlaw and late lover of Bonnie Parker of Bonnie and Clyde fame, Clyde Barrow.
Clearly, there’s a lot of history in Dallas and the abundance of historical locations make the city and its surrounding areas worthy of a video producer’s interest. Take the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture: Once a stately courthouse, its gothic style screams horror. Another iconic Texas location is Pioneer Plaza with its herd of life-sized bronze longhorns and a cowboy riding hard through a downtown park.
Within a few miles of downtown Dallas are several western towns; Storybook Ranch, Beaumont Ranch, and Diamond W Ranch, all perfect sites for film and video production. And there’s Southfork Ranch, JR’s familiar and iconic Texas spread made famous by the Dallas TV series. If you’re looking for a live steam locomotive pulling an old time train, then set your sights on the Texas State Railroad in nearby Rusk.
But Dallas’ appeal goes well beyond its western past. Consider City Place Station for a contemporary light rail stop on the modern DART line, or the GeO-Deck Reunion Tower looming high over the Dallas’ dramatic and iconic skyline. The list of working video and film locations goes on and on but sometime you simply need a sound stage to produce scenes with specific interiors. Once again, Dallas doesn’t disappoint.
Blare Media enjoys access to a number of modern and convenient stages from AMP Studios’ pre-lit 4,000 sq. ft. sound-treated studio to Ideaman Studios, just west of downtown in the heart of the design district. For example, Ideaman boasts a white cyc, a green screen, film studios, dressing rooms, a conference room, and production offices. And the Dallas Film Commission also helps Blare Media with a range of production services, from armorers to prop weapons rentals to food stylists to costume makers. Dallas also provides Blare Media with all the cameras, lenses and equipment rentals and expendables we would ever need for any production. But after a long day or week of filming great scenes in great locations and facilities, it might be time to cut loose. You can always kick up your heels at Gilley’s Dallas on South Lamar Street or, if you’re hungry, head out for some of the best tasting BBQ this side of the Pecos. Hutchins, Slo Bone and Cattleack BBQ are three hometown Texas BBQ favorites. Or if your taste is more in line with Kansas City BBQ, Dallas is also home to 18th & Vine BBQ where pit master Matt Dallman and award-winning chef Scott Gottlich have developed a unique menu in a casual and casually chic environment where you can sip craft cocktails and eat ribs with your hands.
Dallas and its surrounding Metroplex provide Blare Media and our clients with more video production locations and services than you can shake a stick at.
Other Dallas points of Interest:
- Dallas Samurai Collection – Suits of Armor – T5
- Old City Park (Victorian)
- The Historic Texas Pool in Plano
- Western Heights Cemetery (Clyde Barrow’s grave)
- Underground Railroad Tunnels (bootleggers)
Other film locations from Dallas Film Commission website:
- Dallas skyline (day and night)
- Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge (iconic suspension)
- Fountain Place building (cubist)
- Giant Eye Sculpture (1601 Main Street)
- McKinney Avenue Trolley
- White Rock Lake
- Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
- Texas Star Ferris Wheel, located at Fair Park
- Traveling Man sculpture – Deep Ellum
- Pegasus Plaza
- Anvil Pub
- Bishop Arts area of Oak Cliff
- Texas Theatre
- Villas of Ovilla
- Wax Space
- Dos Equis Pavilion at Fair Park
- Post Uptown Village (tree lined street)
- Black Diamond Farm
- Dallas Executive Airport
- Alexander Mansion (stately, period interior)
- Six Flags over Texas
- Jesse Owens Memorial Sports Complex
- Dawson State Jail (industrial kitchen)
- Adriatica in McKinney
- Dallas Hunting & Fishing Club
- MPS Studios – Overall
- Cavanaugh Flight Museum (Spitfires, Mustangs and more)
- Ervay Apartments (1930’s former Post Office & Courthouse)
- Penn Farm – Cedar Hill State Park
- Frontiers of Flight
- Dallas Arboretum & Botanical
- Squash Blossom Studios
- MKT Train Depot (AKA Waxahachie)
- Belmont Hotel (art deco)
- Wild Bill’s Western Wear
- Mustangs of Las Colinas (Irving)
- Lynn Creek Marina (Grand Prairie)
- Tucker Hill Neighborhood (beautiful, upscale)
- Heritage Village – Old City Park
- Texas Museum of Automotive History
- Plano Balloon Festival (September)
- Inwood Theater (art deco)