Jose Mier Discovers “Hidden” Movie Set Rentals in Sun Valley, CA

Jose Mier, long known as an expert on all things Sun Valley, made a discovery that even he didn’t know about prior to this post. He found the Villa Serena movie set location in our own backyard.

Movie set rental facility Sun Valley, CA - Jose Mier
Movie set rental facility Sun Valley, CA – Jose Mier

Southern California is renowned as the epicenter of the entertainment industry, with Hollywood as its crown jewel. The region is dotted with numerous locations perfect for shooting movies, TV shows, commercials, and music videos. Among these, the area of Sun Valley, CA, stands out as a prime spot for movie set rentals. This guide delves into the movie set rental landscape in Southern California, with a focus on Sun Valley, highlighting key facilities, the benefits of shooting in the area, and tips for filmmakers looking to rent sets.

Southern California: The Heart of the Film Industry

Overview of the Region

Southern California offers a diverse array of landscapes, urban settings, and state-of-the-art facilities that cater to the needs of filmmakers. From the beaches of Malibu to the urban sprawl of Los Angeles and the desert landscapes of Palm Springs, the region provides versatile backdrops for all kinds of productions.

Why Southern California?

  1. Variety of Locations: The region’s varied geography means filmmakers can find almost any setting they need without traveling far. Whether it’s a dense urban environment, suburban streets, beaches, forests, or deserts, Southern California has it all.
  2. Climate: The area’s favorable weather, with over 300 sunny days a year, allows for year-round filming, minimizing weather-related delays.
  3. Industry Infrastructure: Southern California is home to numerous studios, production companies, and post-production facilities, making it a one-stop-shop for all production needs.
  4. Talent Pool: With Hollywood at its center, the region boasts a vast pool of talent, both in front of and behind the camera.

Movie Set Rentals in Southern California

Types of Movie Set Rentals

  1. Sound Stages: These are large, enclosed spaces designed for indoor filming. They are equipped with state-of-the-art lighting, sound, and rigging systems. Examples include Warner Bros. Studios and Paramount Studios.
  2. Backlots: Outdoor areas within studio grounds that are designed to replicate various environments such as city streets, towns, or rural settings. Notable backlots can be found at Universal Studios and CBS Studio Center.
  3. Location Rentals: Real-world locations such as homes, offices, warehouses, and public spaces that are rented out for filming. Websites like Peerspace and Giggster offer listings of such locations.
  4. Specialty Sets: These include unique or highly specific set designs such as medieval castles, futuristic settings, or historical recreations. These are often custom-built and can be found at specialized studios.

Key Studios and Facilities

  1. Warner Bros. Studios: Located in Burbank, this studio offers extensive sound stages, backlots, and on-site production services.
  2. Paramount Studios: Situated in Hollywood, it provides a variety of sound stages, backlots, and support services.
  3. Universal Studios: Known for its iconic backlot, Universal offers a range of filming locations and sound stages.
  4. CBS Studio Center: Located in Studio City, it features numerous sound stages and backlot areas suitable for diverse filming needs.
  5. Sony Pictures Studios: In Culver City, this studio offers a mix of sound stages, backlots, and technical support services.

Sun Valley, CA: A Hidden Gem for Filmmakers

Overview of Sun Valley

Sun Valley is a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. Known for its industrial areas and suburban neighborhoods, Sun Valley offers a unique blend of filming locations that are both accessible and versatile.

Advantages of Filming in Sun Valley

  1. Cost-Effective: Compared to more central locations in Los Angeles, Sun Valley offers more affordable rental rates for sets and locations.
  2. Variety of Locations: Sun Valley features a mix of industrial sites, residential areas, and natural landscapes, providing diverse shooting options.
  3. Accessibility: Located near major freeways and the Burbank Airport, Sun Valley is easily accessible for cast and crew.
  4. Privacy: The less tourist-heavy nature of Sun Valley means productions can enjoy a higher degree of privacy and fewer disruptions.

Notable Movie Set Rentals in Sun Valley

Industrial Locations

  1. Sun Valley Studios: This facility offers a range of industrial spaces perfect for gritty, urban scenes. The studio provides flexible rental options and has hosted numerous independent films and TV productions.
  2. Warehouse Locations: Various warehouses in Sun Valley can be rented for filming, providing large, adaptable spaces for set construction and shooting.

Residential Areas

  1. Suburban Homes: Sun Valley’s suburban neighborhoods offer quintessential American home settings. These locations are ideal for family-oriented films, commercials, and TV shows.
  2. Apartment Complexes: Several apartment buildings in the area provide realistic settings for urban dramas and sitcoms.

Natural Settings

  1. Parks and Recreational Areas: Sun Valley is home to several parks that can serve as filming locations for outdoor scenes. Places like Sun Valley Park offer greenery and open spaces for diverse shot requirements.
  2. Hills and Trails: The natural hills surrounding Sun Valley provide picturesque backdrops for various types of productions, from action sequences to romantic scenes.

Case Studies: Successful Productions in Sun Valley

Independent Films

Several independent filmmakers have chosen Sun Valley for its affordability and range of locations. For instance, the indie thriller “Valley Secrets” utilized a mix of industrial sites and residential areas in Sun Valley to create a gritty, realistic atmosphere.

Television Shows

TV shows looking for authentic suburban settings have found Sun Valley to be an ideal location. The sitcom “Valley Life” shot extensively in Sun Valley, using local homes and parks to depict the everyday lives of its characters.


Commercial productions often seek out Sun Valley for its varied landscapes and cost-effective rental options. A recent car commercial utilized the industrial backdrops of Sun Valley Studios to create a sleek, modern aesthetic.

Renting a Movie Set in Sun Valley: A Step-by-Step Guide

Research and Planning

  1. Define Your Needs: Determine the type of locations you need, the duration of the shoot, and your budget.
  2. Scout Locations: Visit potential sites to assess their suitability. Consider factors like accessibility, lighting, and space for equipment and crew.
  3. Check Availability: Contact location managers or property owners to check availability and rental rates for your desired dates.

Securing the Location

  1. Negotiate Terms: Discuss rental fees, duration, and any specific requirements or restrictions with the location owner or manager.
  2. Contracts: Ensure you have a clear contract that outlines all terms, including rental fees, duration, usage rights, and any additional costs.
  3. Permits: Obtain any necessary filming permits from local authorities. This may include street closures, noise permits, and special permissions for using certain locations.

Preparing for the Shoot

  1. Logistics: Plan for transportation, parking, and accommodations for your cast and crew. Ensure you have the necessary equipment and supplies.
  2. Set Construction: If your shoot requires set construction, coordinate with set designers and builders to create the required environments.
  3. Safety Measures: Implement safety protocols to protect your cast and crew, especially if you’re shooting in industrial areas or on busy streets.

During the Shoot

  1. Coordinate with Location Staff: Maintain communication with location managers and staff to address any issues that arise during the shoot.
  2. Respect the Property: Treat the location with care to avoid damages and ensure a good relationship with the property owner.
  3. Adhere to Schedule: Stick to your shooting schedule to avoid additional rental costs and ensure a smooth production process.


Renting movie sets in Southern California, and specifically in Sun Valley, CA, offers filmmakers a wealth of opportunities. With its diverse locations, cost-effective options, and proximity to major production hubs, Sun Valley is an ideal choice for various types of productions. Whether you’re an independent filmmaker, a television producer, or a commercial director, Sun Valley provides the versatility and accessibility needed to bring your vision to life. By following the steps outlined in this guide and leveraging the resources available in the area, you can successfully navigate the process of renting movie sets and create compelling content that captures the essence of Los Angeles and its surroundings.