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10 Tips for Shooting Video in Berlin

Posted by Kim Moseman on April 29, 2019

Berlin is Germany’s capital city and dates all the way back to the 13th century. Reminders of the city’s turbulent 20th-century are prevalent and include a Holocaust memorial and the Berlin Wall’s remains. Today Berlin is known for its art scene and modern landmarks. But what do you need to know before shooting video in this city? We talked to Crews Control DP Axel Goppelt about the top 10 tips for shooting corporate video in Berlin.

1.Permits: Whether or not you need a permit depends on the type of shoot. “No permission required for Eng-style work like interviews, walk and talk, b-roll shooting,” Goppelt said. “Larger productions with big trucks and gear need permission from the local authorities.” Making the applications in German is recommended and you can find more information about obtaining a permit here.

2. Language: You will definitely want to brush up on your German before visiting this city. “Most people speak at least a little English,” Goppelt said. “There is English speaking staff in most of the shops, hotels and restaurants, and many Turkish, Russian and Polish speaking people live here as well.” Some common phrases that may help you include:

“Hastn Problem damit wenn wa dir filmen?”: Do you mind if we film you?

“Tschuldigung, wir drehen hier, kannste ma vafatzen?”: Excuse me we are filming, could you please move out of our shot?

“Wo isn die nächste Kneipe hia?”: Where is the nearest bar?

3. Brandenburg Gate: This major landmark is an 18th century neoclassical monument that came to symbolize a divided Germany from 1961 to 1989. As the Berlin Wall cut off access to the gate for both East and West Germans, it also served as a backdrop to President Ronald Reagan’s famous 1987 speech when he said “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”. Today the gate stands as a national symbol of peace and unity and is an iconic shot you should absolutely capture while visiting Berlin.

4. Weather: Berlin has a generally comfortable climate. Rainfall is generally low but still possible year round. This city has long hot summers and long, dark winters. In fact, winter can be quite cold and get down to – 20 degrees Celsius. “The best time to visit Berlin is May-August when it is dry & hot and gets up to 35 degrees Celsius,” Goppelt said.

5. “Unter den Linden” Boulevard: This is one of the most important arterial roads in central Berlin. Starting at the Brandenburg Gate and ending at the Berliner Dom, this street spans 1.5 km. You will pass numerous significant buildings such as Humboldt University and the Staatsoper, and landmarks like Neue Wache and the Zeughaus. It is the oldest boulevard in Berlin and is home to many popular restaurants, cafes and shops. Shooting some b-roll here is a great way to capture the true vibe of the city.

6. Transportation: Berlin offers many methods of public transportation such as a subway, regional trains, buses and a tramway. “Rates are okay, but debit card payment is not always possible,” Goppelt said. Taxis and Ubers are also available!

7. Traffic: “Not as bad as you might expect,” Goppelt said. The whole city is accessible by car, however there are many bicyclists on the streets. Rush hour traffic is to be expected but its not known for being outrageous.

8. Berliner Fernsehturm: Towering over Berlin is the Berliner Fernsehturm. This television tower was finished in 1969 and was intended to be a symbol of Communist power in Berlin. Today it is the tallest structure in Germany at 368 meters high and is a popular tourist attraction where visitors can enjoy views of the city from the observation deck or Sphere Restaurant.

9. Reichstag Building:  The Reichstag is an internationally recognizable symbol of democracy and the current home to German parliament. The original building was completed in 1894 but was badly damaged in a fire in 1933. It undertook a partial renovation in 1961 and became the current home to German national parliament in 1990. With its iconic dome and vast history, the Reichstag is a classic Berlin landmark and a must get shot while filming in the city.

10. Food: Of course you can’t visit Berlin without trying some classic German cuisine! “Visitors have to try the local Currywurst (sausage with curry sauce) which is offered at many stands on the street,” Goppelt said.  “Many restaurants offer international cuisine and traditional German dishes.” Goppelt also suggestions going to Lutter & Wegnet and Altberliner Restaurant. For more restaurant and food recommendations, click here.

Key Takeaways:

-Language: Brush up on your German before visiting this city. It will help your trip to go smoother because not everyone speaks English.

-Permits: It is best to check with the Berlin Brandenburg Film Commission about whether or not you need a permit before you start shooting in public places.

-Weather: The best time to visit Berlin is from May to August.

And if you’re planning an upcoming shoot in Berlin, you can trust Crews Control to get you the best local crew with the equipment you need.  Just click here for a free quote!

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