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10 Tips for Shooting Video in Brussels
The City of Brussels is the capital of Belgium. This city is well known for its cuisine and gastronomy, as well as its iconic historical and architectural landmarks. There are over 90 museums in Brussels, several theaters, statues and plenty to offer any traveling producer. But what do you need to know before you shoot corporate video in this European city? We talked to Belgian DP Oliver Imfeld about the top 10 tips for shooting video in Belgium’s capital city.
1. Permits: Filming permit requirements will vary in every city and in different locations within those cities. “No permits are needed if you’re staying on public ground, but better to always double check with the local film commission,” Imfeld said. For more information on permits and to see if you need one, click here.
2. Locations for B-Roll: There are many iconic locations all around Brussels that make for great b-roll. Some of the best places include the Atomium, King’s Palace, Manneken Pis and Grand Place City Center. Mont des Arts is an urban and historic site that is a great place to capture b-roll of visitors and locals alike.
3. Traffic: Any major city can accumulate traffic and Brussels is no different. “Traffic is like in LA; perpetual congestion,” Imfeld said. This is definitely something to keep in mind when scheduling tight filming times. You can expect the busiest times are in the mornings and afternoons.
4. Language: The main languages in Brussels are French and Dutch/Flemish. Many people also speak German. But you won’t run into troubles if you only speak English. Most Belgians speak or at least understand English. You will most likely not have to hire a translator while in Brussels, but brushing up on a few key French and Dutch phrases may come in handy.
5. Transportation: Several methods of public transportation are available throughout the city. There are two airports close to Brussels and trains, buses, taxis and rental cars available. “There’s a kind of metro subway system and also tramways, both running the main city axes,” Imfeld said. For more information on public transportation click here.
6. Parking: If a rental car is your preferred method of transportation, there are a lot of public parking areas. “Street parking is possible, but difficult,” Imfeld said. There are several free parking garages on the perimeter of the city to discourage drivers from driving into the city. But if you chose that option, you may be walking far with a lot of heavy equipment.
7. Law Courts of Brussels: The official title of this structure is Palais de Justice. Located on Place Poelaert and regarded as one of the 19th century’s largest constructed building, the Law Courts building is a legendary landmark. After being heavily damaged during WWII, repairs were then completed by 1947. Renovations on the building have been in progress since 2003. Yet many travel from far and wide to see this Eclectic-neoclassical structure. “Its the best view over the city,” Imfeld said.
8. Equipment: There are several rental houses in Brussels with new and top notch gear. Imfeld says the best ENG rental is this website. If you’re planning on capturing some aerial shots with a drone, you should check out this website to see what is permitted.
9. Weather: The weather in Brussels is not always ideal. Quick changing weather patterns are common and rain is frequent for most of the year. The best months to visit are July, August and September.
10. Cuisine: Belgium cuisine is often compared to French cuisine. When you first think of traditional Belgium food, you probably think of waffles, chocolate and beer. “Belgium invented the French Fries and they are very proud of it, therefore there are many Fritteries selling fries, fried meat and chicken,” Imfeld said. “Otherwise, there are more than 300 local beers!” A well known plate is the Stoemp (smashed potatoes with sausages). For more food suggestions, click here.
- Weather: You should be prepared for rain and aim to visit this city between July-September.
- Transportation: Public transportation is available all over the city and may be your most best option, considering parking in Brussels is not convenient.
- Language: It is not 100% necessary to hire a translator while in Brussels. While the main languages are French and Dutch, many locals understand English.