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10 Tips for Shooting Video in London
With just over 7,000 residents, the City of London is one of the smallest cities in the U.K. Despite its size, it is a hot bed for production – especially games, TV shows, music videos, and films. London is an extremely historic and vibrant city with tons of great options for shooting video. Before you hit up high-tea at The Savoy, here’s what you need to know about shooting video in London:
10 – Permits are required everywhere, no exception. In addition to needing permissions to shoot, you also have to be aware of legal limitations of where you’re shooting, which can vary from location to location. No borough is exactly the same when it comes to legal limitations, and some have even outsourced their film liaison office to a separate body that may be looking after more than one borough. Here is a link to ensure you’re following all legal obligations and have the right permissions.
9 – Are you an international crew? You may be operating under a completely separate set of rules. You can check them all out here.
8 – Despite its size, London feels a lot bigger than you think. Check a map for locations of shoots and traffic patterns before you start out. You may think that two landmarks are a hop and skip away, but then find yourself sitting in traffic and missing any opportunity to get your shots.
7 – Be aware of congestion pricing. In a small area of Central London you have to pay £10 to drive through during peak times. You have to pay through a website, and if you don’t you will be slapped with a fine from the government. If you do get fined, there is a three day grace period to pay. There is no subsidy or getting out of congestion charges, so make sure that is factored into your budget.
6 – Some of the best places for B-roll include Borough Market (also known as More London), and a great shot of the city can be seen from the walkway by St. Thomas’s hospital. If you’re looking for shots of city buildings and “traders in suits” check out Threadneedle Street and Lloyds Building. “Brick Lane is a goodie for interesting old houses, cottage industry, old barbers and suit makers, as well as Edwardian terraced housing – but be prepared to walk around to find these things!” shares one of Crews Control’s DPs .. Another great place for B-roll is Notting Hill by the West Way underpass. That’s where you’ll find things like skaters, graffiti art, and shops with quirky store fronts.
5 – Have a backup location in mind. Traffic and traveling in London can get very congested very quickly, so even if you have your day planned to a T you never know what could happen – having a few Plan B locations can help avoid frustrating delays.
4 – The London Eye is also a huge draw for B-Roll, but since it’s sponsored by Coca Cola they require the specifics before giving permission to shoot and quoting a permit fee.. You can find all you need to know about shooting at the London Eye here. The Underground is another gold mine of B-roll, but it’s frightfully expensive. Again we don’t want them to go and get all the permissions themselves but rather hire a local Crews Control crew that knows the area and can share location options that get the look.
3 – A lot of red carpet shoots happen in London. If you’re hired for a red carpet, know that once you’re “locked in the pen” you probably won’t be able to leave. It’s best to have a runner in case you need anything outside the event. Make sure you have plenty of spare batteries as well. Some pubs are willing to charge your batteries for you….for a price (and at your own risk).
2 – London is COLD. Much colder than people who don’t live there realize. Between September and May, be prepared for weather and make sure to bundle up! Otherwise, you’ll wind up like yours truly and buying scarves and gloves from street vendors outside underground stops for £5 a pop .
1 – London is an incredibly supportive city when it comes to film crews. You can apply for funding through the Film Commission, and they’ll offer both money and support for your project from start to finish, including sales, distribution, and exhibition. All information for funding, training, and support is outlined here. Not applicable to our corporate market.
You can accomplish almost anything as a film crew in London…time and money permitting. Before you head over there, make sure you have your permissions (ALL of them) and that all extra costs are factored into your budget.
If you need a crew in London, we have the best and the brightest in our arsenal. Give us a call, let us know what you need through our easy quote form and we’ll match you and your location with the perfect film crew. Don’t forget, you can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn!
Thanks for the blog, very useful for people who want to shoot here in London. Your figure of 7,000 residents is referring to a small part of London called 'the city of London', which is the financial district of the capital. London as a whole has over 8,000,000 residents. Which explains why the traffic is so bad in this town!