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10 Tips for Shooting Video in Venice

Posted by Kim Moseman on September 27, 2018

Venice is the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region. The city itself is actually built on over 100 small islands in the Adriatic Sea. Canals weave through the city in place of roads. With a mix of Renaissance and Gothic style structures, Venice is one of the most recognizable cities in Europe. But what do you need to know before shooting corporate video in Venice? We talked to DP Kevin Granahan about everything you need to know before starting your next video production in “The Floating City”.

1.Permits: Depending on the size of the crew and gear, you may have to obtain a permit. Large productions that are loud or occur in busy public settings should definitely have a permit.  Check with the Venice Film Commission about all rules and regulations. Here is the link for the website, but note it is written in Italian.

2. Equipment: Depending on the type of video shoot you do, there are some logistics that should be considered. Planning on using a drone? Make sure the proper paperwork is done first. Drones are difficult to get approved, but not impossible. Tripods and certain other types of equipment are also monitored.  “But be careful about using a tripod in these and other busy areas since the law states, you must have a permit if you put a tripod on the ground,” Granahan said.

3. Transportation: There are almost no cars in Venice. The city has canals where other cities have roads. “Get ready to walk and schlep your gear and take (slow and expensive) water boats that are called Vaporettos,” Granahan said. If you plan on traveling around the city a lot, getting a 2- or 3-day pass for public transportation is highly recommended, but it will be expensive.

4. Traffic: Foot traffic can be horrible. Like in any major city, avoiding peak hours (late morning and late afternoon) is advisable. “Avoid going to off the beaten path areas,” Granahan said. You cannot block foot traffic with your crew and the streets and alleys can be extremely narrow.

5. Language: People tend to speak English in Venice since it’s such a tourist driven economy. Street signs are often in Italian, so wouldn’t hurt to brush up on your basic Italian before traveling here.

6. Saint Mark’s Square: Piazza San Marco, or just la Piazza, is the principal public square of Venice. Combined with the Pizzetta, the two spaces create the social, religious and political center of the city. Construction began between 800-1100 and has since been an iconic staple of Venice. This area contains St. Mark’s Basilica, the Clock Tower and several other historic buildings. Napoleon is even quoted saying Saint Mark’s Square is “the drawing room of Europe”.

7. Airport: You will most likely fly into Venice Marco Polo Airport. To get to Venice from the airport, you can take a taxi or bus. there is a road between the airport and canal city.  “You should put the car/van in a lot in Piazzale Roma, then walk or take a Vaporetto to the city,” Granahan said. Renting a boat is doable, but a local boat service is cheaper than a canal taxi.

8. Weather: The general climate in this city is moderately continental, with cold and moist winters and hot and muggy summers. On Venice’s coldest days, the weather goes into the 30’s at night and 40’s during the day. When at its hottest, July and August, it is close to 95. The best months to shoot (weather-wise) are May, June, September and October.

9. Food: Granahan warns that Venice may the only place in Italy where you run the risk of getting a bad meal, just because of the tourist atmosphere. “Good bars and wine places are in the Rialto area, where you can nibble on local tapas, called ‘cicchetti’,” Granahan said . For a list of the best places to grab a bite to eat in Venice, click here.

10. Rialto Bridge: The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the four bridges that span over the Grand Canal. It’s construction first began in the 12th century, but it has been rebuilt several times. The present stone bridge is a top tourist attraction for the city and connects San Marco to San Polo. Capturing video of this iconic bridge is ideal for some b-roll or establishing shots of Venice.

Key takeaways:

  • There are almost no cars or roads in Venice, so canals are the best type of transportation
  • Most transportation methods are expensive
  • Make sure you have the appropriate permit before shooting anywhere in the city

Have a video production coming up in Venice, Italy? Click here for free quote!

Comments

  1. I’ve shot in Venice five times over the last 30 years and your advice on the does and don’ts in Venice is spot on. Thank you and you have me eager to go back.

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