Hollywood has consistently been known as the home of the silver screen. However, it looks like its reputation may soon be surpassed by the English capital. Not only is London rich in history, but the multicultural city hosts a vast variety of locations, suitable for almost every need location scouts are seeking.
One of the most popular locations to film isn’t what you might think. While historical landmarks feature prominently on our screens, it is actually the tube that provides numerous iconic films as their backdrop. Visit idealinsight.co.uk/blog/silver-screen-stations/ to see a full breakdown of some of the most famous movies who chose to film on location in the London underground system.
Choosing London To Film
We’ve touched on the incredible range of locations that London has to offer, in fact, many locations are evolving purely to be able to host movie crews and their needs. While this is an obvious reason for filmmakers to flock to the city, it isn’t always the deciding factor.
We explore just why London is becoming one of the most popular filming locations in the world and how the benefits of the capital are helping to boost the film industry, especially post-COVID and getting the sector back up and running as it once was.
Even the biggest blockbusters have a set budget they need to adhere to. That’s why any chance to save money, without compromising the integrity of the film is something that any producer will jump at the chance to do.
London provides tax relief for any production that chooses to film within its borders and with savings of up to 25%, it’s no wonder it’s a popular choice.
There is also another incentive the UK government offers, producers can claim between 20-25% of all the wages they pay to their talent. This isn’t just actors, it includes crew and even health and safety personnel.
Ease of Access
Europe is filled with some of the most creative talents on offer. However, this talent is split across the continent. London is the perfect location to collate and collaborate with the best people. Not only is it a short journey from mainland Europe, but it alleviates some of the language barriers cast and crew may have elsewhere.
English is the language with the most non-native speakers, meaning that the likelihood of everyone involved being able to communicate is heightened.
Not only that, but there are plenty of places around London to store any extra belongings you don’t need on you all day. You could start by checking out luggage storage Paddington Station, but there are plenty of others available throughout London that will save you from backache – especially if you’re only there for the day and getting a hotel room isn’t worth it!
The Best Crew and Equipment
Due to the growing popularity of filming in London, equipment hire businesses are plentiful. Flying equipment around the world is costly and comes at a risk of damage to cameras or other tools, leading to delays in filming.
By removing the need to bring equipment and hire it once on location, not only are costs reduced but delays are less likely. With equipment hire businesses never less than a few miles away, any issues that arise can be rectified with little disruption to the schedule.
This could be anything from a malfunctioning camera to the realisation that different lighting is required for a scene at the last minute, an engineer can be on-site in less than an hour in most cases.
What’s more, a good technical crew can be hard to come by. London is a famous hub for a film crew, whether this is freelance, hired from a third party or on the payroll. London-based filmed crews are famous for their excellent work ethic, knowledge and passion for their art.
While the main cast list is typically predetermined before filming starts, every film will always need extras or last-minute stand-ins to say a couple of lines. With over 36 drama schools located in London alone, filmmakers have an extensive pool of talent to choose from, all available within a few miles or tube stops of most locations.
With the Westend being home to some of the biggest talents the UK has to offer and many actors residing in London, there is always a vast array of talent available, just a quick phone call away.
The last decade has seen period dramas become more popular than ever. The USA and Hollywood would be elated if they possessed the historical buildings and grounds that London has to offer. Unfortunately, the history of LA is nowhere near as extensive as the UK.
From grand country estates and palaces to modest Tudor cottages, London offers the perfect backdrop for historical pieces, no matter what the need.
It isn’t just filming hours that need to be considered for the cast and crew. When relocating potentially hundreds of people during filming, producers need to ensure all staff members are comfortable and enjoying their time away from home.
London offers an atmosphere and activities for every taste. From busy nightlife to museums and gardens, shopping and theatre. ‘Time off’ is just as important as working hours and very few would complain about having to spend a few weeks or months in this amazing city.
Overall, the popularity of filming in London and the financial benefits of doing so is helping to boost the film industry, from big blockbusters to small indie productions.