Guide To Shooting In London
Film and photo production in London is a thriving business, and for good reason. The city is recognised globally as a hub of innovation and attracts many creative brands and projects.
Meraki is a boutique creative production house and we have worked on numerous projects in London in our more than 10 years of experience. We have produced photoshoots and films, in studios and on the streets, helping UK brands and international businesses to realise their vision.
Understanding the nuances and practicalities of the UK's capital enables us to assist brands in navigating film and photo production in the city. In this guide, we detail what to consider and what to expect when shooting in London.
WHAT TO EXPECT
A UNIQUE VARIETY OF LOCATIONS FOR SHOOTS
London's historic streets and iconic landmarks provide a versatile range of locations to use as the backdrop for your shoot. Brands have used London's international status in ad campaigns, such as Rimmel's Get the London Look, and in films, including several James Bond movies, as well as in TV shows, such as Apple TV's Ted Lasso.
There are numerous iconic landmarks, such as Tower Bridge, The Gherkin and St Paul's Cathedral, that make a fantastic backdrop for photo and film shoots. There are also stylish and interesting areas full of character, from the upmarket streets of Mayfair to the country feel of Richmond and the diverse vibrance of Brixton.
It isn't just global businesses and franchises that benefit from London production. Brands of all sizes based in London or looking to use the British aesthetic in their shoot can come to the city and find the right setting for their production.
The Greater London area is home to many large and small production studios that can be rented for shoots. Rather than focusing on the London views, they capitalise on the business interest the city has in facilitating production. This includes financial benefits for productions choosing London, such as rebates and tax relief, as well as access to a skilled and versatile local workforce, like those provided by Meraki. All of which boosts the economy, tourism and the appeal of London for production.
The UK has many diverse cultures that come together in the capital city. London represents not only the four countries that comprise the United Kingdom – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – but international cultures from mainland Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
While British English is the primary language in the UK, many other languages are represented in London. Finding translators and production team members fluent in multiple languages is much easier in a cosmopolitan city and can help to localise your production and maintain a smooth shoot from pre to post production.
It’s easier to adapt to the London weather than you may imagine. Meraki is experienced in managing weather changes, enabling you to make the most of bursts of sunshine and heat as well as cool and rainy days.
Shooting in London enables you to tap into a wide variety of local talent, from directors, photographers and DoPs to hair and make-up artists. Meraki can help you find and connect with the British and UK-based talent.
Along with your aspirations and the vision for your film or photo shoot, you need to consider the practical aspects of production. As with every destination, London has various local requirements. Here’s what you need to be aware of ahead of planning your shoot.
Film and photo shoots in London require certain licences. These will vary depending on if you are shooting on location outside, in particular buildings or within a production studio.
For film production on the streets of London, you need to be aware of the boroughs the city is divided into. You will need a shoot permit for not only the borough you are filming in but for any boroughs that are visible in the background of your film.
Meraki is experienced in dealing with these specific requirements.
Naturally, you will need to comply with all UK Health & Safety Regulations, as outlined by the national regulator The Health and Safety Executive (HSE). As an experienced production house, Meraki are well aware of the complexities and requirements, from COVID testing or rig safety to on-set medical professionals, and we will ensure everything on the production is up to code.
One of the key parts of any production is assembling the teams, both crew and talent, for a shoot. Transport and accommodation can be arranged by our production team, who will keep track of who is required where and when to ensure your shoot runs as smoothly as possible.
Our production team in London can assist with getting your team and talent from airports or train stations to hotels, and from hotels to location and back again.
Meraki is experienced in negotiating and organising all aspects of these production requirements.