Filming In the UK: A Quick Guide To Why Choose UK For Your Next Production

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

One thing unites The Fast & The Furious 6, Anna Karenina, Snow White & The Huntsman, Maleficent, Prometheus, Guardians of the Galaxy, and various Star Wars films. The majority of the footage for these movies was filmed in the UK. Major motion pictures are now being made in the UK for reasons other than just the picturesque landscape or rolling hills.

Many small and big-budget projects travel to the UK to take advantage of the country's generous tax advantages, as well as the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art technology and many renowned studios.

A number of the largest studios in the film business are based in the United Kingdom. One of the most well-known studios in the nation, Elstree Studios, has hosted films including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Superman.

The UK can accommodate many films at once thanks to its many studio complexes that are scattered around the major cities. Although the studios can provide services for television shows, high-end film often accounts for a larger amount of the revenue for the major studios. The primary filming locations in the UK may readily compete with foreign production firms.

Why the UK?

Apart from the beautiful landscapes that could enhance the film's beauty, what the United Kingdom could offer in terms of polishing the film's cultural aspect is immeasurable. When a movie is shot, it shapes the cultural attitude of the audience watching it, and it becomes even more desirable to the audience and the filmmaker when the film is shot in an authentic setting that caters to the theme.

The filmmaker often decides the location of the film based on its theme. So for a film based in the countryside, the British heritage can be a fitting location. For a film that needs to portray modern architecture or urban metro looks, the city of London is an ideal location. The UK is not limited in terms of locations, it is perfectly seasoned with locations that could add to the glory of historical fiction or a coming-of-age film. Not to mention that it has mini versions of places, for instance, Wembley, a town in North West London, England, is termed "Mini India." The population there consists of 40% Indians and all you can find in Indian restaurants and shops offering Indian items. There’s also a place called ‘Little China’ located in the heart of London. The point is, the UK has varied locations to even cater to the locale of a film of diasporic nature. The United Kingdom is perfectly blended with age-old architecture and modern art to gaze upon and film. 

  • Amazing Geography

Amazing diversity can be found in the geography, architecture, and infrastructure of the UK. The UK has it all—period settings, New York City street location doubles, medieval castles, spectacular coasts, antique trains, and exclusive airports—and it's all spread out over a relatively small island.  

The recent British productions of the feature films 1917, F9, Eurovision, Avengers: Endgame, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are not surprising. Not to mention the UK's stronghold on cult television and movies, including Peaky Blinders, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and James Bond.

  • Inspiration

The United Kingdom is a country with a long history and is home to many famous movie locations, as well as museums, art galleries, and vibrant nightlife. Due to the work that directors are doing, this all comes together to provide the city with an inspiring and creative vibe that many directors find appealing. They don't have to turn off their creative thoughts when the day's filming is over because they are immersed in such a setting, and they may even uncover the spark of inspiration that will give their movie its winning edge.

  • UK Production Crew

The cast and crew in the UK are among the best in the industry. The majority of crews have won awards and received recognition on a global scale for their professionalism and adaptability. These companies can be a tremendous help in giving bespoke lists of the top in the industry if you're interested in recruiting personnel already based in the UK.

  • Equipment 

For a production house, there is perhaps nothing more stressful than having the filming delayed due to a critical piece of equipment being absent. It doesn't matter if the equipment arrived late or was simply forgotten. On a set, time is money, and delays run the risk of blowing a movie's budget. The demand for high-quality production equipment has increased as a result of so many projects choosing to film and produce in the UK. In addition to a sizable number of equipment rental businesses, England is home to the whole spectrum of equipment suppliers. This indicates that production companies won't have any trouble finding the gear they require in the UK.

  • Tax Rebates and Other Cash Incentives: 

As mentioned by the British Film Commission:

  • The Film Production Company (FPC) can claim a payable cash rebate of up to 25% on UK qualifying expenditure for all British qualifying films of any budget level.
  • Tax relief is limited to 80% of the core expenditure, which means that even if you have 100% UK-qualifying expenditure, tax relief is only available on the first 80%.
  • Within the 80% cap, there is no limit to the film's budget or the amount of relief payable. 

With all of these benefits, it's understandable why the UK has become a favorite filmmaking location among directors. Directors that choose to shoot in the UK have an advantage from the start of the project to the finish. They receive a superb team and equipment, save money on production and post-production, and get to film in an area rich in history and culture.

Locations

The United Kingdom is sought after by many filmmakers to shoot films and series that have widely garnered recognition. One such series shot in the southeastern part of London is the period drama ‘Bridgeton’ that streamed on Netflix earlier this year, the series was specifically shot in the city of Bath, thanks to its beautiful Georgian architecture that added to the elegance of the period drama. The streets of Bath filled with honey or brown-colored huge Georgian houses set a perfect background for a film that wants to portray ancient heritage. 

The ‘Royal Crescent in the city of Bath has residential townhouses that give you a sneak peek into the early 1770s and how the wealthy and not-so-wealthy slaves lived their lives. 

Moving forward we have London, need we say more? Widely known for its culture and artistry, London offers a fusion of modern and ancient architecture. Besides, the crisp air in London evokes creativity, and the museums and the nightlife can equally add value to a film that needs an urban-metro set-up, giving the directors and filmmakers the best shot for coming-of-age films. 

How do we forget the scenic and classic locations in Scotland that have been home to many TV shows, movies, and filmmakers alike? The highlands, made up of seven regions, in the far north of Scotland are loved by many filmmakers for their skylines, scenic landscapes, and rich historical significance. In fact, some of the locations in the famous series of Harry Potter have been filmed in the Highlands. For instance, Glen Nevis (Gleann Nibheis in Scottish Gaelic) a glen in Highland, Scotland is the backdrop for Harry Potter’s first Quidditch match. 

Then we have the port city of Glasgow, situated in the lowlands of western Scotland, famous for its Victorian and art nouveau architecture. It is now a cultural center, home to institutions including the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet, and National Theatre of Scotland. Then there is York, well known for its gothic medieval cathedrals, followed by Manchester, Bristol, and Liverpool. The UK can accommodate regional films and modern films likewise.  

The UK welcomes worldwide and regional production firms, however, it’s important to get in touch with an experienced location manager or a fixer in the UK to give you the particular areas/boroughs/councils you’ll need to approach for permits. Particularly while filming in London, it is simple for the borders of various councils to overlap on your location set, necessitating the application of multiple licenses.

Visa (Tier 5- Creative and Sporting Visa)

A tier 5 Visa is a short-term visa for people who visit the UK for work purposes, especially artists and sports personalities; it, however, does not provide a settlement route to the individual.  The category allows spouses, partners, and any dependent children to immigrate to the UK alongside the main Tier 5 applicant. The creative worker visa is easier to obtain. 

Before you can apply to work in the UK, you must first obtain a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor. Your work in the UK must be related to the work of your sponsoring organization.

Logistics 

A film is nothing without logistics and equipment, but moving around and transporting can be tough, not in the UK though. Due to easy connectivity and transport facilities such as euro tunnels and significant international airports connected to London, transporting and setting up equipment is easier. Other scenic locations in the UK are easily accessible by train and bus. Not to mention, since the UK is a prime location where many films were shot and since it is a growing business adding to 20% of the economy of the UK, there is an extensive network of productions that provide transportation of logistics from one place to another. 

Conclusion

Producers and production companies have a lot of advantages in the UK. It offers a wide variety of settings for any film production, including broad landscapes, historic castles, and stunning seascapes. It comes as no surprise that the UK has grown to be the hub of filmmaking activity when you consider the alluring tax perks, cutting-edge facilities, and some of the best crew in Europe.

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About the Author

42video
London-based production company that helps in production services for film, advertising, Corporate and TV. Whether you are an advertising agency, corporate business or a film production company across the globe, and looking to film your next project in London or in the UK our goal here is to help you facilitate and achieve your production requirements and give an experience of seamless service.

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