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Filming location in the UK

Four useful tips on filming locations and how to find them.

In an age of CGI effects and green screen backgrounds, the art of finding a real location for filming a movie feels like it is slowly dying. Budding directors often wonder what the point is of finding an interesting, scenic location, when various programs and software are available to try and recreate the scenery from the comfort of their home. The truth of the matter is that real locations play a much more important role in filmmaking than many people realise, and opting to use CGI over the real deal can leave your film feeling limp, lifeless and lazy.

In perhaps one of the worst examples of choosing a location in history, Star Wars was changed from a timeless classic set in the dry Tunisian deserts, into a flat laughing stock that relied too heavily on green screens and computer effects, instead of real locations. Now, we don’t want to imply that your film could end up as messy as the god-awful Star Wars prequels (we would never go that far) but it does raise a valid point. The location of your video helps contribute to the overall feel and atmosphere of the piece, and can be the difference between an engaging and a dull end product. Unfortunately, finding the right location can involve a lot of unwanted hassle. Permits, insurance and restrictions can lead to serious headaches, especially if you’re trying to juggle all of these annoyances yourself. To avoid encountering these problems, it can be useful to hire a specialist company to do all the hard work for you. Here are some companies that can help take the stress out of finding filming locations:

Amazing Space-

Big ideas require big locations, and that’s where using Amazing Space can really come in handy. The company claims to be the UK’s leading location provider to the film industry, and has over 20 years experience in this area of work to back that claim up. Amazing Space has established solid relationships with property owners all over the country, allowing for clients to access a wide range of buildings and arenas. It’s no wonder that the BBC considers the company as their preferred suppliers when seeking location services. Even if you can’t find a location that suits your needs on their site, they will get an expert on the case to try and find somewhere suitable. Now that’s customer service.

Movie Locations –

Movie locations is a useful online portal that boasts location information on thousands of films. Essentially, it allows the user to discover where their favourite movies were filmed, and provides information and photographs of the film sets. It’s easy to navigate, and the useful search options provide various ways to find what you are looking for, including searching by directors or actors names. Filming in famous and recognisable locations is undoubtedly a great way to make your film memorable and interesting, so why not give this site a try when planning your next project.

Shoot Factory –

Shoot Factory is a location agency that represents locations across the UK and internationally. The benefits of filming abroad are endless, and can really add an exotic feel to your film. Their huge collection of available locations stretches from Europe to Africa, and they include a quirky collection of locations for those who are searching for something different. They will even go as far as to liaise with the local authorities in the location of your choice to ensure that your filming goes smoothly. So you won’t end up begging for one last phone call in a Thai prison.

Guerrilla Locations –

Inspiration can strike at any moment, and any spot in the world could suddenly seem like the ideal location for your film. Rather than let rules and regulations dampen your creativity, why not embrace the independent filmmaking spirit and start shooting straightaway? This will undoubtedly involve obtaining some form of permission if you wish to avoid being sued, but often a simple knock on the door of the landlord will suffice, rather than having to wait weeks for a slip of paper. Besides, this ‘Guerrilla’ style of filmmaking can add an element of energy and excitement to your film that no other style can.

Dragonfly are fully equipped to help you with all of this and make your video into something really special. If you’d like to know more about our location filming service, check out Dragonfly’s take on the topic here.

Whether or not this takes you by surprise, the fact remains that Wales is one of the most incredible locations to film in the UK! The beautiful country side has formed the backdrop for a huge array of blockbuster movies, from James Bond to Tomb Raider to Harry Potter.

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Dragonfly, a video production company in London.