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5 Essential Tips For Shooting In Berlin: What You Should And Should Not Do When Shooting

What are some of your top tips for shooting in Berlin?

The locals are generally respectful. When you’re filming, they’ll politely move out of the way. If you conduct yourself professionally and pragmatically, people will acknowledge and respect your work, especially in Berlin. However, it’s worth noting that the trams can be noisy—both trams and trains. Be mindful of audio considerations due to this background noise. Although Berlin is generally a calm city, the trams tend to screech around corners, so be prepared for that.


What should you do and never do when shooting in Berlin?

A valuable suggestion is to stay informed about local protests through diligent research. This is particularly crucial because the city is politically active, resulting in frequent demonstrations. The term “litigious” accurately describes the atmosphere, reflecting the city’s penchant for legal actions. While this might seem negative, it is a characteristic of this bustling and politically active city.

Berlin is renowned for its vibrant punk culture, and within this dynamic atmosphere, you will encounter various protests. The organized nature of these protests allows you to stay informed about their schedules through research. This aligns with the broader importance of thorough research. Personally, I have not faced any issues, but it is essential to highlight the significance of correctly handling release forms. Given the nation’s litigious nature, ensuring accurate paperwork is crucial.

It’s noteworthy that many aspects of their operations are meticulously documented on paper. As you may have gathered from discussions with legal professionals, they have a propensity to manage numerous things in a bureaucratic manner. Keep in mind the time required for postal delivery when submitting paperwork.


What will save you time, stress, and money when shooting in Berlin?

The joke often made about Berlin, or the cliché you commonly hear, is of young Berliners on the S-Bahn, attempting to transport a sofa to their new apartment or something similar. In terms of reliability, the S-Bahn is quite dependable. In my ten years there, I experienced the train stopping only about ten times, which is relatively infrequent. The public transport system, overall, is known for its reliability, which is good information to have. However, buses may not be practical for shooting with a camera crew as they are consistently crowded with limited space. The S-Bahn remains a viable option. Overall, while traffic congestion is not negligible, it’s manageable, especially if you rent a Sprinter van. With it, you can comfortably traverse the city, reaching either end of Berlin within an hour.


What is the best season to shoot in Berlin and why?

The more pleasant seasons are likely summer and autumn, both offering fantastic experiences. Summer stands out for its enjoyable weather. However, the peak of summer can be a bit much. Spring and winter, on the other hand, tend to be chilly and damp, with the potential for heavy snowfall. Given that it’s an urban setting, the city doesn’t stay cold enough to retain the snow, resulting in slushy and wet conditions. Winter is generally not favourable. Spring, although cold, signals the transition. Summer, once again, is characterized by its very pleasant conditions. Additionally, when the deciduous trees start changing colours, the cityscape transforms with vibrant hues of orange and other autumn shades.


What would you advise somebody to keep in mind regarding safety and security on the streets?

In the hubs, you’ll observe numerous people engaging in various activities. One crucial piece of advice, especially for those unfamiliar with the city, is to be cautious around Alexander Platz. While the atmosphere is vibrant during the day, it can be unsafe at night. This is the only location where I’ve heard about negative incidents in Berlin. It’s important to avoid this area after dark. Generally, though, Berlin is considered a very safe city. Having grown up in Scotland, I often share stories with foreigners about my childhood, which may sound like I’m describing a war zone. However, conflicts in Germany are usually limited to verbal altercations rather than physical fights. Germans tend to express their displeasure by shouting rather than resorting to physical violence.

Speaking anecdotally, I’ve never felt safer living anywhere else, including Scotland, England, Portugal, and Spain. As for the previous question about shooting, May 1st can be a challenging time unless you’re interested in capturing a large street festival. This is when you might witness violence, with riot police facing off against real anarchists and protesters. New Year’s Eve in Berlin is akin to a war zone, with everyone setting off fireworks, creating a dense cloud of smoke that obscures visibility. The city becomes chaotic at midnight, and the lack of regulation for street fireworks, including blank firing guns, can be intimidating. It is advisable to steer clear of both New Year’s Eve and May 1st due to the potential for disturbances and safety concerns.




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