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6 essential tips to shooting in London: What you should and should not do when shooting in London

1- What you should always do when shooting in London ?

Secure public liability insurance and ensure that your crew members are easily distinguishable when filming outdoors.

This is achieved by outfitting them with distinctive jackets and apparel, setting them apart from the public. This precaution is fundamental to ensuring safety and security before commencing filming activities.

Given that you’ll be operating in proximity to numerous individuals who are not part of the film crew, prioritizing safety measures is paramount.

Therefore, addressing safety concerns and ensuring crew members’ clear identification should be the foremost priorities as you embark on the filming process.

2 – What you should never do when shooting in London ?

It’s crucial to adhere strictly to the boundaries specified in your permit. Even if you’re just at the end of a street, crossing into a different borough or area can lead to significant issues and complications.

Exceeding the geographical limits outlined in your permit is strongly discouraged, as it can lead to serious repercussions. It’s imperative to thoroughly understand and respect these limitations to avoid any legal or operational challenges.

A lesser-known fact or useful tip that can save you valuable time, minimize stress, and conserve resources when filming in London is this:

Many foreign crews tend to underestimate the time required for proper planning. Rushing to organize a shoot within a week in Central London, for instance, often results in obtaining only the bare minimum of necessary permissions.

Another common misstep is bringing an excessive number of crew members, which can lead to logistical difficulties. For instance, when a location can accommodate only 20 people, but your crew consists of 100, maneuvering becomes a cumbersome task. In such scenarios, production teams find themselves navigating through each other, trying to downsize and adhere to the location’s limitations.

It’s important to strike a balance and avoid overloading the set with an excess of personnel, as this can hinder the production process and create unnecessary complications.

3 – What is the preferred season or the best season to shoot in London?

The optimal filming seasons are typically during spring and summer, spanning from May to the end of September. This preference arises due to a few key reasons. Firstly, the notorious rainy and inclement weather for which our region is renowned is less prevalent during these months. Additionally, the extended daylight hours provide favorable conditions for shooting, with the sun rising as early as 6:00 a.m. and setting around 9:00 p.m., allowing for longer productive days.

On the other hand, the colder and less predictable climate of winter and early spring, even into autumn, presents challenges for outdoor filming. Unpredictable weather conditions necessitate vigilant planning and contingency arrangements. The need for adaptable solutions becomes apparent when a day intended for outdoor shooting is met with torrential rain, compelling a shift to indoor locations.

In summation, shooting during the summer months offers distinct advantages. Favorable weather conditions and abundant daylight make capturing desired shots more manageable and efficient. It provides a more conducive environment for achieving the intended creative vision, making it a preferable choice over other seasons.

4 – What should somebody considering a shoot in London bear in mind about transportation and logistics?

Filming in London presents logistical challenges due to its ancient streets and intricate one-way systems. Choosing the wrong route could result in a significant detour of up to half an hour just to return to the same point.

Parking poses a formidable obstacle as well, with numerous restricted areas where halting is prohibited entirely.

This emphasizes the importance of having local production expertise in place, as they can effectively address these issues. They can locate suitable parking spots and designate safe unloading zones at the filming location, ensuring avoidance of fines and penalties, particularly since surveillance cameras are now prevalent, leaving little room for evasion.

Undoubtedly, this is a substantial concern and an essential aspect to be considered. Furthermore, any individual contemplating filming in London should prioritize safety and security, recognizing these as paramount factors for a successful and smooth production.

5 – Things that you need to keep top of mind when shooting in London

It’s crucial that all equipment and vehicles parked on the side are properly secured, particularly when crews are unloading their gear. Ensuring that vehicles are locked afterward is vital, as theft can occur in any major city.

Regarding health and safety, your primary concern is preventing any adverse impact on the public sharing the same location. Proper storage of equipment is imperative due to the presence of heavy and sharp items. Disorganized placement poses a risk of harm to others.

Therefore, maintaining a controlled and designated area for both our equipment and crew is essential to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone involved. This approach is the most effective in promoting a secure and organized environment.

6 – When is it best to just forget all about the idea of shooting in London?

Saturdays are typically challenging days to obtain permissions from various locations, especially during the summer.

This is due to ongoing events and activities that often lead to the temporary closure and pedestrianization of entire areas for weekend festivities. As a result, Saturdays can be regarded as a restricted timeframe for filming.

In terms of seasons, Christmas brings a vibrant atmosphere to London, but it is notably busier.

The city is adorned with festive decorations and lights, creating a visually stunning backdrop. However, filming during this period presents difficulties owing to the large crowds and chilly weather. Despite these challenges, it’s not entirely discouraged to film during Christmas, as the decision largely hinges on your specific requirements and objectives.

photo source and credit –  photo by Andras Stefuca

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