As soon as you think of a video production company in London, the first thing that comes to mind is thinking about how well they can utilise filming in that location with great effect to achieve the desired objectives that are set. While visitors and commuters perceive familiar sites like the Tube station as merely a method of transportation, a filmmaker sees hundreds of films that may be produced in that area.
Hollywood is often regarded as the cradle of the silver screen, but over the last decade, London has emerged as one of the most popular filming locations. The English capital can be seen in many of our favourite movies due to its rich history and diverse culture. It's not just iconic locations that appear on our screens; an infographic from Ideal Insight recently demonstrated that the London Underground appears frequently throughout many established films.
- Paddington (2014)
A fun fact is that in the famous movie, Paddington, the bear was named after Paddington Station, also known as Paddington Underground Station where the Brown family found him after relocating from Peru. It only made sense that Paddington would be shot there to take advantage of the famous Paddington station.
- Fast and Furious 6 (2013)
The film was shot in several locations across London (and the United Kingdom). The makers of Fast and Furious aim to avoid using visual effects in favour of more real action. The scene in which Letty and Riley were fighting was captured at the Aldwych station and had a more dramatic feel to it.
Another famous fight scenario took place at the Waterloo Underground train station. Joe Taslim squares off against Tyrese Gibson and Sung Kang in a scene that begins with a foot chase involving all three actors and nearly 200 supporting actors. The three actors, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, and Joe Taslim, had rehearsed for the part, but shooting in front of cameras, crew, and background actors was a different feeling.
- Thor: The Dark World (2013)
The film features a quick scene in which Thor finds himself teleported into Charing Cross station where he asks a passenger how to get to Greenwich. However, the film caused the biggest stir among London’s commuters when it falsely claimed that Greenwich was only three stops away from Charing Cross during the scene.
- Skyfall (2012)
Skyfall is the 23rd James Bond film. Filming began on 7 November 2011 in and around London and some scenes were shot in London Underground stations where Bond burrows out onto the Temple tube station to pursue fugitive cyber-terrorist Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) from MI6's subterranean HQ, but his progress is impeded by a buzzing urban throng. When he sees Silva board a westbound Circle line train, 007 outruns even the most harried traveller, leaping over the electrified rails and onto the rear of the fast leaving carriage.
- V for Vendetta (2005)
The abandoned Aldwych station was the ideal filming location for the scene where Natalie Portman hops on an underground train and explosives are launched. Not only did it add a certain quality to the film but it also created a facade that the explosives were set off safely and away from the public.
So, Why London? Why are more films being shot in London?
More than 1,000 films have made use of the country's film tax credit in the five years since its inception, with the UK providing an estimated £800 million (approximately $1.2 billion) in refunds.
It shows how the city in the United Kingdom is drawing filmmakers in massive numbers as a result of attractive tax breaks that make shooting films in one of the most expensive cities in the world less expensive than in Los Angeles.
Depending on the magnitude of the production's budget, London rewards producers by refunding between 20% and 25% of the money spent in the UK. The definition of what qualifies as a U.K. expense is extremely flexible — for example, if costumes or props are made in Los Angeles but used for filming in London, they are eligible for the refund.
London has developed as a centre of excellence over the last decade. There are more experienced crews, wonderful infrastructure, and a plethora of performing talent due to the history of stage work. This eliminates the need for studios to transport and house artists.
Although living in London is more expensive and income tax is higher, some actors would be ready to take a slight cut in pay to work on projects. However, the fact that many special effects companies and post-production facilities have relocated to London as part of a major exodus from California in search of post-production incentives is more crucial.
There are several pros to shooting in London compared to other parts of the world but the two which stand out are;
The importance of location cannot be overstated. The plethora of locations available to filmmakers for use in their production is one of the major advantages of filming in London. Filmmakers will be able to locate everything they need to make their film work due to the variety of locations and stages accessible.
The London area offers a diverse range of landscapes and historic architecture that a filmmaker may use throughout their project. Since studios like the BBC and others have been operating in London for a couple of years, it's not unusual to see a section of the city closed off for filming, and this is barely possible in Hollywood.
Access To Talents
There is always a wide range of talent available, as well as many video production agencies.
There are few things more satisfying for a filmmaker than finding the perfect actor with whom to collaborate.
And, given the rising popularity of numerous British stars, it only makes sense to shoot a film in London starring such actors. This has the advantage of making it easier for the actor to fit the production into their schedule, while the filmmaker has the advantage of getting the actor they want for their film, as well as all of the other benefits of filming in London.