Filming in Scotland. Looking for a film or photographic production service company, producer or fixer in Scotland? Contact us for referrals, questions, bids and references. See below for an introduction to Scotland locations, permits, when to shoot, costs, talent, crews, fringes and premiums, equipment, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits, film friendly hotels, transport, communications and safety advice.
Film Locations of interest in Scotland include:
Glasgow – Victorian architecture, Glasgow Cathedral, River Clyde, museums, modern architecture, urban and industrial looks. Several modern sporting venues have been newly built or renovated for the 2014 Commonwealth games.
Edinburgh – Castle, cobblestone streets, Royal Mile, Georgian townhouses. Edinburgh is a great alternative to shooting in London. Location fees are less expensive and permitting is easier. Strict historic preservation rules mean there are many old-Europe looks to choose from in Edinburgh. In terms of events the Edinburgh Festival is one of the largest arts festivals in the world.
Outer Hebrides – Remote islands and deserted beaches.
The Highlands - Dramatic uniquely Scottish landscapes. A favourite destination for high-fashion stills shoots.
Isle of Arran – Scotland in miniature.
Isle of Mull – Rugged coastal scenery, picturesque villages.
Royal Deeside – Wooded river valley, Balmoral Castle.
Glen Affric – Lochs, rugged mountains and native Scots pine, Whisky Distilleries and Mount Stuart stately home.
Orkney – Prehistoric sites, spectacular sea cliffs.
Agricultural looks of interest include wheat and barley field, salmon-filled rivers, as well as rugged pastoral hills with roaming sheep.
The Ministry of Defense also offers a variety of easily controlled locations including training ranges, barracks, radar stations, warehouses, lighthouse, off-road driver training course as well as other remote and rugged landscapes.
Edinburgh and Glasgow are the main production centres and all needs to travel from there.
Films hosted in Scotland include Skyfall, Braveheart and Trainspotting.
Scotland Film Location Permits. Scotland has an easy and streamlined permitting process. Local authorities all have dedicated film offices to get things processed efficiently and quickly. The following does apply though:
• Road closures require four weeks notice
• Parking units requires 5 days minimum notice
• Clearing a street of cars requires 14 days notice
Please contact us for location specific information.
Location permits are not required for small shoots that do no affect public movement. This includes shooting from a tripod. Permits are required for each location once you require exclusive use of public property including controlling traffic, setting up big lights or laying track.
When to shoot? Scotland is generally colder than the rest of the UK, especially in the more northerly regions. The west tends to be wetter and warmer than the cool, dry east. In Highland areas, snow is common in winter from December to March, and fog and mist may occur at any time of year. April to September is the best time to shoot with long daylight hours especially in the north where it stays light almost to midnight. October to February tends to be wet and cold but the light on clear days is great for shooting. For monthly weather statistics please see here.
Highland Games events and competitions take place across Scotland from May to September.
Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Scotland.
Costs. Scotland is a relatively expensive place to shoot due to the high cost of locations, talent and crews. Scotland also trades in the Great Britain Pound. Any locations requiring travel outside of Glasgow or Edinburgh are an additional cost to filming.
Talent is both union and non-union. Buyouts are possible and costs are negotiable. Usage is generally based on a basic studio fee plus a percentage based on territories. Fees are usually worked out using the UseFee website. Actors union is Equity.
Scotland is an ethnically diverse country. Scotland’s close proximity to London allows easy access to that pool of talent should you ever need to look further.
For an example of locally available talent looks see:
Crews. Scotland has a small but good local pool of directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Scotland offers a good depth of experienced key crews. Day rates are flexible and hours are negotiable. It’s possible to use a mix of union and non-union crew. All crew need to come from Glasgow or Edinburgh. There is no crew base in the north of Scotland. If you need to look further, Scotland’s close proximity to London allows easy access to those technical and creative crews.
Contact us if you are looking for a Glasgow or Edinburgh based director, photographer, cameraman, camera assistant, camera operator, sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew in Scotland.
Fringes. Crews are freelancers and pay their own taxes. Long-form projects must consider payroll and holiday pay. See here for more information:
Premiums. Shoot days in general are based on 10 hours with 1 hour lunch however there is room to agree longer working hours at a set fee. Overtime is paid at time and a half. After midnight overtime is charged at three times the hourly rate. Bank holidays are charged at double time unless prior agreement has been reached.
Full agreements can be found here:
Equipment. Good depth and standard of locally available equipment. Hire companies tend to be part of nationwide groups so it’s possible to source within any branch of their organization. There are also many smaller local providers including advanced drone systems for aerial filming. Some specialized equipment needs to be brought in from abroad. Phantom camera, Technocrane and tracking vehicle / low loader need to come from London or Manchester.
For productions looking to bring in film equipment Scotland is an ATA carnet country.
Art department and set construction is of a very high standard.
Studios and backlots. BBC Scotland has a studio in Glasgow and a backlot studio in Dumbarton. There are a number of mid-size studios as well as two water tanks. For major studios Pinewood, Shepperton and Warner Brothers are in London which is a 1 hour flight or 4 hour train journey from Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Tax Incentives. At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials shooting in Scotland. Foreign productions are entitled to claim VAT back. Incentives exist for long form projects. See here for more information:
Post Production. There are no labs in Scotland. Telecine needs to be done in London which is only a 4 hour train ride away. All other post production facilities are available in both Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Visas and Work Permits. Generally no permits are required for short term filming. Long term filming needs to be run by Creative Scotland the British Film Commission. Entry is otherwise subject to regulations from country of origin. Contact your local British High Commission for more information.
Transportation Infrastructure. Roads are up to expected European standards. Several international and budget airlines service flights to Scotland.
Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Scotland include:
Please contact us for corporate rates.
For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.
Communication. Web posted casting, scouting and videoconferencing.
Safety. Scotland is a very safe place for foreign productions to visit. See here for more information.
Projects. For an example of TV commercials, online advertising, corporate videos, stills campaigns, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Scotland, please see below:
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer in Scotland, please contact us.
We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.