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Estonia Film & Photography Production Services & Camera Crews

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Estonia? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.

Filming in Estonia

For an introduction to shooting in Estonia see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.

Estonia Film Locations

The Baltic nation of Estonia is best known for its beautiful forests, scenic lakes and wetlands, waterfalls, over a thousand remote islands, seaside and beaches, lighthouses, manor houses, winding car commercial roads, farms and pastures, medieval architecture, industrial estates, castles and palaces, as well as contemporary and Soviet-era architecture. Estonia is one of Europe’s greenest countries with over half of the country covered in forest.

Agricultural film locations include fields of wheat, barley, rapeseed, potatoes, oats, peas, and rye. Estonia mines oil shale, and peat. Factories produce telecommunications, textiles, chemical products, ships, electronics, and transportation. Energy locations include oil shale-fired power plants.

Estonia is a small country so all locations can be reached within a 4 hour drive from Tallinn.

Azrael (2024), Tenet (2020), and The Amazing Race 15 (2009) filmed in Estonia.

Film locations can be divided into the following counties: Harju, Hiiu, Ida-Viru, Jõgeva, Järva, Lääne, Lääne-Viru, Põlva, Pärnu, Rapla, Saare, Tartu, Valga, Viljandi, and Võru.

Located on the Baltic Sea, the beautiful medieval capital of Tallinn is the largest city and the main production centre. Film locations of note include Tallinn Town Hall, Toompea Castle, Kadriorg Palace, St. Nicholas’ Church, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallinn TV Tower, Seaplane Harbour Museum, KGB Museum, National Library of Estonia, and the Walls of Tallinn. The Kumu Art Museum, and Science Centre AHHAA are examples of beautiful contemporary architecture. The Estonian Open Air Museum is an 18th-century fishing village complete with church, inn, schoolhouse, several mills, a fire station, and farmyards. Iru Power Plant is located on the outskirts of Tallinn. Muuga is a large ice-free container port. Tenet (2020) filmed several locations in Tallinn.

Tartu is the second largest city. Film locations of note include Town Hall Square, Estonian National Museum, University of Tartu, Old Observatory, Tagurpidi Maja upside down house, and the Tigutorn building.

Pärnu is a pretty seaside town known for its spas and beach. Pärnu Seawall is a promenade of piled up boulders that stretches a mile out to sea.

Lahemaa National Park, located in the north of the country, is known for its forests and bogs. It is home to a diversity of wildlife including wolves and bears. You can also find Palmse manor, Vihula manor, Kolga manor, and Sagadi manor inside the park.

Soomaa National Park, located in the south-western part of the country, is known for its forests and bogs. As well as being a home for elk, wild boar, beaver, lynx, wolves, and bear, the area is also an important sanctuary for migrating birds.

Matsalu National Park located in the west of the country is an important wetlands for migratory birds.

Estonia’s castles of note include Kuressaare Castle, Hermann Castle, Alatskivi Castle, and Taagepera Castle.

Lighthouses of note include Kõpu lighthouse, Kihnu lighthouse, Kiipsaare lighthouse, and Ruhnu lighthouse which was designed by Gustave Eiffel.

Waterfalls of note include Jägala waterfall, Keila waterfall, and Narva waterfall.

Ruumu has a Soviet-era abandoned prison camp that now rests underwater. The location is a popular spot for underwater photography.

The Museum of Soviet Vehicles in Järva-Jaani is home to a field of rusting Soviet-era vehicles.

Okta Centrum AS is an abandoned Soviet-era office building in Rapla.

Pühtitsa Convent is a Russian Orthodox convent.

Kreenholm Textile Factory is an abandoned industrial city located in Narva.

Kohtla Mining Park is a museum in a defunct oil shale mine.

The Narva Power Plants are located in Auvere.

Estonia Film Location Permits

Estonia is a very film friendly country. Tallinn requires permits to film in public spaces. Allow 40 days for permitting if filming will affect public transport lines. Allow 30 days if your shoot will end after 11pm. In all other cases, allow at least 2 weeks for processing. Most of the rest of Estonia does not require any special film permits. Our Estonian producer / fixer would consult with local municipalities to ensure all required permits are obtained. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

Estonia has a four-season continental climate. Summers (June to August) are warm with long daylight hours (18 hours in June). The mild summers mean that natural green looks don’t dry out as much as in other countries. Fall brings rains and colourful leaves. Winters are dark (as little as 5 hours of daylight) and snow-covered with ice roads opened between the mainland and the islands during the coldest months. Spring brings migratory birds and flowers in full bloom. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Estonia is known for the many music festivals it holds throughout the year. Tallinn Old Town Days medieval celebrations are held in June and the Ollesummer beer festival is held in July.

Most Estonians are non-religious. Christianity is the largest religion, so those holidays are observed.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Estonia.

Unique Local Stories

Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters.

If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch you ideas.

If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. Estonia trades in the Euro. It is generally more expensive than its Baltic neighbours but much less expensive than Scandinavian countries. Estonia’s limited film infrastructure means that the additional costs of bringing in crews and equipment need to be factored in. In any case, our Estonian fixer / service producer will negotiate deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget. See here for the current VAT rate.

Tax Incentives. Estonia offers a cash rebate of up to 30% for qualifying productions.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Estonia has a small pool of local directors, videographers and stills photographers. Estonian crews are known to be efficient, hard working and flexible with day rates and working hours. Department heads all speak fluent English. Crews are often sourced from other Baltic countries giving the region a depth of 5-6 good crews. It is recommended to bring in a 1st AD and an art director on more complicated jobs. Estonia’s close proximity to major European production centres allows easy access to those technical and creative crews.

Contact us if you are looking for a Tallinn based director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew in Estonia.

Talent is non-union. Day rates and buyouts are negotiable.

Estonian is the official language.

Estonians, a Finnic people, are the largest ethnic group. There is also a sizeable community of Russians. Best to cast non-Caucasian roles abroad. Estonia’s close proximity to major European production centres allows easy access to those pools of talent should you ever need to look further.

Estonia Film Equipment

Equipment. Estonia has a range of standard camera, grip and lighting equipment available locally. More sophisticated gear can be easily brought in from nearby Helsinki (70km ferry trip), Riga (300km drive), or major European production centres. For productions looking to bring in film equipment Estonia is an ATA carnet country.

Communication. Estonia is a technologically advanced country.

Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allows us to customise the right communications systems for every shoot.

Web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing.

For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple timezones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turnaround times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction in the Baltic region is of an international standard. Builds are very cost competitive. There are at least 4 very good art department teams. Of the Baltic states Latvia is traditionally the busiest with commercials whilst Lithuania does films and Estonia shoots the least of both.

Studios. Estonia has several studios including Tallinn Film Wonderland, Downtown Studios and XL Studios.

Post Production. Estonia has basic post facilities.

Visas & Work Permits

Estonia is a member of the Schengen Area. Work permits are not required to film in Estonia. Crew travelling on US passports can enter visa-free for periods of up to 90 days. Contact your closest Estonian embassy / representative for more information.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Locations are easy to reach. Estonia is a small country with a good network of well maintained roads. Regular ferries service Estonia’s many islands. Spring time access to the Soomaa wetland area is only possible by boat. Estonia is well serviced by several international and regional budget airlines.

Accommodation. Contact us for special rates at film friendly hotels in Tallinn. For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.

Final Notes

Safety. Estonia is a very safe and reliable filming centre. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time. Explore Tallinn.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Estonia, please see below:

Hire Estonia Production Support & Shooting Crew

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Estonia, please contact us.

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Estonia, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.