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U.S.A – Illinois

Illinois 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 Illinois? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.

Filming in Illinois

For an introduction to shooting in Illinois 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.

Illinois Film Locations

Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, offers filmmakers and photographers a wide variety of looks.

Chicago is the third largest city in the United States. The city boasts an iconic skyline made up of a diversity of groundbreaking, original buildings by many important architects. Examples include Marina City, The Chicago Merchandise Mart, John Hancock Center, Wills Tower (formerly Sears Tower) with its Skydeck Ledge, reflective Cloud Gate sculpture, Crown Fountain, Jay Pritzker Pavilion designed by Frank Gehry, and the recently built Trump International Hotel & Tower. A great deal of Chicago’s finer buildings can be seen from the Chicago River. Chicago is home to a variety of interesting neighborhoods including the skyscrapers and museums of the Magnificent Mile, a vibrant Chinatown, Bohemian Wicker Park, and South Side Chicago run-down urban looks. Lake Michigan and Lincoln Park give the city natural beauty. Chicago is home to several historic sporting venues including Soldier Field, Wrigley Field and the United Center. Chicago is the start of the famed Route 66.

A short drive from Chicago you can find Starved Rock State Park, Baha’i Temple in Winnetka, Arlington Park Racecourse, Six Flags Great America, covered bridges, Matthiessen State Park, Kenilworth and Lake Forest mansions. Illinois is home to a great collection of Frank Lloyd Wright houses.

Other Illinois locations of interest to include: Mississippi River and riverboat Spirit of Peoria, Galena’s Mid-West Main Street, small industrial cities and Rust Belt looks, Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway, Wildlife Prairie State Park, Shawnee National Forest, Garden of the Gods, historic forts, ski resorts, Illinois Amish Country, university and college campuses, lakes, wineries, golf courses, and Springfield State Capitol building.

Agricultural film locations of note include corn fields, soybean fields, and apple orchards.

Illinois has hosted many films including Groundhog Day (1993), The Fugitive (1993), Home Alone (1990), Miracle on 34th Street, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Wayne’s World (1992), A League of Their Own (1992), Uncle Buck, Ordinary People, Flatliners (1990) and The Informant! to name a few.

Wayne’s World (1992) filmed in Chicago, Aurora, Berwyn, and Cicero.

Groundhog Day (1993) filmed in Woodstock, Algonquin, Rockford, Waukegan, and Cary.

A League of Their Own (1992) filmed in locations such as Wrigley Field, Illinois Railway Museum, McCormick Museum, and Berwyn.

Illinois Film Location Permits

The permitting process varies depending upon what part of the state you are shooting in and the type of permit you require. In general, permitting is a quick, easy and inexpensive process. Chicago city permits typically take 3 days to process, depending on the specifics of the shoot. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

Most of Illinois has a humid continental climate with hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. Southern Illinois has a humid subtropical climate with more moderate winters. Illinois experiences thunderstorms and tornadoes which peak in April and June.

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

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.

Illinois Tax Incentives For Filming

Illinois offers a transferable tax credit of 30% on qualifying local spend. An additional 15% may be earned on the labor expenditures generated by the employment of residents of geographic areas of high poverty or high unemployment.

Illinois Film Crew & Talent

Crew. Illinois has a good pool of local key and supporting crew.

Contact us if you are looking for a Chicago or Springfield 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 Illinois.

Talent. Chicago is a large and diverse city with talent from all ethnicities and walks of life available. Movie character stereotypes include big moustachioed Chicago Bears fans, North Shore preppy types, South Side of Chicago rappers, storm watchers, and farmers in the south of the state.

Illinois Film Equipment

Equipment. Chicago is a major production centre with all of standard and specialised camera, grip ad lighting equipment required for smaller and larger shoots.

Communications. 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.

Illinois Studios & Post Production

Studios. Illinois has several studios to choose from. It has America’s largest studio space outside of Hollywood.

Illinois Film-Friendly Accommodation

Please contact us for recommended film friendly hotels in Chicago, Springfield and other areas of Illinois. Hotels of note include:

Warwick Allerton, Chicago

Final Notes

Safety. Illinois is a very safe and reliable place for foreign productions to shoot. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time. Pitcher of beer and Blues at Chicago’s Kingston Mines. Deep dish pizza.

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 Illinois, please see below:

Hire Illinois Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Illinois, 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.