Switzerland 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 Switzerland? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.
Filming in Switzerland
For an introduction to shooting in Switzerland see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, fringes, premiums, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.
Switzerland Film Locations
Switzerland is a landlocked Central European country known for its snow-capped mountains, year-round glaciers, sprawling ski areas, traditional wooden chalets, winding mountain roads and tunnels, mountain railroad viaducts, deep blue lakes, green meadows, deep forests, rushing rivers, castles, museums, churches, charming mountain villages, bunkers, and luxurious houses.
Geneva and Zurich are the main production centres where film crew and equipment are based.
Agricultural film locations include farms that produce dairy products such as cheese and chocolate, as well as beef cattle farms, and vineyards. Switzerland’s high-tech manufacturing industry produces watches, precision measuring instruments, musical instruments, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. Banking services and tourism are important sectors of the economy. Energy locations include oil and gas fired power plants, nuclear power plants, and hydroelectric dams.
Switzerland has hosted productions including The Amazing Race 31 (2019), Phantom Thread (2017), Snowden (2016), The Amazing Race 28 (2016), Point Break (2015), The Amazing Race 24 (2014), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), The Amazing Race 22 (2013), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), Contagion (2011), The Amazing Race 18 (2011), The Informant! (2009), The Amazing Race 14 (2009), Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005), Syriana (2005), The Bourne Identity (2002), Band of Brothers (2001), GoldenEye (1995), Phenomena (1985), and Goldfinger (1964).
Film locations can be divided by the following regions:
This southwestern region includes the cantons of Geneva, Vaud, and Valais.
Geneva is a French influenced city located on Lake Geneva. It is the headquarters of Europe’s United Nations and the Red Cross. It is a major global centre for banking and finance. The city is also famous for luxury watchmaking. Geneva film locations include the Geneva Water Fountain, Palace of Nations United Nations Office, St Pierre Cathedral, Basilica Notre-Dame, Russian Orthodox Church, International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Musée Ariana, Patek Philippe Museum, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Musée d’ethnographie de Genève, Natural History Museum of Geneva, Barbier-Mueller Museum, International Museum of the Reformation, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Victoria Hall, La Tulipe building, University of Geneva, and Conservatory and Botanical Garden. Snowden (2016), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Contagion (2011), and Syriana (2005) filmed in Geneva.
Lausanne is a French influenced city located on Lake Geneva. It is home to the International Olympic Committee. Film locations include Olympic Museum, Platforme 10 arts district, Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts, Rolex Learning Center, Lausanne Cathedral, Château Saint-Maire, Beau-Rivage Palace, Palais de Rumine, Palais de Justice de Montbenon, Lausanne Opera House, Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, and Tuilière Stadium.
Nyon is the headquarters of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), and the European Club Association (ECA).
Castles of note include Château Chillon, Château de Tourbillon, Valère Castle, Aigle Castle, Yverdon Castle, Vufflens Castle, Stockalper Palace, Champvent Castle, and Grandson Castle.
CERN is the site of the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and highest-energy particle collider.
Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet is located in Le Brassus.
Hotel Belvédère is a picture perfect mountain location that sits on a hairpin turn of Furka Pass. Hotel Belvédère featured in Goldfinger (1964).
Zermatt is a mountain resort renowned for skiing, climbing and hiking. It is the highest winter sports area in the Alps. The iconic Matterhorn, rising up in the background, is the world’s most photographed mountain. The Matterhorn Glacier has year-round skiing.
Verbier ski resort is known for its extensive steep and backcountry terrain.
Saas-Fee ski area is popular with intermediate skiers. Glacier skiing is available all year round. Action sequences skiing through snow caves can be filmed. Drehrestaurant Allalin is the world’s highest revolving restaurant.
Crans-Montana ski area’s south-facing slopes get more sunlight than any other Swiss ski resort.
Monte Rosa is the highest peak in Switzerland.
The Aletsch glacier is the largest in the Alps at 23 km long. For film crews, it is one of the more easy to access glaciers in the world.
Grimsel Pass is a mountain road that crosses the Bernese Alps.
The spectacular Lavaux vineyards are set against a mountain and lake backdrop.
The Blue Lake in Arolla is a beautiful glacial mountain lake.
Grande Dixence Dam is Europe’s largest dam. Mauvoisin Dam is another dam in this region.
This western central region includes the cantons of Bern, Solothurn, Fribourg, Neuchatel, and Jura.
Bern, located on a bend in the Aare River, is Switzerland’s defacto capital. Film locations of note include the Old City, Zytglogge clock tower, Käfigturm tower, Parliament Building, Bern Town Hall, Bern Cathedral, French Church, Zentrum Paul Klee museum designed by Renzo Piano, Museum of Fine Arts, Bern Historical Museum, Einsteinhaus museum, Natural History Museum, Museum of Communication, Swiss Alpine Museum, Bern Theatre, University of Bern campus, Jegenstorf Castle, Laupen Castle, Wankdorf Stadium, and PostFinance-Arena.
The city of Fribourg is a beautiful medieval city on the winding Sarine River.
The town of Gruyères is the cheese capital of Switzerland. Film locations include the Château de Gruyères, and H.R. Giger Museum.
The resort town of Interlaken is nestled between the emerald coloured waters of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
The Giessbach Hotel featured in Phantom Thread (2017), and Band of Brothers (2001).
Iseltwald is a pretty mountain town located on Lake Brienz.
The village of Lauterbrunnen sits nestled in a valley featuring rocky cliffs and the roaring, 300m-high Staubbach Falls.
Mürren is a picturesque car-free mountain village that can only be reached by train or cableway.
Castles of note include Oberhofen Castle, Burgdorf Castle, Wimmis Castle, and Thun Castle.
Ballenberg is an open-air museum in Hofstetten bei Brienz.
Gstaad is an upscale resort town.
Grindelwald, Wengen, and the Jungfrau is a ski area known for its long runs and reliable snow. The Eiger is a famous Alpine peak in this region. The summit of the Schilthorn has a revolving restaurant. First Cliff Walk in Grindelwald offers spectacular mountain views. The Jungfraujoch Sphinx Observatory and Jungfrau Railway are impressive film locations. The Lauberhorn ski races take place in January. Grindelwald was filmed as the backdrop of the planet Alderaan in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005).
Adelboden-Lenk ski area is popular with nordic skiers.
The Trümmelbach Falls are easily accessible subterranean waterfalls.
Oeschinen Lake is a beautiful film location.
Trift Bridge is an impressive pedestrian suspension bridge.
Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant, and Gösgen Nuclear Power Plant are located in this region.
This northwestern region includes the cantons of Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft, and Aargau.
Basel is a German influenced city, located on the Rhine River. Film locations include the Kunstmuseum Basel, Beyeler Foundation, Museum Tinguely, Schaulager Museum, Toy Worlds Museum, Museum of Cultures, Natural History Museum, Museum Pantheon Basel, Basel Minster, Elisabethenkirche, St Paul’s Church, Spalentor gate, Basel Town Hall, University of Basel campus, Basel SBB railway station, St Jakob Park Stadium, and Roche Tower designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Basel hosts Art Basel in September.
Baden is a beautiful city with a covered wooden bridge over the Limmat River.
Schloss Habsburg was the originating seat of the House of Habsburg. Other castles of note include Aarburg Castle, Hallwyl Castle,
Beznau Nuclear Power Plant, and Leibstadt Nuclear Power Plant are located in this region.
This northeastern region includes the canton of Zürich.
Zürich is a German influenced city located on Lake Zürich. It is Switzerland’s largest city. Zürich is a global centre for banking and finance. Film locations of note include the picturesque Altstadt, Rathaus, Grossmünster, Fraumünster, Predigerkirche, St Peter Church, Zürich Opera House, Schauspielhaus Zürich, Kunsthaus Zürich, Pavillon Le Corbusier, University of Zürich, Swiss National Museum, FIFA Museum, Rietberg Museum, Museum of Design, Flieger Flab Museum, Haus Konstruktiv, No Show Museum, Zürich Tram Museum, North American Native Museum, Chinese Garden, Letzigrund Stadium, Zürich Hauptbahnhof, and Zürich Airport. Dolder Grand Hotel featured in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011). Zürich was also filmed for The Informant! (2009), The Bourne Identity (2002), and Phenomena (1985).
Winterthur is a German influenced city. Film locations include Winterthur Town Hall, Kunstmuseum Winterthur, and Swiss Science Center Technorama.
Rhine Falls are an impressive film location.
This central region includes the cantons of Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden, Nidwalden, Lucerne, and Zug.
Lucerne is a German influenced city that sits amid snowcapped mountains on Lake Lucerne. Film locations include Kapellbrücke covered wooden footbridge, Spreuer covered wooden footbridge, Museggmauer city walls, Lucerne Town Hall, Jesuit Church, Church of St Leodegar, Swiss Museum of Transport, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne Nature Museum, Richard Wagner Museum, Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre, Luzern Station, and Swissporarena Stadium. Mount Pilatus overlooks Lucerne.
Stoosbahn Funicular connects the Hintere Schlattli with the mountain resort of Stoos.
Engelberg-Titlis ski area is popular with off-piste skiers.
Andermatt-Sedrun is an extensive ski area.
Picturesque lakeside mountain towns of note include Zug, Lungern, and Sisikon.
Gotthard Base Tunnel is a 57.09 km (35.5 mi) long railway tunnel through the Alps.
This eastern region includes the cantons of St. Gallen, Thurgau, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Glarus, Schaffhausen, and Graubünden.
Graubünden is famous for its winding mountain roads with stunning vistas such as San Bernardino Pass and Oberalp Pass. The train over the Landwasser Viaduct and Brusio Spiral Viaduct are also magnificent film locations.
St Moritz is one of the world’s best luxury ski resorts. Olympic venues include Olympia Bob Run St Moritz-Celerina bobsleigh track, St Moritz Olympic Ice Rink, downhill runs, and cross-country skiing area. St Moritz hosts the Snow Polo World Cup in January, the White Turf horse race event in February, and St Moritz Ice Cricket in February.
Davos is one of Europe’s largest luxury winter sports areas. Additional film locations include the Kirchner Museum, InterContinental Davos, and Vaillant Arena. Davos hosts the World Economic Forum in January.
Chur is a beautiful mountain city located on the Plessur River in the Rhine Valley.
Bernina Express is a mountain train that runs from either Davos or Chur to Tirano in Italy.
Appenzell is a picturesque town located at the foot of the Alpstein mountains. Nearby you can find the old Aescher inn, tucked into the side of a sheer cliff.
Arosa Lenzerheide is a popular ski area.
Flims Laax Falera is one of Europe’s leading freestyle resorts.
Seerenbach Falls are a spectacular waterfall film location with an old wooden chalet in the foreground.
Maienfeld is a picturesque mountain town.
Abbey Library of Saint Gall is a beautiful film location.
The Julier Tower is a theatre located in the heart of the Alps.
Old Rhine Bridge is a beautiful covered wooden bridge.
Castles of note include Ortenstein Castle, and Tarasp Castle.
The Walensee was filmed for Point Break (2015).
This southern central region includes the canton of Ticino.
Locarno is an Italian influenced city located on Lake Maggiore. Known for its abundant sunlight, the area has palms, lemon trees, bougainvilleas, and vineyards. Film locations include Piazza Grande, Madonna del Sasso sanctuary, Castello Visconteo, and Lido Locarno lakeside swimming pool.
Lake Lugano is dotted with many pretty lakeside towns such as Brè, Gandria, and Morcote.
Gotthard Pass is a road that zig-zags down the Tremola valley.
Castles of Bellinzona are a group of fortifications located around the town of Bellinzona.
Lavertezzo village in the Verzasca valley is a pretty film location.
Verzasca Dam featured in GoldenEye (1995). Luzzone Dam is another dam in this region.
Switzerland Film Location Permits
Switzerland is a very film-friendly country. Permits can be obtained to shoot in most public places quickly and easily. Privately owned locations are often very accommodating. Please contact us for location specific information.
When To Shoot?
Winters (December to March) are cold and snowy. Spring (April to May) has mountain flowers in full bloom. Summers (June to August) are warm, with many blue sky days. Fall (September / October) sees leaves changing colour. For monthly weather statistics please see here.
Switzerland hosts hundreds of festivals and events throughout the year including:
• Lucerne Festival features classical music throughout the year.
• Davos World Economic Forum in January
• St Moritz Snow Polo World Cup in January.
• St Moritz White Turf horse race event in February.
• St Moritz Ice Cricket in February.
• Basler Fasnacht in March.
• Swiss Yodelling Festival in June.
• Montreux Jazz Festival is a music festival in July.
• Art Basel is an international art fair in September.
• Unspunnenfest takes place once every 12 years.
• Fête des Vignerons is a winegrower’s festival that takes place every 25 years.
Many Swiss 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 Switzerland.
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. Switzerland is one of the more expensive places to shoot in the world, particularly for large, complicated shoots. Switzerland trades in the Swiss Franc. Our Swiss service producer / fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.
Tax Incentives. Entitled the Switzerland Film Investment Refund (PICS), the scheme allows co-productions to claim back between 20% and 40% on all eligible local expenditures. The fund has a per-project cap and minimum local spend requirement. There is no service tax levied on foreign companies purchasing film making services in Switzerland. Coproduction agreements exist with some countries.
Film Crew & Talent
Crews. Switzerland has a small but good pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Local crews are non-union. Crews are of a very high technical and professional standard. All key crews speak fluent English and production staff are multilingual. Switzerland’s close proximity to major European production centres allows easy access to those crews should you ever need to look further.
Contact us if you are looking for a Geneva, Zurich or Bern 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 for your shoot in Switzerland.
Talent is non-union and buyouts are negotiable.
German, French, Italian are the official languages. English is widely spoken.
The Swiss are the largest ethnic group. Switzerland is also home to a large percentage of resident foreigners, most from other European countries. Switzerland is also home to many celebrities, which is one of the main reasons productions shoot in Switzerland.
Fringes. Swiss law requires that crews be on the service company’s payroll. Quotes are all inclusive and there are no hidden extras.
Premiums. The standard length shooting day is 9 hours. Overtime hours are negotiated on a per project basis.
Switzerland Film Equipment
Equipment. Switzerland has all the standard camera, lighting and grip equipment you would expect from a sophisticated western filming centre. Its close proximity to other European production centres makes sourcing additional equipment an easy process. For productions looking to bring in film equipment, Switzerland is an ATA carnet country.
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.
Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production
Art department and set construction. The standard of construction is high but it is expensive. Some good local art department is available and the rest can be easily brought in from abroad.
Studios. Switzerland offers several high quality facilities.
Post Production. Switzerland has all of the standard post facilities such as sound design, editing, and a film lab.
Visas & Work Permits
Although Switzerland is not a member of the EU, it is a Schengen Area member country. US crews do not require visas or work permits to enter and film in Switzerland for stays of up to 90 days.
Transport & Accommodation
Transportation Infrastructure. Switzerland has an excellent and highly reliable network of well paved roads, tunnels, train networks, and airports. The country is also well serviced by several international and budget airlines.
Accommodation. Contact us for recommended film friendly hotels in Switzerland. For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.
Safety. Switzerland is a very safe and reliable filming centre. Switzerland has remained a neutral country for almost two-hundred years. See here for up to date travel advice.
Down Time. Hit the slopes. Try some local delicacies such as fondue, raclette, rösti, älplermagronen, zürcher geschnetzeltes, papet vaudois, and Swiss Vermicelles.
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 Switzerland, please see below:
Hire Switzerland Production Support & Shooting Crew
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Switzerland, please contact us.
If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Switzerland, 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.