Ukraine 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 the Ukraine? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.
Filming in the Ukraine
For an introduction to shooting in the Ukraine 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.
Ukraine Film Locations
Located at the crossroads of Russia and Europe, Ukraine offers a wealth of locations ranging from Soviet-era architecture to onion-domed churches, from heavy industry factories to medieval castles, from snow-covered mountains to abundant fields. Ukraine’s rich agriculture means visiting productions have miles of wheat, barley, corn, and sunflower fields to choose from.
Ukraine is a popular alternative to filming in Russia which is generally more expensive and harder to permit. It’s also a popular destination to film old-world European locations at a fraction of the cost of filming in Western Europe.
Ukraine has hosted hundreds of productions including Chernobyl, The Death of Stalin, Divergent, Transporter 3, House of Flying Daggers, and the classic Battleship Potemkin.
Ukrainian film locations can be divided by the following regions:
The capital Kiev is Ukraine’s main film production service centre and the main entry point by air. Kiev offers modern architecture such as the Institute for Nuclear Research, Soviet style apartment blocks, abandoned factories, film-friendly metro stations and airport, bridges, a huge interior bus parking lot, several new football stadiums, city parks, wide boulevards, museums and Russian Orthodox architecture. Onion-domed Orthodox buildings of note include Kiev Pechersk Lavra, Saint Sophia Cathedral, Saint Andrew’s Church, and Saint Volodymyr’s Cathedral. Other locations of interest to visiting productions include the Golden Gate, Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Motherland Monument, and the Soviet-era UFO-shaped Institute of Information.
A couple of hours drive from Kiev you can find the Chernobyl city of Pripyat. The Zone of Exclusion includes locations such as the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and new sarcophagus, an array of abandoned buildings (Polissya Hotel, USSR 16-story building, Avanhard Stadium, Soviet music school, Pripyat hospital), an overgrown amusement park, Buryakovka machinery graveyard, abandoned cargo port, and the Soviet-era Duga Radar Array (Russian Woodpecker). Nearby Slavutych was a city built to house families forced to evacuate Pripyat after the tragedy at Chernobyl.
The Strategic Missile Forces Base is a Cold War era museum near the town of Pobuzke.
The beautiful city of Lviv doubles well for Prague. Rynok Square is known for its Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo buildings. Other Lviv film locations of note include the Art Nouveau railway station, Lviv National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre, Potocki Palace, St. George’s Cathedral, Dominican Cathedral, Boim Chapel, and the Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Life. The House of Scientists has an impressive staircase ideal for a period drama shoot. Lviv enjoys close proximity to the Carpathian mountains which are known for their deep forests, beautiful lakes, traditional Carpathian wooden churches, and several ski resorts.
Other film locations of note in Western Ukraine include the famed Tunnel of Love, Chernivtsi National University, Pidhirtsi Castle, Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle, Palanok Castle, Olesko Castle, Lutsk Castle, and Khotyn Fortress.
Eastern Ukraine has a large ethnic Russian population. Kharkiv, Luhansk, and Donetsk are the largest cities in this region. Dnipropetrovsk is known for its Soviet-era State Circus building. The Museum of Zaporizhian Cossacks on Khortytsia Island is a reconstruction of a 16-18th century Cossack fortress.
The Black Sea city of Odessa is best known for the Potemkin Stairway, Odessa Opera House, and a film-friendly container port.
Also in southern Ukraine, the Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi fortress (or Akkerman fortress) is a coastal fortification, and the Oleshky Sands are an unexpected inland sand dune location.
Crimea is now part of Russia.
Ukraine Film Location Permits
With enough money and lead time, virtually any location is possible. Small shoots that do not require exclusive use of public property do not require permits. This includes shooting from a tripod. More complicated shoots such as those that need to control street traffic, metro stations or restricted zones require at least a week to permit. For productions that want to preserve several location options, since permits are often free, it’s common to reserve multiple locations until close to the shoot date. Please contact us for location specific information.
When To Shoot?
Ukraine has a four-season climate. Summers run from May to September and are hot and dry. Winters run from November to March and are bitterly cold and snow covered. The southern coast has more of a Mediterranean climate. For monthly weather statistics please see here.
Lviv City Day, Kiev Day, and Victory Day all take place in May.
Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in the Ukraine.
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. Ukraine is one of the more (if not the most) cost competitive film production centres in Europe. It’s particularly worth heading to the Ukraine for studio builds and locations that double for Russian looks. Our Ukrainian service producer / fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.
Tax Incentives. Ukraine offers a cash rebate of up to 25% for qualifying productions. This financial incentive is for feature films, television series, as well as music videos and commercials.
Film Crew & Talent
Crews. Ukraine has a small pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. There are some very experienced camera, lighting, grip and art department crews but less in special effects and table top. Most heads of department speak fluent English. Crews are non-union. Ukraine’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 Kiev 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 the Ukraine.
Talent. Productions that are talent heavy can make significant savings shooting in the Ukraine. Talent is non-union. Day rates charged are generally very flexible to the production’s budget. Most models and actors do not charge buyouts. With top models and celebrities being the obvious exception, the average price for a main part (key actor) varies from 250-600EUROS per shoot day, depending on how recognized the talent is. Featured extras and background actors usually charge no more than 100-200EUROS per shoot day, depending on the script requirements. An extra costs 15-25EUROS per shoot day, depending on the number of hours on set.
Ukraine offers mainly Slavic looking talent with Ukrainians and Russians being the main ethnic groups. There are also some minorities consisting primarily of immigrants from former Soviet states as well as countries formerly aligned with the Soviet Union but their small numbers mean that they are best suited for background roles. If your shoot requires a key actor or model of non-Caucasian appearance, we recommend you bring them in from abroad.
Ukraine Film Equipment
Equipment. All the standard film equipment (cameras, dollies, cranes, lenses) is available. Most camera and lighting equipment is supplied by Arri. Special systems such as Motion Control or Time-Slice need to be brought in from abroad.
For crews bringing in their own film equipment, Ukraine is an ATA carnet member country.
Illuminator is the official Panavision representative in the Ukraine and has camera, lighting and grip equipment.
Filmotechnic and Operatech have camera and high-end grip equipment including the Russian Arm, which was actually invented in the Ukraine.
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. Ukraine has very skilled art department crews experienced in building sets of enormous size and complexity including numerous miniatures.
Studios. There are three basic ex-Soviet era film studios. Dovzhenko Studio has one of the largest sound stages in the Ukraine. There are also several more recently built studio complexes in Kiev and Odessa.
Post Production. Ukraine has a few good post production facilities including Kiev Post Production, Post Modern and Cinnamon.
Visas & Work Permits
Visiting crews travelling on most western passports can enter visa-free for stays of up to 90 days. Work permits are not required to film in Ukraine.
Transport & Accommodation
Transportation Infrastructure. Main roads are of a good standard. Rural roads are slower going with many in disrepair. Ukraine is a large country so travel between major cities is best done by air. Several international airlines service flights to the Ukraine.
Accommodation. Contact us for recommended film friendly hotels in Kiev and other parts of the Ukraine. For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments. Hotels of note include:
Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.
Down Time. Visit the beautiful, less explored city of Lviv.
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 the Ukraine, please see below:
Hire Ukraine Production Support & Shooting Crew
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in the Ukraine, please contact us.
If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in the Ukraine, 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.