Escaping London. The Secret to Budget-Friendly Filming Beyond the City...

Rosie Portal
Senior Producer

Location, location, location!

…a very familiar phrase but one that certainly rings true, especially in the filming industry. Born and raised in London, I was thrown into the whirlwind that is production in the most thriving area of the country - or so I thought. Now, having been in the industry for nearly 12 years I was, somewhat naively, unaware of the massive benefits of shooting outside of London. Concentrating on the fact that I didn’t want my budget to be taken up by large crew and cast travel costs, accommodation fees, overtime etc. Since being part of Thin Reel and aligning with their ‘agile production’ values, I realise that this was not quite the right mindset. 

Gone are the days of bloated crews with unnecessary people on set, parking nightmares (sometimes literally for us producers!) for the lighting trucks and tech vehicles, huge location costs for permits, houses etc. Instead, the councils actively encourage filming and are on your side! The location choices are endless and crews are all local people with all the same knowledge and less diary pencils! 

We recently shot a large, global campaign for an international client who wanted high end London locations - we found them, in Southampton. We could still use our local crew as it was only a 45 minute drive (quicker than some commutes from different areas of London!) We could car share, use all our own kit so no need for massive kit trucks and put some money back into the local community. The location costs as well were minimal compared to doing the same shoot in London. We had a location manager, did some scouting and found many hidden, local gems. 

Approx 20 crew, 3 shoot days, both stills and filming shooting side by side and different set ups for a global, nutrition brand.

The Breakdown

Saving £££

The savings made here from location fees alone would more than cover necessary accommodation or travel costs for cast and crew. Even once casting, styling, make up, catering, kit and all the other essentials were covered we still managed to come in under budget. 

Not only was the budget less than it would have been shooting in London, most importantly, the client were blown away with the end result and signed it off after one round of editing. Thin Reel shoot in a fast and effective way, meaning the client walked away with 200+ stills, a 60 second hero video, 5 x social videos and a whole asset bank of short fully, graded ready to go clips from 3 x cameras (350+ clips) . There was 1 x client on set over the three days, 2 x account managers and the rest was made up of necessary crew and cast. 

This is the way to shoot. Not only saving on costs but creating a much more sustainable and long term solution for the advertising industry. Giving clients and brands a fresh look, with unique locations that haven’t been desaturated by overuse. Most importantly creating high quality content for our clients, without making them sweat over the £££’s.

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