The great outdoors
What’s so good about filming outdoors, whether it be the rolling hills of the Sussex Downs or the Skyrim vibes of the New Forest, is that it gives you a lot more creative freedom. Sure, a studio that is equipped with all the latest technical wizardry is fine, but some of the best and most aesthetically pleasing videos Perspective Pictures has seen, has been done in wide open spaces and city streets.
First of all, if you’re a small production team with a limited budget, filming outside is the ideal avenue to go down if you want to create some stunning visuals. You need to remember that when it comes to filming and photography, natural light is guaranteed to be your best friend. The spring, summer and autumn months especially offer a wide range of natural light to play with, but even in the dark depths of winter you can create something mind blowing, you just need to set the mood you’re looking for with your production lighting.
So, location wise you’re spoilt for choice in the UK. Starting off with the rural splendour of Britain, aside from privately owned estates, most places fall under the control of the local county council or the Forestry Commission, and generally, if you’re a small team you won’t have to pay anything.
As an example, one of Britain’s biggest forests is the New Forest in Hampshire; its ever changing and breathtaking scenery is a favourite of many a photographer and filmmaker out there. Filming at the New Forest is encouraged by the district council thanks to its partnership with Creative England, however if you want to capture the wide open parts of the forest you would need to contact the Forestry Commission. Many other parts of the UK such as the Yorkshire Moors or the Scottish Highlands generally have a similar policy, and depending on how minimal your team and the filming you want to do is, you don’t really need to contact the authorities at all.
There are a variety of other free locations; some small estates and farms can offer the advantage of filming on their land for free (if you ask nicely). However, moving away from the countryside and into something a bit more urban, depending again on the amount you wish to film, city parklands, docklands and other public spots won’t charge for filming. Housing estates too are ideal places if you want that city vibe. If you want somewhere gritty then London and other bigger cities like Manchester and Birmingham offer a wide variety of choice.
More upmarket and traditional urban spots are easy to find, particularly in counties like Sussex, Kent and Dorset, with their many Georgian market towns. Taking Sussex as an example, Brighton and Hove, a long standing creative hub, features a ton of perfect spots for filming, from graffiti strewn arches and alleyways to pristine Georgian and Victorian streets. In Brighton, as a rule you can film in most of these spots without needing to shell out any money, even outside local businesses, in these cases it just requires a little gentle persuasion to the proprietor. Brighton is a particularly encouraging town for filmmakers, just take a look through the Film City Brighton site.
With the production quality of online videos increasing year by year, as Mendip Media pointed out, now is the time to get truly creative. It’s time to start filming outdoors today!