Looking for the perfect film location may sound exciting and glamorous, but there’s a lot more to it than you’d think. We have compiled a list of what makes the cut with some help from the fantastic Kraken Films and Dark Wave Film.
The effects of COVID-19 have made an already long list of requirements, even more of a minefield to ensure the crew’s safety at all times. Speaking with Jo Rae, Director of Kraken Films, there are so many elements to now consider:
“Due to the nature of shooting in this new normal – the larger the location size the better. More rooms mean the ability to isolate the different departments and to cut down on surface contact on set.”
This added need of larger sized rooms, already adds on to the want for excess spaces for the rest of the crew, Saba Kia, Director at Dark Wave Film explained:
“When considering a location, beyond the creative aspects, I look at it practically and logistically. Can we accommodate the cast/crew/equipment/technical vehicles etc… Do we have easy access to bathrooms and other rooms for departments such as Hair and Make-Up and Costume? Are the locations authentic to the piece we are shooting whether that be set in a certain period or a derelict crumbling manor house.”
These are all great tips, especially for venues looking to rent their beautiful sites out for use in films, however, as a location scout where do you even start?! Jo at Kraken Films explained that many productions want to remain in and around the M25 for logistical and monetary reasons. She also listed the following:
1) Creative/aesthetic look - matching the requirements of the script.
2) Cost – this can often make or break using a location
3) Working ethernet and WIFI – in this digital age, no location should be without the best WIFI/broadband they can afford – Production will expect this as part of the overall location fee.
4) If the location is a house/building WC facilities should be made available where possible
Taking all these points into consideration, we found 3 great locations within and around the South East that we feel are definitely worth a look!
Firstly and most definitely the Best in Berkshire and surrounding areas, we have Lillibrooke Manor. This incredible film location based in Berkshire is every film locator’s dream – with numerous rooms to accommodate the crew, as well as plenty of on-site space within the venues sprawling 15 acres.
This huge venue can ensure parking, craft set up and we are confident there is more than enough room here to house everyone from make up to movie stars! With its convenient location on the corridor of major motorways and close to Heathrow, it’s super easy to reach, however, hidden away enough that sound issues of flight paths and traffic won’t be an issue.
Now, let’s get to the actual venue itself – breath-taking and mind blowing are two expressions that come to mind! With its sweeping drive, paddocks and fields running either side, you arrive (in your car or horse and carriage!) at the 15th Century red bricked Manor House and instantly feel as if you are either Lord of Lady of the Manor.
Lillibrooke Manor is home to the largest barn within the UK which can seat up to 170 people. The moment you walk through the doors you take a step back in time and it’s not hard to imagine the centuries of feasts and festivities that have taken place here.
There is a plethora of options within Lillibrooke Manor to film and / or use for crew from their 2 barns, the impeccably manicured cloister gardens bursting with bountiful flowers and shrubs, through to the charming Cottage Room and Engine House. We strongly feel that this isn’t just the Best in Berkshire, it’s a strong contender for being one of the best locations in the UK.
Moving into Surrey, just off the M25 junction we find the spectacular Painshill Park, conveniently close to both Gatwick and Heathrow this venue is perfectly located. This remarkable 18th Century location consists of 158 acres of dramatic and breath-taking landscape and vistas. Featuring formal gardens through to alpine valleys and delightful follies, this film location in Surrey is a rare find. Painshill is home to a Ruined Abbey, Gothic Temple, Turkish Tent as well as a crystal grotto – that doesn’t include the miles of gardens, woodland, vineyard and 14 acre lake!
There is plentiful space here for crew, craft, parking and more. The huge diversity of this location is inspiring and it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most popular locations in Surrey for filming.
Last but by no means least, we travel to Midhurst where we find Baronial Court Estate, nestled in the South Downs Park with its modest 16500 acres, only an hour and 20 minutes from London and easy access to the A3, A272 and M27.
This huge and decadent Estate with its unique architecture and lovingly restored house is a spectacular choice for a film location. The diversity of the Estate ensures that as a location, you have an overabundance of options from croquet lawns, formal gardens, lakes, rivers through to a stunning Lime tree avenue, an arboretum and more.
As well as the vaulted wine cellar, Tudor kitchen and polo club, Baronial Court itself dates back to 1875 and has been extensively restored and refurbished offering vast fireplaces, vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows. Each room is drenched in opulence, elegance and beauty and large enough to accommodate all that a film brings with it! With the front lawn alone being able to hold up to 600 people, we know that this location will appeal to many film location companies on so many levels.