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Airports have often served as the filming locations for a variety of movies and television shows for decades.
Casablanca, Die Hard, and Catch Me If You Can are just a few of the blockbusters that have utilised airports as a unique backdrop. However, filming in an airport presents its own set of challenges and headaches, especially with a steady flow of passengers, strict airport restrictions, and security checkpoints. The following four helpful hints for easing the process for your next shoot, from application to filming.
In order to make the filming process as smooth and painless as possible, it is essential that the airport staff is given notice. Please bear in mind the consideration that there may be other projects being filmed in the exact location during your desired film dates. Just like having to book a location for a wedding or party, film crews need to make the right arrangements with the airport prior to their arrival. In addition, the airport team will want to prepare for the filming by taking the necessary steps to cordon off the area or redirect passenger traffic.
Smaller scale projects, including documentaries, basic commercials, or corporate, the airport should be notified at least five full business days before filming is expected to begin. The more complex projects will require a longer period of notice, up to several months in advance.
Location managers and film crews should remember that they are not given a free pass through security. The security process remains the same as for those passengers going on holiday. All crew members and film equipment will need to be checked through the same screening procedures before being allowed admittance to the airport gates.
Fortunately, there are permits that can be obtained to allow certain equipment pieces and liquids through the checkpoints. Make sure that the permit is collected prior to making the attempt through security, since these items will be prohibited otherwise. Likewise, ensure that all crew members always have their passport with them. The UK Department of Transport establishes this requirement, and it cannot be neglected for filming crews.
Production companies are responsible for clearing all the necessary rights for featuring a company’s brand and logo within the film. Any passing shots of specific airline check-in desks or staff members, even in the background, must be cleared as well. Typically, the airport team will be able to give film crews a list of the needed contact details, which will allow communication to these airline partners and gain their approval for being featured in the film. Before these rights are obtained, filming should not occur.
Another responsibility placed on the shoulders of the production company is obtaining insurance for the film unit. Depending on the scale and type of the permit, there are varying fees that must be paid. For example, a small scale permit with a minimal crew will cost £2350 plus VAT for an eight-hour work day. Yet, larger permits for big productions could run up to £13,000. It is important to be aware of the permit fees and insurance costs before shooting starts. Since rules and policies can vary depending on the airport desired for filming, it is important to check with every airport before planning to begin filming. That being said, the mentioned tips are universal and should be taken into consideration for every airport filming location.
Following these guidelines and gaining the assistance of the airport staff will create a more pleasant filming experience for all involved.