Scotland is known for its wild coastline, rugged mountains, rolling hills with roaming sheep, impressive castles, picturesque villages, and vibrant cities.
Edinburgh and Glasgow are the main production centres and all needs to travel from there.
Cost & Rebates
Scotland is a relatively expensive place to shoot due to the high cost of locations, talent and crews. Scotland also trades in the Great Britain Pound. Any locations requiring travel outside of Glasgow or Edinburgh are an additional cost to filming. Films that pass the cultural test or qualify as a co-production are eligible for 25% UK Film Tax Relief of the qualifying UK production spend.
When To Shoot
Scotland is generally colder than the rest of the UK, especially in the more northerly regions. The west tends to be wetter and warmer than the cool, dry east. In Highland areas, snow is common in winter from December to March, and fog and mist may occur at any time of year. April to September is the best time to shoot with long daylight hours especially in the north where it stays light almost to midnight. September to March is wet and cold but is also the best time to photograph the Aurora Borealis.
Generally no permits are required for short-term filming. Crews travelling on US passports can enter visa-free for stays of up to 6 months. Long-term filming needs to be run by Creative Scotland and the British Film Commission. Contact your local British High Commission for more information.
Cast, Crew & Equipment
Scotland has a small but good local pool of directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Scotland offers a good depth of experienced key crews. Day rates are flexible and hours are negotiable. It’s possible to use a mix of union and non-union crew. All crew need to come from Glasgow or Edinburgh. There is no crew base in the north of Scotland. If you need to look further, Scotland’s close proximity to London allows easy access to those technical and creative crews. Talent is both union and non-union. Buyouts are possible and costs are negotiable. Usage is generally based on a basic studio fee plus a percentage based on territories. Good depth and standard of locally available camera, grip and lighting equipment. Hire companies tend to be part of nationwide groups so it’s possible to source within any branch of their organization. There are also many smaller local providers including advanced drone systems for aerial filming. Some specialized equipment needs to be brought in from abroad. Phantom camera, Technocrane and tracking vehicle / low loader need to come from London or Manchester. For productions looking to bring in film equipment Scotland is an ATA carnet country.