Alternative film studios on the rise amid COVID pandemic

Ever imagined transforming an empty school into a hospital set? Or an office block into a police station? Well, it’s time to think outside the box. 

Despite all the challenges and obstacles the coronavirus pandemic has brought on the film industry, opportunities for venues never considered before as potential film studios are on the rise.

From the more conventional such as period properties and event spaces, to the more unconventional, like old brewery sites and medieval theme parks, Destinations Rising can help you find alternative studios on your doorstep. 

Why do it? It’s a win, win. Venues that have been forced to shut down due to the pandemic are reopening their doors to big production companies like Netflix, Amazon and Sky, all while increasing prestige, promotion and gaining revenue. 

UK Locations, a supplier of shoot-ready sites, recorded a 50 per cent increase of people registering new locations during the pandemic, with venues usually difficult to access, now keen to offer their space for film productions. 

Professionals in the industry have also noticed that alternative studios are being picked not only for their creative potential, but also to act as COVID bubbles or zones. So remember, the bigger the better, as film sites must respect coronavirus protocols and guarantee social distancing. 

Examples of Alternative Studios 

An example of an unexpected site turned into a film studio is an old brewery in south London. While the venue awaits re-development, it has become the shooting site for Sky´s series Temple; the story of a surgeon working in an illegal clinic under London’s Temple tube station.  

A school or office block might not sound that alternative, but when left empty, can be transformed into multiple film sets. For example, an office block in Manchester is being used both as a police station and a Criminal Investigation Department for an ITV crime drama. Same with empty schools, which are being turned into hospital, domestic and police sets all at once.  

Period properties usually considered too big or expensive to film at prior coronavirus are now in demand, as their large spaces are exactly what film productions are looking for to guarantee social distancing while shooting. For example, a beautiful French castle near Birmingham, usually considered too “grand”, has become the ideal place for entire film crews to create COVID bubbles. 

Alternative film studios on the rise amid COVID pandemic - Blog

Minimalist sites like bus stops and airports are also being used as alternative studios, now that they are less busy due to travel restrictions. Believe it or not, Netflix is shooting a drama at a bus station in Preston, and SkyOne is using Manchester’s private airport as an alternative shooting site. 

Alternative film studios on the rise amid COVID pandemic - Blog

In other words, one cannot fall short with ideas. Venues you might have never imagined as film sets could very well be exactly what a production company is looking for. It is time to start exploring alternative studios in your location and be surprised by your own potential to become a leading destination for film production. 

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