What you need to know about film production in Brighton
As a leading provider of high quality film and video production in Brighton and beyond, we like to think that we know a thing or two about what makes Brighton the ideal city to perfect your celluloid masterwork, whether that’s a humble TV advert, a punchy corporate film or a training video that sings.
So without further ado, here are our top tips for filming in Brighton and Hove.
What every budding Brighton filmmaker needs to know.
We know you’re busy, so here’s the skinny:
5 Top Reasons why Brighton is a Great Place to Make a Film
1. Wonderful locations and settings
We’re blessed with an abundance of amazing locations here, from unspoilt stretches of scenic countryside to dramatic cliffs, iconic landmarks and unique period buildings.
Unique Places and Spaces to Film in Brighton
Unlike many British coastal cities, Brighton has a huge array of distinctive, iconic buildings and public spaces to film in and around.
Some of our favourites include Brighton Beach itself, the Sealife Centre (both of which featured in the Who’s epic Mod rock flick Quadrophenia of course) the atmospherically ruined West Pier (always popular with budding Instagrammers, tourists and locals) and the latest addition to the cityscape, the BA i360, the world’s tallest moving viewing platform and ‘vertical pier’, no less.
Best of all perhaps is the Royal Pavilion. Built by John Nash as the summer residence of King George IV between 1815 and 1823, the Pavilion is easily one of Britain’s outstanding architectural gems, in the Pavilion’s own words ‘it is one of the most dazzling and exotic buildings in the British Isles’, which lends itself perfectly to period films, especially from the Georgian era.
2. Super easy access from London
Great roads and superior transport links make getting here and back from the capital a cinch. On a good day, you can hit London Victoria form Brighton in under an hour, and Gatwick Airport in 30 minutes, with solid connections to the likes of Eastbourne, Lewes and the Kent and Sussex coastline.
3. Great Weather (for Britain) Year-Round
With an annual average of over 1766 hours of sun light a year and only 31 inches of rain fall per year, Brighton offers superior conditions for filming than most of the UK, meaning you can maximise your day light shooting time and you can generally rely on a mild, dry climate without too much starting and stopping.
It’s not unusual for the barometer to creep into the teens in the winter months and the twenties during summer, making it a pleasant place to be working outdoors for you, your talent and your crew.
Not for nothing is Brighton one of the south coast’s premier coastal resorts after all. Oh yes, we do like to be beside the seaside indeed!
4. Film-Friendly Organisations to Work With
Working with Authorities for Filming and Film Production in Brighton
The creative industries are central to Brighton’s economic success of course, so film producers can look forward to a warm reception from the relevant authorities who are very used to dealing happily with all manner of filming requests.
Brighton’s friendly Film Office will likely be your first port of call for any public areas you want to film in.
Many of the city’s most iconic landmarks are privately owned, so this means you’ll need to contact the owners directly for these. This applies to the likes of Brighton Pier, the West Pier area, the Royal Pavilion, Museum and Art Gallery, the i360 and the Brighton Marina, among others.
You might also like to check out this older blog post about working with them harmoniously, what to expect in terms of lead times, protocols and access, and how to go about obtaining all the necessary permissions to ensure you have a stress-free film production.
Creative England are also a very helpful organisation when to comes to location scouting and general filming assistance in and around Brighton and the wider area, which of course includes Hove and charming Victorian seaside villages nearby, such as Rottingdean, complete with a duck pond, amphitheatre and windmill.
5. Quiet spaces for filming in Brighton
Bridgton’s a perennially popular, bustling city and seaside resort of course, but the good news is that there is no shortage of interesting and atmospheric places in Brighton where you can film in relative quiet, away from the crowds and the hubbub.
The city is chock full of characterful cafes (try Metrodeco, Marwood’s, Compasspoint Eatery or Junkyard Dogs for size) independent pubs and bars (check out the Colonnade Theatre Bar, the Mucky Duck and The Great Eastern for starters - really the list of quirky, photogenic watering holes in Brighton is almost endless) restaurants, art galleries and a huge choice of fine old buildings and churches in general, from a wide variety of eras and architectural styles to suit your shoot, making it ideal for period filming.
For quirky architectural finds, look into the likes of Amon Wilds House, the Regency House and the soon-to-be-re-opened Puget’s Cottage.
Filming Outdoors in Brighton
We have some amazing green spaces in the city itself. Check out Preston Park, home to the annual Pride Festival, the quieter Queen’s Park and the vibrant, family-friendly urban playground that is the Level.
Brighton Squares and Green Spaces
Then there are the Royal Pavilion Gardens, the New Steine and the Old Steine (the city’s main square, near the Pier and a key festival hub), plus a number of smaller green squares in Hove, such as Palmeira Square, Brunswick Square and St Ann’s Well Gardens (which has a long lineage of film heritage associated with it) as well as some stunning private gardens such as the Kemptown Enclosures.
Brighton Street Scenes
Brighton Racecourse is yet another key outdoor venue, and see also period property Stanmer House and grounds. And don’t forget the narrow, winding Lanes and the equally alluring North Laine area, with its warren of tightly knitted shops, cafes and pubs – always lively and perfect for splashes local colour.
Just a little way outside of the city you’ll find some spectacular countryside too, such as the South Downs National Park, where we had the great pleasure of making this lovely film aimed at adventurous families encouraging them to make the most of this incredible green idyll in their back yard.
The Brighton Fringe Festival
Each year in May Brighton opens its doors to England’s largest arts festival, the Brighton Festival, which brings a tranche of creative talent to the city and sees all manner of buildings being transformed for performance spaces. This presents further opportunities for filmmakers to get access to talent and spaces not normally used as filming locations.
To give you an idea, just take a look at venues such as Proud Cabaret in Kemptown, a former mausoleum now used as a cabaret and burlesque theatre, done out in lush Colonial style, the Art Deco-style Rialto Theatre, Quaker’s Meeting House and Fabrica Arts Space set in an old church in the city centre.
To learn more about filming during the Brighton Fringe, and indeed producing your own films as part of the Festival, take a look at the comprehensive FAQ on the Brighton Fringe’s site.
Brighton’s August Cinema Heritage
Finally, we really couldn’t finish this article without mentioning the Duke of York’s Picture House near London Road, which is the Britain’s oldest surviving indie cinema in continuous use and a fine venue in its own right, and while we’re at it, let’s hear it for the Hove Museum’s film collection, which highlights the vast contribution Brighton and Hove made to early cinema, with the likes of Esme Collings, George Albert Smith, William Friese-Greene, James Williamson and various other pioneering filmmakers who started out right here.
So by choosing to host your film production activity here in Brighton you’ll be following in some foot sure footsteps indeed.
Make a Film in Brighton
Need some expert guidance on making your next film in Brighton? Well naturally we can help there!
We’re one of the few film and video production companies in Brighton with a London base, covering everything from corporate video production to explainer videos, animations and more.