Movie makers to fly drones over Edinburgh at night under industry plans

The makers of blockbuster movies will get special permission to fly drones over Edinburgh and film spectacular scenes on the city’s streets at night under a blueprint aimed at attracting more big-money productions when its new film studio opens.

Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 8:32 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 8:53 am
The Royal Mile in Edinburgh during early morning filming of the Hollywood blockbuster The Avengers: Infinity War.

A fresh industry blueprint has been drawn up to make it easier for major films and TV dramas to be shot in and around the city centre following a dramatic upsurge in interest in recent years.

Clear guidelines on how to secure official approval will be issued to ensure film companies are able to safely deploy drones above the city in future, after the local authority was inundated with official requests for such shooting over the last 12 months.

They also set out what companies will have to do to secure permission to film night scenes, including ensuring local residents are given plenty of advance warning of schedules and offered compensation to make up for any disruption.

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Extensive shoots on Outlaw King, Avengers: Infinity War and T2: Trainspotting, as well as TV dramas Outlander and Clique, boosted the value of the industry to a record £16 million in 2017.

The Film Edinburgh commission, which handles all requests from production companies and location managers, is expecting interest in using the city as a backdrop to soar once a planned new studio in Leith Docks is up and running.

It emerged in December that a vast warehouse previously home to a wave turbine facility had been earmarked for a world-class studio complex by the Scottish Government and its new Screen Scotland agency.

The industry guidelines have been drawn up for filmmakers following the use of the city for extensive night shoots for Avengers: Infinity War and Clique.

The new blueprint states: “No filming activity should take place until permissions have been granted by all relevant parties.”

Rosie Ellison, head of Film Edinburgh, said: “Following a huge couple of years for Edinburgh’s film industry, our new code of practice is about managing the city’s success as a film friendly destination, and ensuring it thrives for 

“While Edinburgh is open for filming and we are proud to host major productions, it is a living and working city. We know people enjoy seeing their city on screen, but we’ve listened to feedback received from residents and business which has been incorporated into the updated code to minimise any disruption.

“The documentation is welcomed by production teams, and the new guidelines outline what we expect from film­makers visiting the city and make it clear how to avoid these pitfalls while respecting the local surroundings.”

Donald Wilson, culture leader at the city council, said: “We’ve very successfully established Edinburgh as a film-friendly city with a surge in major productions like Avengers and T2, while shows like Outlander have beamed the city’s streets and historic buildings to living rooms all over the world.

“This success generated an impressive £16m for the local economy last year.”