Filming in Hangzhou: Guidelines, Locations, Tips, and Experience

Venture into the enchanting world of filming in Hangzhou, where every frame tells a story amidst the city’s rich cultural tapestry.

Political Landscape and Public Conduct: Hangzhou’s political atmosphere fosters a conducive environment for filmmakers, though exercising discretion in public conduct is advised to avoid undue attention.

Filming in Hangzhou

Production Resources: In Hangzhou, production resources are comparatively limited, despite the city’s overall richness. However, camera crews and talent are still readily available, ensuring essential support for filming endeavors. Work hours for film crews typically span 10 hours, excluding meal breaks. Professional crews, including directors, cameramen, producers, makeup artists, and location managers, can be sourced locally or from nearby city like Shanghai.

Filming in Hangzhou

Weather Conditions: Hangzhou experiences distinct seasons, with moderate rainfall and occasional snowfall in winter. Air pollution levels remain relatively low, offering favorable filming conditions. Daylight hours vary across seasons, providing ample opportunities for capturing diverse landscapes.

Visas and Documentation: For filming in Hangzhou, obtaining a business or work visa is recommended to comply with local regulations. While tourist visas are acceptable, they may not be optimal for filming purposes. Note that Hangzhou follows China’s unilateral visa-free policy for select countries until November 30, 2024.

Carnet/ATA Carnet: Transporting filming equipment to Hangzhou via carnet/ATA Carnet is feasible, though customs clearance procedures should be anticipated to ensure a smooth arrival.

Equipment Rental Houses: While options for equipment rental exist in Hangzhou, they may be limited compared to larger cities. Prospective filmmakers should evaluate rental costs against transporting equipment, considering factors like availability and pricing.

Filming in Hangzhou

Post Production Facilities: Hangzhou boasts numerous photo and film studios, facilitating various post-production processes. Online/offline editing, color correction, and sound post-production services are available, albeit to a lesser extent than in larger metropolitan areas.

Location Conditions: Securing location access in Hangzhou involves navigating ownership distinctions between government and private entities. Private locations may offer easier access, albeit at varying costs. Studios with specialized setups, such as whitewall and green wall options, are limited but available for commercial productions.

Permit Requirements: Filming in public areas in Hangzhou requires permits to comply with local regulations. Unauthorized filming is strictly prohibited, underscoring the importance of obtaining necessary permits in advance.

Famous Locations: Hangzhou boasts several iconic filming locations, including West Lake, Lingyin Temple, and the Grand Canal. These sites offer picturesque backdrops for capturing the city’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.

Equipment Rental: Hangzhou offers a range of high-end camera equipment and lenses, including options from Arri, Red, Angenieux, Cooke, and Zeiss. Grips and lighting equipment are also readily available to meet diverse filming needs.

Drone Usage: Drone usage in Hangzhou is subject to regulations, with restrictions on flying in the city center and certain height limits. Licensing requirements and event-related restrictions may apply, necessitating thorough compliance checks.

Currency and Digital Payments: Transactions in Hangzhou primarily use the Chinese Renminbi (RMB). Cash payments are common, though digital payment methods like Alipay and WeChat Pay are widely accepted.

Hotel and Meal Costs: Hotel costs in Hangzhou vary depending on location and amenities, with options ranging from budget to luxury accommodations. Similarly, meal costs vary, with an array of culinary offerings to suit different preferences and budgets.

Transportation: Hangzhou features well-connected transportation networks, including airports and train stations. Van/lorry hire is common for productions, with daily rates ranging from 150 to 200 USD. Alternatively, rideshare services like Didi and Meituan offer convenient transportation options for smaller productions.