Hangzhou is a city known for its natural beauty and historic sites, providing picturesque backdrops for any production. In this filming in Hangzhou guide, we will cover various aspects of production, from location scouting to post-production resources, to help make your filming experience in Hangzhou enjoyable and efficient.
Production Resources in Hangzhou
Overall, production resources in Hangzhou are poor. Camera crews and talents are quite limited, and typical work hours for film crews are 10 hours, excluding meal breaks. You can find professional directors, cameramen/videographers, and producers in Hangzhou. Makeup/hair artists and location managers are also available. However, for soundmen, fixers, assistant directors, video crews, cinematographers/DOPs, photographers, prop specialists, and pet trainers, you may need to bring in crews from nearby cities such as Shanghai.
Film crew and production insurance coverage are available upon request.
If you are coming to Hangzhou for filming or production, consider applying for a business or work visa, as you are technically working in the city. A tourist visa is acceptable but not ideal.
Bringing equipment, cameras, and lens gear to Hangzhou from abroad is possible via Carnet/ATA Carnet. However, there is still a chance you could be stopped by customs, so always check before arriving in Hangzhou.
Equipment Rental Houses
There are limited options available for equipment rental in Hangzhou. Check prices and availability to determine whether it is more convenient to rent equipment than bring your own.
The post-production resources in Hangzhou are poor. If you need to do online/offline editing, color correction, or sound post-production, it’s wise to do some research before making your decision or consider working with resources in nearby cities, such as Shanghai.
Hangzhou has several photo studios and film studios available for use.
Location Conditions and Permit Requirements
To apply for location access in Hangzhou, determine whether the site is government-owned or privately owned. Access to privately owned locations is generally easier and often depends on payment. Location charges vary depending on the area and time of production.
Shooting in public areas is technically illegal, but vlogging with phones or small cameras is usually fine. Filming in public areas without a permit is not allowed.
Famous Locations in Hangzhou
Some famous locations in Hangzhou include West Lake, Lingyin Temple, and Leifeng Pagoda.
Hangzhou offers high-end camera equipment like Arri and Red, as well as high-end lens options such as Angenieux, Cooke, Arri, and Zeiss. Grip and lighting equipment are also available, but options may be limited.
Seasons, Weather, and Air Pollution
Hangzhou experiences four distinct seasons, with hot, humid summers and cold, damp winters. Rain is most common during the summer months. Air pollution can be a concern, so check the air quality index before filming.
You cannot fly a drone within Hangzhou’s city center area, and certain areas require a pilot’s license to operate, with height limits also in place.
In Hangzhou, you must use RMB, as USD or other currencies are not accepted. Digital payments like Alipay and WeChat Pay are widely used.
Hotel and Meal Costs
Hotel costs range from 100 USD to 200 USD per night, while meal costs can be between 10 USD to 50 USD per day, depending on the type of food.
Hangzhou has one major airport, Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport. The city also has several train stations, including Hangzhou Railway Station and Hangzhou East Railway Station. For production, it’s common to hire vans or lorries, with a 5-seat car/van and driver costing 150 USD to 200 USD per day. Smaller productions can use Didi or Meituan, the Chinese equivalents of Uber and Lyft.