Shooting Budapest

Hungary’s capital, Budapest, offers a wealth of photo opportunities. With its historic sights, thermal baths and diverse culture, it is a truly spectacular city. However, it is not just about the urban landscapes – the countryside also offers breathtaking beauty and an abundance of evocative sites.

For example, the awe-inspiring Chain Bridge lines up rather beautifully with several other monuments and comes into its own at night. It’s also worth aiming to get shots from the back of the Parliament building, which isn’t often visited by photographers. Also, taking a Danube River cruise at sunset can give you a great opportunity to photograph Fisherman’s Bastion and Gellert Hill without the crowds.

The capital’s many spires and churches are also a photographic delight. Matthias Church is a particularly interesting example, as the tall spire is reflected in the water in an incredibly pleasing way. The square in front of the church also lends itself to street photography, with market stalls and interesting characters.

Another top photo spot is the Buda Castle, which provides multiple compositions with its unique architecture and sweeping vistas of the surrounding hills. It’s also worth visiting the Royal Palace and its interiors, which can be quite a photographic challenge with its dark wooden walls. The large fountain in front of the palace can also provide some interesting images if you time it right, and the neo-Gothic style of the building’s exterior is particularly striking.

Getting permission to shoot is fairly straightforward, says Juan Amin, a producer at Filmreaktor. “If it’s an actual location you contact the owner/operators and if it’s public or street, then you contact the local government.” It can take anywhere from three to five days for permits to be processed.

In the last decade, Hungary has become one of Europe’s premier shooting destinations thanks to its world-famous filmmaking tradition dating back 123 years, diverse locations, talented crew and a 30% tax rebate introduced in 2003. “Hungary has a huge amount of international experience and talent to offer filmmakers,” adds Head of NFI Studios Ildiko Kovacs.

The country’s low cost of living and production standards also make it an attractive destination for filmmakers. It is around a third of the price of Prague and about a quarter of the cost of Eastern European countries such as Romania, Latvia or Ukraine.

The Brutalist, the HBO Max series starring Cate Blanchett; Mikael Hafstrom’s sci-fi Slingshot; Brandon Cronenberg’s Infinity Pool; and Yorgos Lanthimos’s Poor Things have all recently shot in Hungary. Other projects include Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, season four; a new BBC series based on The Last Kingdom; and Netflix and Carnival Films’ Seven Kings Must Die. The list of major productions is growing. shooting Budapest

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