When it comes to media production in Russia, you can expect both the regular and the uncommon in your experience. A country that’s not familiar to many, Russia is the ideal place to shoot documentaries about extreme weather conditions, superb golden cities, and tradition that lasts for generations.
Media production in Russia – the rules
What’s it like doing media production in Russia? The rules of filming in the country of long winters and spectacular train rides are common to those of most countries, with a few minor twists. First of all, Russians like foreigners to respect their heritage. They will let you film, there’s no doubt about it, but only if you use the footage to do good. Simply put, if you’re doing a travel documentary, it’s best to stick with the positive aspects of why people should visit Moscow, for example. It’s not a rule, but it’s just going to make things like obtaining a filming permit much easier.
Speaking of filming permits, Russia is notorious for being a free-to-film country for the most part. You can go into the wilderness of Siberia and film, if you’ve got the gear for it, and nobody will ever ask you for a permit. Instead, if you film in the middle of the Red Square, and your production is larger than 10 people, expect your request to go through many governmental bodies before being approved. And to cost a hefty sum which you’ll have to pay in Russian rubles before you start filming.
Once you’ve established your itinerary and have gotten the schedule of shooting, media production in Russia is as easy as anywhere else. Just keep in mind to respect the culture of the land and its people, and you’ll be fine. And also, don’t go overboard with schedule changes. Russians might not be the best in following laws, but they do monitor foreign productions and are happy to charge you with fines if you don’t follow the rules.
Best Russian filming locations
Media production in Russia can be about many things, which is natural for the largest country on Earth by surface. There’s no form of nature, city or village, castle or palace you won’t be able to find here. Yes, the distances from one location to the other are astronomical, but they’re all worth it in the end. This country is a paradise for nature documentary shooters. You’ve got Siberia with its mysteries, Lake Baikal with its never-ending deep waters, the Transsiberian railway going all through the country until reaching Mongolia, and many more.
In terms of cities, St. Petersburg often comes above Moscow in terms of locations. This city filled with palaces and churches is often characterized as a jewel of the Russian far north. A city of ballet and high-class dining, St. Petersburg will take up days of your filming schedule. Wherever you point your cameras towards, there’s a new beautiful building with a great story to share with the world.