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Find production companies, locations services, film equipment and camera rental companies, post production companies, film crew, and many more production services for your commercial, TV or film production in South Carolina, USA, including Columbia, North Charleston, Charleston and Beaufort.

USA

Filming - A practical guide to filming in South Carolina, USA

Overview

South Carolina is a coastal state in the Southeastern US. It is not large by US standards but is still the size of Austria. Over the years, the state claims to have provided the backdrop to more than 100 feature films, 70+ TV productions, 500+ print ad and catalogue shoots, and many other media projects going back as far as The Edison Company’s The Southerners in 1914, Pathe Company’s How Could You Caroline? in 1918, and Cecil B. DeMille’s Reap the Wild Wind in 1941.

More recently, attractive incentives have encouraged a new wave of production in the state, including movies like Dear John. The executive producer of Dear John and his UPM Billy Badalato said: “Shooting in South Carolina was excellent (thanks to) the combination of natural resources, older beach houses, plantations, unspoiled coastline and the good and dependable rebates. Crew rate, availability, state rebate, and how it’s put together made SC a great location.” Although it is not a large, SC boasts a diverse geography and interesting historical sites. It also claims to be “a business-friendly state that understands the importance behind the opportunities provided by every production. Area Development ranked South Carolina 3rd in the nation in its 2014 Top States for Doing Business survey.”

Recent Productions

South Carolina has hosted a steady stream of high-profile movies in recent years. Aside from Dear John (referenced above), it has welcomed productions like Nailed, Leatherheads and The Notebook. Dig a bit further back in time and it played host to Oscar-winning production The Prince Of Tides (1991) and Cold Mountain (2003). The city of Charleston, which always looks good on screen, also recently hosted the supernatural TV series South of Hell and, prior to that, the legal drama Reckless. It also featured prominently in Lifetime’s Army Wives series.

TV series can be just as valuable as films in terms of boosting the local economy. Reckless brought in around $17m in local spend and wages while South Of Hell could generate as much as $30m, according to local sources. The biggest issue facing South Carolina is regional competition. Both North Carolina and Georgia have established themselves as attractive film hubs, the former securing productions such as Iron Man 3, The Hunger Games and TV series Sleepy Hollow recently.

Permits

The good news about permits in South Carolina is that there are relatively few required. The best starting point, however, is to call the South Carolina Film Commission, to check whether certain places require a special use permit.  Places which may have special requirements include: within the corporate limits of the city or county of Charleston, within the corporate limits of the city of Beaufort, within Horry County and the corporate limits of Myrtle Beach, within the corporate limits of the city of Greenville, within state-owned facilities such as parks, and within federally-owned properties such as forests, buildings or military installations. Having said all this, the authorities have shown themselves willing to go out of their way to support production.

One of the state’s key locations is The Southern Connector, a 16-mile stretch of interstate that can be closed for shooting (recently it featured in the Cinemax series, Banshee). On insurance, productions are required to send an original copy of their Certificate of Insurance, for a minimum of $1m, naming “The State of South Carolina and its Agents” as insured. 

Studios

Charleston is home to Studio Charleston, a 70,000 square foot facility that opened in 2011 and is capable of handling film, TV, commercials and music videos. On site are stages ranging from 800 sq ft to 19500 sq ft, production offices, a construction/mill area, a set decoration/props warehouse and production management support. Dear John was based here as well as a range of TV shows. Myrtle Beach-based Encore Video Productions is a production company with a range of kit for rental and a Sound Stage. The stage is 1000 sq ft and includes 600 amps of lighting power, 24-foot ceiling, a catwalk for high angle shots, and separate rear entrance with parking lot. 

Post Production

Production/post-production options include Zero Gravity in West Columbia, which mainly handles TV, TVCs and corporate.

Locations

South Carolina is made up of a diverse array of geographic areas including a 187-mile Atlantic coast, salt marshes, lakes, rivers, forests, dunes, parks, farmland and the world-famous Blue Ridge Mountains. Diverse settings mean that the state is good at doubling for other parts of the world, including sub-tropical jungles. In addition to the landscape it boasts some pretty towns and villages, with quaint storefronts and historic antebellum buildings. Among larger population centres, Charleston is a delight, combining history with romance. However the state can also offer modern, urban backdrops in its three main metropolitan centres:  Columbia, Charleston and Greenville-Spartanburg.

For further ideas, the SC Film Commission has a 9,000-image location library showcasing “period villages, Norman Rockwell-esque small towns, picturesque mountains, subtropical jungles, and untouched beaches.” The average temperature in the state is 65F. A mild climate allows year-round access to key filming locations.The good news about permits in South Carolina is that there are relatively few required. The best starting point, however, is to call the South Carolina Film Commission, to check whether certain places require a special use permit.  Places which may have special requirements include: within the corporate limits of the city or county of Charleston, within the corporate limits of the city of Beaufort, within Horry County and the corporate limits of Myrtle Beach, within the corporate limits of the city of Greenville, within state-owned facilities such as parks, and within federally-owned properties such as forests, buildings or military installations. Having said all this, the authorities have shown themselves willing to go out of their way to support production. One of the state’s key locations is The Southern Connector, a 16-mile stretch of interstate that can be closed for shooting (recently it featured in the Cinemax series, Banshee). On insurance, productions are required to send an original copy of their Certificate of Insurance, for a minimum of $1m, naming “The State of South Carolina and its Agents” as insured.

Equipment

South Carolina has an experienced crew and supplier base. The best starting point for further information is the SC Film Commission, which has a company directory. Charleston-based companies that have a range of camera, lighting, edit and grip equipment include High Output, AValive and Charleston Audio Video Gear. Also in Charleston is The Cut Company, a full service production company that offers production services, post-production and also has an array of related equipment. Recent clients include TLC, Bravo, NatGeo Wild and AOL.