Shooting Expedition to Western Ukraine
Updated: Aug 26, 2021
Kyiv is by far the most popular shooting destination in Ukraine. It has lots of diverse locations, adapted for shooting, there is equipment, transportation, and other benefits of a big city. At the same time, Ukraine is a large country that offers many unique shooting locations beyond Kyiv. Unfortunately, a lot of these places are overlooked or unknown to the filming crew. There is also so much variety in each region, which makes it unique. For example, in the south you can find the Oleshky desert, the largest desert in Europe. There are also lots of vineyards, fields of solar panels and wind turbines, and even a large Turkish fortress.
However, today we would like to focus on western Ukraine. There you can find the Carpathian mountains, dense pine forests, snow-capped peaks, mountain rivers and lakes on top of mountains, original wooden architecture, architecture of old Europe, inexpensive options for filming at airports, and modern stadiums. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the amazing shooting locations in western Ukraine and tell you about some personal experiences we had while working in this location.
Filming in Dense Forests of Western Ukraine
We already mentioned the majestic Carpathian mountains, which is home to some of the most beautiful, picturesque places that you will not find anywhere else. In fact, we had some experience of shooting a video for Samsung in western Ukraine. We took a two-day shooting expedition into the Carpathian mountains in search of small lakes surrounded by tall pine trees, a dense forest, and a waterfall.
We built a man-made island-raft on one of the most beautiful lakes - Lake Synevir. This turned out to be the easiest part of the shooting day. The location was accessible, with good roads, lots of hotels, and other infrastructure. The only thing is that the hotels are usually small, and the team had to be accommodated in groups of 7-14 people. In the early autumn morning, the lake is covered with haze, which allows for an absolutely incredible picture and also enables you to save on special effects.
A dense forest, which is quite difficult to find in central Ukraine, is abundant in the Carpathian mountains. Just an hour of ascent and we are there! An abundance of moss, fallen trees, a little smoke, and we are completely in awe of the impassable wild forest of the distant past.
The most difficult location was absolutely incredible, it is a small lake on the top of a mountain with a floating red island, surrounded by pine trees and a wooden forest path through the swamp. To climb the mountain, we used military wheeled all-terrain vehicles, specially designed for such places in the Soviet Union and still being the only reliable way to deliver goods to such places. There is no cellular communication here, the radios operate in a very limited range. Just incredible beauty everywhere.
It was a difficult project, but looking at the material shot in Kyiv, in a comfortable studio sitting on soft leather chairs and with large monitors, it was obvious that it was worth it. The most beautiful material was shot here and it received awards for artistic and cinematography.
Filming in Lviv: The Cultural Capital of Ukraine
We had a completely different experience when filming in Lviv. The city turned out to be very friendly and forthcoming to filming and provided us with assistance to get the shots we needed. Their help was very much appreciated, especially in the most difficult locations: a railway station platform with a train, an international airport, and the central square during the Christmas fair. When filming at such locations in Kyiv, the total project budget could be multiplied by 1.5X or even 2X.
It is also worth mentioning an experience that left a very good impression of Lviv’s locations. While filming at the airport at night, our huge 150kW generator broke down at exactly 2 am, and it was the only generator for film equipment of this power available in the city. The airport management came out to meet us and organized a connection to the reserve line of the airport. At 3 o'clock in the morning, they gathered a team of engineers at the airport just to help us. Rarely do you see such loyalty in other filming locations.
Consider Western Ukraine as the Setting for Your Next Video
From the experiences we described earlier, you get a sense of the scenic nature and friendliness of the locals and willingness to help you in any way they can. In addition to this, there are ski resorts, castles from the 13th and 17th centuries as well as many opera houses and theatres. Take a trip to western Ukraine with Mighty Folks to choose the setting for your next video.