Written by Murray Ashton on Jul 2, 2013. Posted in Interviews

Filming on location with Anna Preuss of National Trust for Scotland

Originally from Germany, Anna joined National Trust for Scotland (NTS) as a freelance videographer before becoming the organisation’s Filming Manager in 2012. Her first phone call was from the producers of the James Bond franchise seeking to bring Skyfall to Glen Etive in the Highlands.

What can you tell me about the region that you cover?

The National Trust for Scotland is a charity that looks after over 130 properties and natural sites. Our unique inventory of properties provides a huge variety of backdrops with great stories to match. We can offer outstanding locations from dramatic coastlines and countryside estates to historic houses, unusual social and industrial heritage locations to stunning castles and gardens. The Trust portfolio also includes significant sites in Scottish history, such as the Bannockburn and Culloden battlefields, and the birthplaces of Robert Burns and JM Barrie.

What locations are most commonly used by film and TV crews when they come and film at NTS properties?

Many documentary filmmakers come to our sites to emphasise their stories not only with our properties as backdrops, but also with the knowledge of our experts who can offer advice in many areas of Scottish heritage such as history, archaeology, wildlife and collections.

Our scenic countryside properties including Glencoe, Kintail and St Abb’s Head are used in commercials, photo shoots and also in music videos or feature films.

Our scenic countryside properties including Glencoe, Kintail and St Abb’s Head are used in commercials, photo shoots and also in music videos or feature films.

What are the more unusual locations you have that our readers would not necessarily associate with Scotland?

Would you expect a structure in the shape of a fruit? The 'Pineapple' is built into the north wall of a walled garden and is one of my favourite buildings in Scotland. Speaking of exotic plants, thanks to the warm weather associated with the Gulf Stream current, Inverewe Garden and Estate feature unusual plants like eucalypts from Tasmania, New Zealand fern and other examples from Chile and South Africa. Another amazing place is the Hermitage with its impressive giant trees!

What locations elsewhere in the world can NTS properties double for?

The Royal Burgh of Culross doubled as a Norwegian village in Captain America: The First Avenger. The whole village is a perfect film set, preserved as it was in the 16th and 17th Centuries. Preston Mill is one more architectural oddity with its distinctive conical roof. It’s said it was designed in the Dutch style to appease a former laird’s wife, who was homesick for her native Holland.

What historical periods can your locations be used for?

Our properties cover all kind of periods from medieval to early 20th Century Mackintosh architecture. A great example for a ‘three-in-one’ period location is Drum Castle as it strides across the centuries with a 13th Century square tower and a Jacobean mansion house, while the Victorian lairds put up further additions.

What types of production do you work on most?

It really is a mix of everything but mostly I get inquiries for commercials or corporate productions, factual programmes for TV and the scarce but high-profile feature film. Skyfall filmed at Glencoe and Glen Etive and Captain America filmed at the Royal Burgh of Culross. More recently four-part series Hebrides: Island on the Edge was aired on BBC Scotland and includes the St Kilda and Staffa, which we look after.

What are the costs for filming at NTS properties and what insurance cover is required?

A Public Liability Indemnity of a minimum of GBP2 Million and an Employers’ Liability Indemnity of GBP10 Million are required. Every production is different but our fees are based on crew size, the time the crew spends on site, the uniqueness of a property and whether we have to close it to the public.

Of all the locations you represent what is your personal favourite and why?

Every property has something very special about it but if I have to narrow it down to a couple it would be Glencoe with its scenic beauty and dramatic air which grabs me every time. My favourite picturesque place is Barry Mill with its splashing waterwheel and pretty bluebell garden.

Thank you

To contact Anna click here.


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