Barrandov Studios in the Spotlight
Czech Hollywood attracts international producers and world-famous actors
Founded in the 1930s, the legendary Barrandov Studios is one of the largest and oldest film studios in Europe. Czech Hollywood is located in Prague 5’s district of Hlubočepy and has filmed many well-known movies including Mission: Impossible 4, xXx, Casino Royale and even Alien vs. Predator just to name a few.
Barrandov became a European Production Center in 1931, the idea and concept came from the Havel family. Vaclav M. Havel, the former president’s father was inspired by the architecture of a neighborhood near the University of California’s Berkeley campus in 1924. The idea became reality under management of Milos Havel, Vavlav Havel’s brother, and the first day of shooting was January 25th, 1933.
“Vrazda v Ostrovni ulici” (“Murder in Ostrovni Ulice”) became the first movie to be filmed in the Barrandov Studios. The Studios took off quickly and soon after opening, Max Urban became the main designer and used his experience to further develop the establishment. Together with Urban, architect Vilem Ritterhain built what was the most contemporary film studio in Europe.
Today the studio offers services for Czech and international producers. Each Czech project is approached individually and remains faithful to tradition, but generally the services offered include: the rental of stages, backlot, costumes, props, film technology and equipment. Barrandov also does set construction, sound and visual post-production and has music studio facilities.
While it is well known that Barrondov’s gates are always open to Czech filmmakers, the studios attract international filmmakers as well. It is appealing because it offers all production needs in one package at a great price and Prague’s historic architecture makes a great backdrop for almost any genre.
In addition to production services, Barrandov offers tours and fun experiences for groups, families and individuals. You can do a guided tour and explore the largest walk-in closet imaginable full of costumes and props of all kinds – with a few exceptions there are no strict ‘look but don’t touch’ rules. If one of the 260,000+ costumes and accessories catches your eye, you can rent it and have a photography session with professional make up a thematic backdrop.
Just taking the tour however isn’t enough to understand just how big the studios are. There are 14 sound stages and a backlot of 160,000 square meters. Along with costumes, hairpieces and accessories that range from prehistoric times to the present day, Barrandov also has about 10,000 pieces of furniture, 20,000 carpets and decorative fabrics, 65,000 props, 200 carriages and coaches and more.
Finally, Barrandov Studios also offers dubbing services. Something that most English-speakers rarely know is that Czechs are known for their impressive dubbing. The first Czech dubbing was done at the Studios in 1949 and the process isn’t easy. Dubbing services include complete translations of the original text with script adjustments and direction for the Czech version.
Actor selection and casting, video transfers, processing unsynchronized tracks, supplementing and reconstruction international sound tracks are all part of the process. Barrandov has seven dubbing studios equipped with all the necessary equipment. It may be funny when Magic Mike is translated to Bez Kalhot (Without Pants) but Czechs really are among the best when it comes to dubbing films.
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