Whatever location you are using, no matter how public it seems, it is likely you'll need to notify or get permission from somebody.
The impact of failing to inform relevant authorities could result in unnecessary police resources being deployed. It can disrupt your filming and the local community.
London is divided into 33 separate boroughs and each has its own Borough Film Service (BFS) to deal with filming requests for all local authority managed locations.
These include streets, estates, commons, town halls, schools, shopping centres and leisure centres.
Filming a public location?
Find out more about working with Boroughs.
When Public is Private
Some areas that seem like public streets, or have public access, are actually privately owned or managed.
London’s ‘public’ areas are managed by a number of agencies – you can find contact details for many of them here:
Some key areas that have public access but always need filming permission are:
- The Royal Parks
- Trafalgar Square
- Parliament Square
- The South Bank
- Canal and River pathways
- Train and Tube stations
Small Crew Street Filming
For crews of 5 people or fewer with hand-held equipment filming on the street is quiet straight forward.
Popular Landmarks and Private Locations
To film in private locations such as residential properties, you will need to apply directly to the property owner.
If you are filming in a flat or on a housing estate it may be owned by a Housing Association or council and you will need to contact ALL relevant parties.
Unsure who owns a location? Search the Film London Directory or contact our locations team: firstname.lastname@example.org
With any private location or interior (including private streets, parks and markets) you will be dealing with Location Representatives directly and will require permission.
If you are shooting around specific London Landmarks, you will find it useful to refer to our Popular Locations & Camera Position Maps.
These are comprehensive and downloadable PDF's, identifying exactly the camera angle you may be considering and who you need to make direct contact with. This is vital as there are areas of public access that are privately managed.
Filming the exterior of a building does not infringe its copyright. This means that you do not need copyright from the building's owner to film its exterior but you may need to get permission from the relevant authority or property owner based on where you have physically placed your camera in order to shoot.
A building could also be considered to represent an individual, company or institution so you should be careful not to use this association to either endorse or exploit any product or service; or in a way that might defame such individual, company or institution.
All filming also requires public liability insurance. You need proof of this in order to receive permission to film or carry out any commercial photography.
This insurance covers the legal responsibilities of your production if your activities cause injury to a third party or damage to property.