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Old August 9th, 2007, 03:43 PM   #1
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Filming Permissions in the UK

Hi guys,

Iīve been travelling quite a lot this summer with my f-350.
In my country (Austria) I havenīt ever had problems concerning permissions for shooting on location (so far):-).
I do know that you need very special permissions to film in museums etc. This you would surely need everywhere in the world and I fully understand and respect that.
But what do you do when you go to a city like London and want to do some GV shots (really, now Iīd rather buy stock footage, as I did have some serious problems in London). Do you guys always carry a permit with you when going to shoot in a city like London? What kind of permit is that/where do I get that?
Before I went to London I couldnīt get something like a "permission" to do shots at several spots in London (British Film Council?!).
In London I had problems when filming without tripod, even when just carrying the camera. I wasnīt doing any drama like shots where you surely would always need a special permit as you might hold up people, traffic or whatsoever. But Iīm really just talking about GVīs.
I understand that security seems to be/must be (?) very tight in London at the moment but it somehow must be possible to do GVīs of a city like London?! I was always carrying my ID card, my companyīs id card etc.
Please donīt get me wrong, I love London and Britain - lived there for quite a while ... it just seems a bit strange that in a free country you get held up by police nearly every time you try to set up a "big TV camera" and are being questioned under a "stop and search" action for quite a while. Officers mostly were very friendly but I donīt want to tell my story to every single officer in town. What do you do in a situation like that? Is there a "general permit" which you could apply for?

BTW, I managed to do some useable shots in London but I donīt want to feel like I am doing something which is terribly illegal;-)

Thanks for your replies - in advance,
Emanuel
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Old August 9th, 2007, 04:01 PM   #2
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If you're just shooting GV's in London it shouldn't really be a problem. In theory you are required to get permission for all filming in the street, but if it's just you and an assistant or sound rec - ie an ENG setup - you can generally set up anywhere in the street (with or without a tripod) get the shots and be on your way. I'm not sure why you found it difficult - unlucky perhaps? If you're in very busy, central or sensitive areas its good not to draw attention to yourself and choose your position carefully. Filming in parks is probably the most difficult as they'll be onto you pretty quick.

Anything bigger than 1 or 2 people and you should think about getting permission to cover yourself. There is no London wide permit unfortunately and you need to get permission from whatever borough (district) you are filming in. Every borough has a film office for dealing with such requests. There is a very good agency - Film London - which draws together all aspects of filming in London. Website here:

http://www.filmlondon.org.uk

If you need more info I'm sure you'll find it there. Hope this helps
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Old August 9th, 2007, 04:43 PM   #3
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London is a total pain to shoot in, and I refuse to go there generally because of it's totally absurd attitude towards cameras. This is made worse by many rent a cops thinking they have the right to throw you out of areas when they don't.

The main problem with London is the tourist areas. Even though the law for the UK stipulates that if it is publically viewable you can film it. However, try filming near Tower bridge for instance with a tripod and no permit and you'll be in trouble if someone spots you. They claim that there is no fee for small crews on public land. But there is. They call it an 'administration fee'. Not sure why administration costs as much as they charge but there you go.

http://www.filmlondon.org.uk/content...ategoryID=1047
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Old August 9th, 2007, 05:05 PM   #4
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Hi,

thatīs exactly what we did (ENG like, 2crew). Maybe we were a bit unlucky. But anyway - it was a very small crew, just me and my assistant really. Funnily we didnīt have any problems when filming in Regentīs Park and Hyde Park.
But thanks for the filmlondon website. Thatīs great and itīs a good info source. How much is the admin fee? Do you know that?

Thanks Simon for your reply. It really helps knowing that I was not the only one having troubles while trying to film in London.

I was just generally curious how these permits work. Also from the legal point of view to me it seems a bit ridiculous that you canīt film on public land, surely without interrupting traffic, people etc.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 11:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emanuel Altenburger View Post
... it just seems a bit strange that in a free country you get held up by police nearly every time you try to set up a "big TV camera" and are being questioned under a "stop and search" action for quite a while.
I love the dear people of the U.K. As an American travelling in Europe, you get used to being treated a certain way, and then you get back to England and are treated so warmly by so many friendly people.

You can't deny the security concerns. But they have been acting like subjects for years.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 03:47 AM   #6
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Sure. Youīre absolutely right.
But this really has absolutely nothing to do with British people in general. I have so many friends in the U.K. Hope I made that clear enough in my post.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 06:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emanuel Altenburger View Post
Hi,

How much is the admin fee? Do you know that?
Fees vary from borough to borough depending on the location, size of the unit and any special requirements you have. I guess the absolute minimum you would be charged would be around Ģ50-Ģ100. I used to be a location manager for dramas in London, which is obviously a different magnitude of expenditure, so I don't know exact costs for the small scale.

But as I said, if it's just you and a camera you generally get by fine without a permit if you're unobtrusive and don't hang around in one location for too long. I've never had any problems. Yet.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 02:22 PM   #8
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London is a problem because most of is privately owned even the streets. The City of London is private property, as is Canary wharf, much of the West End and Kensington. There are normally strips of brick or stone set into the ground to denote the various boundaries. As a result the various authorities that own the land can set there own rules and regulation. It's not a matter of security and never has been, it's all about control and profit with ridiculous charges for permits. Normally the police won't stop you on the street unless you are causing an obstruction or stay in the same spot for more than a few minutes. A tripod on a busy street would be classed as an obstruction. Often a Met Police press pass will give you a couple of minutes to get a quick shot. Try and film in the City or Canary wharf and you will be pounced upon by private security guards that appear from nowhere within moments and be moved on.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 04:10 PM   #9
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Outside of London?

What experiences have been encountered outside of London? I'm sure it depends on the location. But in general has anyone had any difficulties in small towns or villages, or on public footpaths such as the Pennine Way?
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Old August 10th, 2007, 04:23 PM   #10
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Never had a problem anywhere else in the UK on public land. As Alister pointed out there are all sorts of reasons why London is as it is with regards to filming.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 06:00 PM   #11
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Didnīt have any problems when shooting in England, especially not on the countryside (just London).
I just returned from a shoot in Malta where people seem to be very interested in what you are doing and film production in general.
However, try to film the temples there you will have to bring and show a special permission as they wonīt let you film there, even not handheld.
Also when you try to get that permission they would ask for a handling fee (in that case it was about 50 LM, which is a bit more than € 100).
In Austria/Germany I havenīt ever had any problems so far.
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