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Lights, Camera, Action: How to Get a Filming Permit for Your Corporate Video

Posted by Ashley Brook on May 2, 2024

On-location filming and photography can add a layer of sophistication and visual interest to your corporate video production — but you’ll need to do a little planning. Receiving film permits for your chosen locations is an essential step in the process and one that can vary dramatically depending on the city, state and country where you’re working.

Despite the inherent complexity of venturing outside to film, the results can make the effort worthwhile — and with the right video production company on your side, the whole arrangement becomes simpler to manage.

Why film on location?

If you’re just getting started with corporate video production, it’s natural to ask why you’re bothering to go outside at all. The answer is simple: It’s worth trying strategies that will make your corporate videos look more impressive, because your competitors are likely also using visual content, and you need to stand out.

Whether you’re capturing the distinctive landmarks of your home city, taking in impressive natural backdrops or spotlighting the host city of an industry conference, on-location filming can give your video an impressive, professional look. Even in today’s era of high-quality visual effects, some scenes can only be captured in person.

Read more about the why and how of going on location.

cta 1 How To Get a Filming Permit

What factors affect permit applications?

Filing a film permit application can mean many different things depending on the type of production you’re running, as well as the local laws pertaining to filming activity.

  • In some cases, filming on private property is allowed with just the permission of the property owner, but you need to work with city hall to film on public property.
  • In other jurisdictions, the size of the production is what matters. Using a handheld camera is acceptable with no permit, but a major production that will possibly require a street closure or other police activity requires a filming permit.
  • The film permitting process may also go beyond the permits themselves. You might need to meet liability insurance requirements or clear the subject matter of your project with authorities.
  • Technology such as drones and other production vehicles can also be subject to additional permit requirements.

Checking with the local film office or commission is an important step in determining which rules apply in your location. A video production company can help with this aspect of the process, putting directors’ experience to work in complying with all relevant regulations.

How do you secure a film permit? Regional examples

Generally speaking, local governments want companies to film in their cities. This can manifest in streamlined film permit application processes. With that said, there’s no one set of rules that applies in every location, so paying attention is essential.

Some examples include:

  • New York City: In the Big Apple, city hall offers free permits — including parking passes for production vehicles — with that said, be aware that some locations come with extra insurance requirements.
  • Las Vegas: Filming in Vegas is complicated by the fact that Nevada offers film permits by county, as well as the fact that much of the strip is made up of private property. And don’t forget that if you want footage from Zion National Park, you have to talk to the National Park Service.
  • London: Across the pond, London is split up into 33 boroughs, each with their own permitting systems. This doesn’t even take into account the private authorities overseeing iconic spots like the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square.

Untangling all the various requirements and permitting systems can seem like a headache, but it’s important to stay compliant. Getting shut down by the authorities during a shoot is a bigger headache than any amount of red tape.

Ready to launch your on-location video shoot?

Launching an in-person video shoot can be the jolt your company needs to step up its corporate video production performance. With stunning B-roll and authentic location shorts, your new content can stand out, even among a flood of corporate media.

Finding your way to the best locations and then negotiating with the local film commission in each spot is a job best handled by experts. When you work with Crews Control, that’s exactly what you get: true video experts who are knowledgeable in the laws, processes and procedures of their own respective regions.

With a Crews Control team on your side, you can confidently turn any spot in the world into a perfect filming location for your next video project, while also reaching all your most ambitious objectives for your project.

Want to know how filming on location and earth-friendly production values can coexist? Read our eBook for all the details.

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