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It is important that wherever you plan to film you get permission or notify the appropriate authority.
A small crew (in theory a ‘small crew’ is a crew of 5 people or fewer, using a handheld or a tripod camera) should be able to film on the street without obtaining permission, however legislation in this area is open to interpretation and if the local authority is not aware that you will be filming in the area there is a chance that you may be asked to stop.

Locations may either be privately owned, or public property (including most streets), so you should contact the property owner, or local authority.

It is good practice to inform local police for ALL exterior location filming, and it may be a legal requirement to do so. Other aspects of your script or shoot may also mean you need to get in touch with the police.

The impact of failing to inform relevant authorities could result in unnecessary police resources being deployed and disruption to the community and to your filming. This is particularly important when you are filming in a location that may have iconic, religious or government buildings.

Please note: filming the exterior of a building does not infringe its copyright. You do not need copyright from the building’s owner to film its exterior (although you may still need to obtain permission from the relevant authority or property owner based on where you have physically placed your camera in order to shoot). However, a building could be considered to represent an individual, company or institution and film-makers should therefore be careful not to use this association either: (a) to endorse or exploit any product or service; or (b) in a way that might defame such individual, company or institution.

The amount of notice that you need to give in regards to filming can vary based on the size of your crew, so this is also worth bearing in mind – as a rough guide, allow 5-15 working days to process the relevant paperwork.

Private and Public Locations

To film in private locations such as residential properties, you will need to apply directly to the property owner. Please remember that if you are filming in a flat or on a housing estate it may be owned by a Housing Association or council so you will need to contact ALL relevant parties.

There are no laws to prevent anyone filming on public streets, however it is an offence to cause an obstruction or to place materials on the highway without an appropriate license. We recommends that any production planning to film on the street contact the relevant Borough Film Service or local authority.