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Thread: Permits for shooting in London?

  1. #1

    Default Permits for shooting in London?

    Hi, my first post here. I was hoping someone with experience of gorilla shooting in London could advise me of the need for permits.

    Hoping to shoot one scene of a low budget short on the southbank looking over a the city lights and Tower Bridge.

    We'll be shooting at night on DSLR with limited crew and one actor so we will be quite inconspicuous.

    Any thoughts and advice would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009


    Some may disagree but I say just go for it! Most people assume that it's just a stills camera anyway so it doesn't draw too much attention. We've done it plenty of times, and we've had to blag it a couple of times but generally we don't get too much bother.

  3. #3


    I'm with you on this one. I've done a lot of gorilla shooting but never really in London. Apart from some stop frame at Liverpool St Station, got kicked out after 10 mins. That was on a Canon XF300 though, like you say a DSLR shoot won't be as obvious. The boom may give it away though haha. Cheers for the encouragement.

  4. #4


    So long as you are not on private property or the House of Commons area no film zone, you can film anywhere. So long as you are sensible about obstruction, noise or other nuisances. The same rule that allows big brother to film us everywhere we go with CCTV camera applies to us. You may get some policeman who is not aware of the law come and ask what your doing, just tell him and get on with your shoot.

    Last edited by Midnight Blue; 05-22-2011 at 12:31 PM.

  5. #5


    Thank you Midnight Blue. Learned something new today. Glad I joined this forum.

  6. #6


    I would just go and do it. The permits and public liability is for the big production companies bringing down tens of actors, crew, lorries, lights and cameras.

  7. Default

    In my experience it is not the actual filming thats the propblem but whether you are blocking the way or setting something up. For example if you wanted to use a tripod on Oxford street in rush hour then you will be moved on. Same if you have trailing cables or a pile of bags. Basically if the only thing on the ground are your feet anf your are not standing by the exit of somewhere with a bounce board then you can film all you want.

    wedding video by wedding videographer

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    England, Gloucestershire


    Here's the deal... nobody, including the police can force you to stop filming in public.

    I've had grumpy officers come up to me and try tell me I can't film in public spaces... but in my experience just tell them you're filming the sky or something, they usually go away then, some silly officers just think you can't film people. Although technically they can't stop you, but it just avoids an argument!

  9. Default

    I think the police just make it up sometimes. I was filming the outside of New scotland Yard for RAI. Very ealy full big kit the works. Pretty quickly to armed officers rock up, I show them some id and that was it. They wished me a good day and left.

    wedding video from wedding videographer filming wedding video London

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    Benesotor, actually the police can stop you from filming in all sorts of places. Outside courts, government buildings, MOD premises, security establishments, to name but a few. They can also stop you filming if your actions constitute a breach of the peace or are likely to provoke a breach of the peace. They can stop you filming into private property with a telephoto lens and can stop you filming or photographing members of a jury, witnesses in some cases and victims in cases involving sexual assault or rape. There are quite a few other examples and, if you want to stretch a point, you can be arrested and prosecuted for all of the above.

    Also the definition of "in public" is such that a place such as a shopping mall or railway station can be a public place and yet also be private property and if there is a sign saying "no photography", you become a trespasser if you start filming. If you film for commercial reasons on railway property you commit an offence under the railway by-laws and can be arrested, same goes at any international airport.

    Under CYP you cannot film children under 14 if the parent or guardian objects and you may be arrested if you do not desist.

    That's just the stuff which specifically mentions filming or photography, we haven't even started on highway obstruction or RTA offences yet.

    The bottom line though is... If you're polite and have a sensible reason for filming, you won't get any bother from the police. If you start shouting "I know my rights", they will go out of their way to prove you wrong.

    When you're standing in court getting a 500 fine for "using a light in such a manner as to cause danger to road users" you are right, you are allowed to film on the side of the road but it still cost you 500 which a bit of politeness could have avoided.

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