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Filming in London - What You Need To Know

Most locations will have a location agent, or contact the local police station, local government or council. A production manager will be able to tell you a location’s suitability and do some initial recces for you into possible sites.

When booking with a studio or location, they should provide you with their terms and conditions, but if they don’t then ask as you don’t want to get caught out by the small print at a later date. In particular, look at the copyright position and whether you are protected by NDAs from studio staff. Your project could invalidate insurance cover and slow down your production process if not cleared in advance.

The terms apply for the hire period but there may be other charges around this time, so offer a detailed breakdown of your production schedule so they can assess what comes inclusive of the location hire price and what costs extra.

Be aware of time differences and check whether the hirer is contactable. You can request emails are checked at key times. Check the implications for this and plan accordingly; always allow more time than you think you’ll need, just in case of those unexpected moments!

Check what payment terms are available. If you are invoicing from overseas, you may be entitled to a “net amount only” invoice without having to pay 20% extra for VAT. However, don’t rely on this as the VAT rules and regulations are quite tricky in the UK, and if in doubt allow for the VAT payment, and then try to claim back at a later date; better to be over than under!

Generally, a deposit is required to hold the space and this may be refundable or redeemable depending on several factors, usually on a sliding scale of time to hire and elements of bespoke preparations.

If you are travelling from overseas, then insurance must be obtained from your country of origin. Look for insurance deals that will cover your kit hire, location hire and any medical emergencies. High wire work, pyrotechnics, animal wrangling, children’s health and safety and kit hire are usually your responsibility and often aren’t in standard insurance cover terms.

Look for a location which offers a friendly, flexible, resourceful service and will go the extra mile to ensure your trip is carefully planned, that all legal requirements are met and your London production can go as smoothly as possible.

Cammberwell Studios have a great location and some good guidelines.

And finally, if you are shooting video or film on the streets of London, or indeed any of our cities in the UK, do check regarding permits and permissions from the local Council and film representatives. In London, there are certain agreed “spots” for filming where you can work with a Small Crew Permit, but anything that is going to cause an obstruction “even a tripod on the pavement” will need to be cleared with the local authorities prior to starting your project. However, a Small Crew, i.e. that of 3 or less people in total can often film without going through all the paperwork, just be sensible though – if you’re anywhere on the South Bank or outside the Houses of Parliament, expect to challenged and be ready!

For more information visit Film London:


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