London is an iconic city. Around every corner there stands a famous historical building. Not only that, its modern architecture tends to be eye catching and instantly famous too. With bustling streets as well as beautiful open spaces, it is no wonder that London is a dream location for film makers of every genre.

Filmmakers can’t simply turn up and start capturing epic footage though. Before even considering whether a location is safe, you need to consider what permissions you need for filming. 

Securing Permissions

NEEDaFIXER are old hands at securing the permissions required to film in London (or any other location). And it’s not as simple as you might think. London is divided into 33 boroughs, each with its own Borough Film Service (BFS). Some apparently public locations may well be privately owned. The Royal Parks, Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square, The South Bank and London Underground are some of the private landowners you may need to approach for permission. 

There are so many permission considerations, letting us take over that process for you would save you so much time, potentially money, and lots of banging your head against the wall.

Once permissions are in place, your security and safety considerations are only just beginning. 

Filming equipment is expensive. Keeping it all safe and out of harm’s way is essential. Accidental damage where cameras could be interfered with by passersby is definitely worth protecting against. Is your insurance comprehensive and valid? Insurance should also cover 3rd party claims if an equipment failure affects a passer by or resident.

Crime is, unfortunately, a factor in city life. London’s millions of visitors offer the opportunist thief plenty of easy pickings. Don’t do the same. Muggings are all too common and potentially violent. 

What can you do to minimise the risks to your crew and equipment? 

A major Australian TV news channel had equipment stolen last year (from CNN), here’s some tips to help avoid a similar fate:

  • Know Your Way Around – before taking to the streets with expensive equipment, plan your route. Even walk it a few times beforehand. You’ll be less likely to drift away from CCTV protected areas and you’ll look confident.
  • Keep Equipment Hidden – a lot of work can be done without making it obvious exactly what expensive tools you have with you. Disguise objects and don’t casually hold anything, even phones, in outstretched hands. Thieves will seize any opportunity. 
  • Keep People Safe – no matter what the value of equipment, the safety of you and your crew is far more important. Never consider tackling violent muggers.
  • Time Your Filming – statistics show that most London muggings take pace between 6pm and 10pm. Even if these hours offer the perfect light for a shot, this can be replicated in post production. Try and film at the safest times.
  • Call In The Professionals – an ideal scenario would be to bring in security personal whose sole role is to keep your equipment and crew safe. Not all budgets allow for this, of course. The cost of losing equipment, filming time, or worse, personnel, will far outweigh the cost of additional security support.

So, when you’re looking at filming in London, contact NEEDaFIXER and let us take away some of the worries for you.