The location scouting, permissions and rights

Les repérages : autorisations et droits

Film locations and location Scouting

on the production side and rights part 2


Here is the second part of the article on the locations/ filming locations : permissions and rights. This week we are going to focus on the places ” hyper-sensitive “. It is true that in these articles I do not put coordinates for the different structures to contact. You will understand easily that the addresses, numbers as well as the responsible changes for each of the regions or business for each of the places we are talking about. If you have not read the 1st part here ;o).

places “sensitive” ? : Train station, airport, subway, train, airplane, ferry, prison, etc…

Beyond permissions from the town hall and the prefecture of police of the city (parking of vehicles techniques for example) or you turn, you will need the agreement of the “owners” of places, or even of the state.

But said you that anything is possible. This often requires financial resources and/or patience and sometimes compromise….but everything is doable.

As I walked on a forum I read, some time ago, that a young filmmaker amateur wanted to make plans in the parisian subway…! He had the following questions : he had to shoot a scene in the subway to blow up a train…

He wondered if he could turn into a real train full of passengers. Should he prevent them ? And if yes, how ? Is what he had to ask permission to install a camera on the dock “type surveillance camera” for the need for his project ? Or if he could do it “the hard” ?.

Once again, you can’t turn without permission ! Especially with the RATP. But attention also to the right in the image of the passengers ! It is forbidden to film and use the image of someone without their consent, under penalty of prosecution, fines and the inability to play your movie.

Each location : train station, airport, subway are solicited all the time to accommodate a film shoot at them. Today, they are broken to the exercise. So just contact them to find the right contact.

Some of these structures have to be arranged on a fee schedule, is necessarily a solution to bring you. But you have to know exactly what you need.

It will therefore be necessary, most of the time, providing :

– A letter of presentation

– A synopsis

– A certificate of insurance

– The scenario (or sequence to turn into the place)

– The work plan

– The number of people (staff, actors, extras, etc..)

– The number of vehicles technical

It is necessary to provide a treatment time which is, in general, 3 weeks before the shoot. I assure you, some companies or cities are faster than this to respond.

Take the RATP : It is possible to turn Monday to Friday between 10: 00 and 15: 00 in passenger service. The train to go in loops of 12 minutes and the privatization of the train station is possible. The drawback to this is that the team does not exceed 10 people (extras and crew included).

Otherwise, there is a possibility of privatization of a whole unit (the lilac) with a ream of 8: 00 to 20: 00. A driver is available during 6: 00am.

In general, it is the prods who need to turn in a station, hallway and rows. Because no limit of people and equipment is required.

They can also decide to turn night between 1: 30 and 5: 00 a.m. (it is less expensive but more restrictive in terms of hours).

But all this at a cost. And, in general, a team of court does not necessarily have the means to turn.

For The trains ? And the station ?

For stations and trains (SNCF) it is the same topo. The com service has a fee schedule as it applies to the letter.

For example, in 2005, I turned on a level crossing, no train was there, the track was disused. We only need that the barriers are lowered and the lights are flashing. The cost for the prod was 1200 euros for the night.

Make your request at least 3 weeks prior to the start of filming. The SNCF adapts to the types of shoots : pub, telefilm, long, short film and also as a function of the requested material : station platform, train, station, staff, etc…

And you must pay the invoice before the beginning of the shoot ;o)

The airports ?

Please contact the communications department of the airport you are interested in and the director of the chamber of commerce and industry in charge of the airport.

ATTENTION : It is necessary to be very specific about your request and the exact place where you want to shoot. You will easily understand that a point of view of safety, it is simpler to turn to the outside or in the lobby of an airport rather than in the area of Customs, where passengers are searched !! ;o)

But again, if you have need of this place, everything is possible !

Expect a long delay of at least two months to get a response.

You will not be able to privatize the airport, but a defined area. After you do with.

The ferries ?

Ditto, make a request to the company that you are interested in. You can turn on a ferry in the dock, in dock or at sea etc…

This is not very difficult to get the permission.

The companies operating the ferries pay special attention to the scenario (believe in my experience) they will deny any authorization, if the film is about human smuggling, fraud, etc…

Filming at sea is complicated…as long at the material point of view as human. After 7 crossings of non-stop Dover calais – Dover Calais, I can tell you that my stomach remembers it ;o)

The prisons and courts ?

Recently, the ministry of justice and freedoms, opened its doors to filming. A tariff exists for each location.

I do not hide you that it is hard to turn in the prisons, but not impossible. It is obvious that you will not be able to turn in the corridors of the cells and filming of the prisoners. On the other hand, turn to the outside or in the secure areas of the prison, where, without any problem.

Filming in the old prisons is also possible but more complicated (actually very expensive).

You must address your request to the communications service, and international relations of the administration in prisons on headed paper.

For the courts, it is a little more simple.

But the rights in all of this ?

Once you have obtained the necessary permissions, you can film and use the footage as you see fit. You will of course specified in the rental contract that you sign, the terms and conditions of the exploitation of the images.

It requires, therefore, a contract in concrete ;o)

I put the guides in the filming of the city of Paris and the Paca region in the link :



Even if you are not one of these cities, these documents are very well made and will give you important information on the procedures to request permissions apply to all the other cities of France.

I always try to be as clear as possible in my explanations but if you have any questions please do not hesitate to leave me a little message.

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Tom Weil

Category: Uncategorized

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