Do I need a film permit?

Filming in public areas

A film permit is issued by governments to allow a film shoot to be conducted in a public area. If you are filming in a public space, you will need a permit. A public space is defined as a place outside of your private property. This includes footpaths, parks, landmarks, libraries, schools, and other public areas.

The rule usually follows; if you are filming for internal purposes, (this means filming a video that is not for client purposes or to be posted on social media), you generally will not need to pay for a permit. However, you still need to obtain a permit to film.

City rangers can ask to see your permit and can issue a fine if you don't have one. If you are filming with commercial intentions, you will most likely need to pay for a permit. Pricing varies depending on the the impact (size) of the shoot on the public order.

Obtaining a permit

Check with your local council. Typically the process is to fill out a form which needs to be approved by the council. Best practice is to do this several weeks before filming in order to ensure that you have the permit in time (or that you can come up with an alternative plan if your application is rejected.)

If you are filming in a public space and need a permit, you need a talent image release form for any members of the public that are recognisable in your video too. For more information, check out the Do I need a talent waiver form? article.


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