Filming and photography permits

Filming and photography permits

Before you apply

Depending on the scope of your photo shoot or film production there are 2 different application processes for filming and photography permits within the City of Sydney.

To avoid delays to your permit being approved and issued please ensure you follow the correct application process suitable to your shoot or production.

Application processes

Minor filming application: if your production or photo shoot involves less than 10 people in total and it is based in a park or uses a footpath only (not on road areas), you only need to complete our online application form, which requires at least 2 working days to process.

Please note: the production should not require parking, traffic control or road closures and it should not affect pedestrians, businesses or residents. There is no application fee.

Film production and photography application: all other filming permit requests need to be lodged with the film production and photography application form, available for download below. Please submit this application within a reasonable timeframe to allow for processing and phone us to discuss these applications prior to submission. A technical survey of the film site should be completed before lodging the form.

Other considerations

If you are filming on private property you do not need to apply for Council consent but you will need to submit a filming management plan.

You must also follow the State Government's planning restrictions in relation to the property.

The managment plan needs to include:

  • your company details
  • a description of the filming to take place
  • the proposed location
  • start and end dates
  • crew size
  • details of temporary structures
  • equipment to be used such as handheld or mounted cameras
  • parking arrangements
  • any expected disruption to the surrounding area such as noise, vibrations, release of smells and the use of lighting or special effects.

When you submit your management plan you need to include copies of approvals that you need from other public authorities such as the police.

Other authorities

Not all areas of the City are under our control. Some areas require permission from other authorities listed in the table below.

Other approvals

Notify the police: filming activities on public land need to be approved by NSW Police who will want to discuss traffic control, user-pays police personnel and working around other activities that may be planned in the area at the same time.

Police must also be notified if the filming project involves firearms, police uniforms or any other law enforcement-related props.

Parking requirements: the City assesses all parking needs for productions requiring access to on-street parking. You may be allocated or purchase parking spaces for unit and essential vehicles and keep a section of kerbspace for example, to use for filming. Applications must show the exact parking locations on a clear map, the parking restrictions and provide the registration details of vehicles parking on-street. Please note that flexible or unlimited parking permits are not available. Barricading/reserving of parking may be required in some areas, which must be carried-out by authorised traffic controllers.

In areas where parking is in high demand such as residential or business areas, you will need to relocate your unit base and transport your equipment to the film site. Please ask about suitable unit bases if you require further information. 

If parking is approved by the City, you must:

  • park only in nominated areas with an approved parking permit
  • ensure the location and parking of production vehicles meets the City's and any police requirements
  • ensure production vehicles do not arrive earlier than the time stipulated in the permit, particularly in residential areas
  • ensure the parking permit is clearly displayed on each vehicle for the duration the vehicle will be parked in the street
  • not move or tow-away any private vehicle from the filming site
  • keep normal access for motorists and pedestrians through the filming unless otherwise approved.

Insurance requirements

All film projects must have public liability insurance and note the City of Sydney on the certificate of currency as an interested third party.

  • Stills shoots, news crew-style shoots, short films, documentaries, student films and children's productions should have $10 million coverage.
  • TV commercials, dramas, mini-series' and films with budgets under $50 million need $20 million coverage.
  • Films with budgets greater than $50 million need $30 million insurance coverage.

Notify the neighbours

Before you start filming you need to letterbox drop the area around your location letting the neighbours know about your production plans. A sample letter is available for download below.

The City's film liaison officer (see Contacts) can provide advice about the specific area that needs to be notified.

Contacts

Film Liaison Officer02 9265 9452

 
Area Contacts
Centennial Park, Queens Park, Moore Park, Driver Avenue and other roads within Centennial Parklands02 9339 6699
Inside train stations RailCorp02 8922 4392
Royal Botanic Gardens, The Domain, Mrs Macquarie's Chair, Hospital Road and other roads within Royal Botanic Gardens02 9231 8111
Circular Quay, (part of) The Rocks, Darling Harbour, Pymont wharves, Pyrmont Point and other areas of Pyrmont/Ultimo

Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority
02 9240 8500

Sydney Opera House (including forecourt areas) Sydney Opera House02 9250 7111
All state roads such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Anzac Bridge, Cahill Expressway, Western Distributor, Botany Road and so on. Roads and Maritime Services02 8396 1400

Last updated: Thursday, 1 May 2014