Filming and photography permits
Minor filming and photography permit
Please complete our online form.
Major productions must have the application form completed at the end of this page.
Lights, camera, action
With its great weather, a skilled creative workforce and recognisable backdrops, Sydney is an ideal location for filming and photography. However, if you are considering a site in the City of Sydney for film production or still photography, there are some requirements that need to be met.
If you fail to comply with the City’s requirements or if there are a significant number of reasonable complaints regarding your activities, the City may:
- cancel any approval that has been issued to you
- instruct you to cease your activities immediately and remove all crew and equipment from the site
- require you to forfeit any and all fees paid to the City and any security bond held by the City
- require you to show cause with respect to any future applications that you may submit
- restrict the use of the particular location for further filming and still photography activities
- notify Screen NSW of the issue for further action.
Get a permit
Film-makers need to take into account parking, road closures, access, traffic control, locals' sensitivities and Council applications. If you require on-street parking, you will have to apply to the City for permission.
There is no need to apply for Council consent if you are filming on private property, although you have to submit a filming management plan. You must also conform to the property's State Government planning restrictions.
There are two types of application. If you are undertaking a complex commercial project, you must apply to the City a reasonable timeframe to allow processing.
Smaller-scale jobs such as photography shoots, news crew-type jobs and student films require 2 working days' notice. These should not require parking or road closures and should not affect pedestrians, businesses or residents. This application is free of charge.
Make a plan
If you are filming on priviate property, you should contact the City and provide a filming management plan with the following:
- your company details
- a description of filming
- proposed location
- commencement and completion dates
- crew size
- details of temporary structures,
- equipment to be used, such as handheld or mounted cameras
- parking arrangements
- any disruption to the surrounding area
- any noise, vibrations, release of smells and the use of lighting or special effects.
When you submit your management plan, you must include copies of any approvals that you need to obtain from public authorities such as the police.
You must apply to the City for all parking requirements. Applications are assessed case by case.
You may purchase parking spaces for essential and unit vehicles and a section of kerb space if you need it, for example, to use for required shots. In areas with a high demand for parking, such as residential or business areas, the City may not approve your parking application. If your parking application is not approved, you will need to relocate your base to another location, such as a car park, off-street or in an alternative on-street area, and transport equipment to the film site.
Resident parking permits are not available for film production vehicle use but you may be permitted to use two resident parking spaces for a generator, provided that you inform residents by letterbox drop about how the spaces are being used.Once parking is approved by the City, film crews must:
- park only in the areas nominated in an approved parking permit
- abide by the requirements of the City and the NSW Police Service regarding the location and parking of production vehicles
- ensure production vehicles do not arrive at or near a residential location earlier than the time stipulated in the permit
- not remove, move or tow away any private vehicle from the filming site
- maintain normal access for motorists and pedestrians through the filming site, except for the times when you are actually filming
- maintain a 4-metre wide emergency vehicle lane, clear of any obstruction, through the filming site.
Contact the law
Police approval is required for filming activities on public land. Call the film-liaison officer below to be put in touch with your local area command. Police will want to discuss traffic control, the use of user-pays police personnel and working around other activities that may be occurring in the area during the same time. Police must be notified if the project involves firearms, police uniforms or any other law enforcement-related props.
Before you start filming, you need to letterbox the local area warning neighbours in the vicinity of the location of your plans. A sample letter is in the downloads box below. Call the film-liaison officer below if you have questions about the required area of notification. Small-scale productions, shoots that don't require on-street parking and those undertaken far from other businesses and homes are exempt from this step.
Film crews may not trim trees or plants without the City's permission. Neighbours should not be subjected to excessive noise levels.
Film projects must have public-liability insurance, with the City of Sydney noted on the certificate of currency.
- Stills shoots, news crew-style shoots, short films, documentaries, student films and children's productions should have $10 million policies.
- TV commercials, dramas, mini series and films with budgets under $50 million need $20 million coverage.
- Films with budgets greater than $50 million need a $30 million insurance policy.
When it comes to film and photography permits, not all areas of the City are under Council's control. See the chart below for areas where you will need to obtain authority from other organisations.
|Area||Authority contact details|
|Centennial Park, Queens Park, Moore Park, Driver Avenue and other roads therein||
|Inside train stations||
|Botanic Gardens, The Domain, Mrs Macquarie's Chair, Hospital Road and other roads therein||
Royal Botanical Gardens
|Circular Quay, The Rocks (part), Darling Harbour, Pyrmont Wharves, Pyrmont Point and some areas of Pyrmont & Ultimo||
Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority
|Sydney Opera House and its forecourt area||
Sydney Opera House
|Filming on all state roadways (as opposed to footpaths) such as: Sydney Harbour Bridge, Anzac Bridge, Cahill Expressway & Western Distributor, Botany Road|
Apply for a news crew or minor production online. For larger-scale productions, download the film production and photography application form below.
Film Liaison Officer
Tel: 02 9265 9653
|Film production and photography application||PDF 162.2 KB||Download|
|Reduction/waiver of filming fees application||PDF 235.7 KB||Download|
|Film production fees and charges||PDF 74.2 KB||Download|
|Sample letter to neighbours||Word 24.5 KB||Download|
Last updated: Tuesday, 21 May 2013