Filming Guidelines

Scene in San Francisco

Filming Guidelines

Below please find the information for the following topics:

  • Requesting Police Support for Filming
  • Requesting SFMTA Charter Vehicles
  • Requesting to Shoot on Port Property
  • Street/Lane Closures
  • Directional Sign Posting
  • Green Filming


Requesting Police Support for Filming

The Film Office will determine if SFPD officers are required for support at a filming location within your permit application.  Please note that SFPD is required for any filming involving street closures, intermittent traffic control (ITC) or scenes involving simulated violence or prop weaponry use.  If this applies to your shoot, please be sure to check the box for “Street Closure”, “Intermittent Traffic Control” or “Simulated Violence” on your permit application’s location page.  If you know your production will need to request police support, please fill out a FileSFPD Request and submit it with your permit application.

If you anticipate needing officers for your shoot, please consider the estimated Fees


Requesting SFMTA Charter Vehicles

The Film Office will help coordinate the charter of any SFMTA-operated vehicle for filming.  SFMTA requires all productions to charter a vehicle, regardless of crew size, if you are intending to shoot on board rather than from the sidewalk.  Types of SFMTA-operated vehicles include:

  • Cable Cars
  • Historic Street Cars
  • Motorized MUNI Buses
  • Trolleys
  • Light Rail Vehicles

Requests for SFMTA charters must be booked ten (10) business days in advance.  

SFMTA Muni Inspectors are also required if there is intermittent traffic control occuring on a street where SFMTA-operated vehicles run even if there is no charter.  

If you know your production will need to request a charter or inspector, please fill out a FileSFMTA-Muni Request and attach it with your permit application.

Additional charges will apply for a vehicle charter or inspector use.  If you anticipate wanting to rent a vehicle for your shoot, please consider the estimated Fees.


Requesting to shoot on Port Property

The Film Office will help coordinate the filming on most properties under the Port of San Francisco.  This includes most piers and areas of the Embarcadero.  If you know your production will need to request to film on Port property, please fill out a FilePort Request and attach it with your permit application.


Street/Lane Closures

All Street and Lane closures are permitted by SFMTA. Coordination with the Film Office and SFMTA is required before closure applications will be approved.

All applications for closures must be submitted no less than 5 business days in advanced.

To download a closure application from SFMTA's website please click here.

Street Closure Application Fees can be found here.    


Directional Sign Posting

Many productions find it useful to post signs throughout the City to help guide crew to their locations. Please note that signs up to 8 ½” x 11” may be posted without permits as long as they are promptly removed after filming has wrapped. Please review the Department of Public Works’ Guidelines for Posting Directional Signs (pdf) for a complete explanation of the rules surrounding sign posting in San Francisco.


Green Filming

We want to work with productions to minimize their environmental impact while working in San Francisco. In order to do this we have compiled green information and resources for Green Filming.