Permit Application

Scene in San FranciscoConditions for Film Permitting under COVID-19

Permit Application Use Agreement - All paperwork must be submitted to the Film Office no less than four (4) full business days prior to your first shoot date via e-mail to film@sfgov.org

(We need 7 business days during COVID19 - see more guidelines here: https://filmsf.org/film-permits-under-covid-19

Additional Location Pages - If you have more than 3 locations you may use this form to add additional locations.

Instructions - Having trouble filling out the Permit Application Use Agreement? Here are some helpful instructions to assist you through the process. Still confused? Please call or email the Film Office for assistance.

Insurance - Reminder: Required insurance must be sent to the Film Office by the insurance company in order to process a permit.

Safety Considerations - Suggestions for production safety while filming in San Francisco

Do not forget to send an original signed page 7 of the Permit Application Use Agreement with wet ink signature to the Film Office:
San Francisco Film Commission 
City Hall, Room 473
1 Dr. Carlton B Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

Email Permit Application Use Agreements to: film@sfgov.org

*Please note: The Executive Director of the Film Commission may impose an administrative penalty in an amount of up to three times the applicable use fee to any person or production who violates Chapter 57 of the administrative code.*

Permitting for B-Roll 

We are unable to issue blanket permits that allow filming the entire city.  However, you can submit a permit application with specific neighborhood locations within a grid to shoot within.  Please note that filming within any grid is subject to the locations the Film Office can permit (mainly city streets and sidewalks).  See attached File Grid Example.

Alternatively, you can use the pre-selected b-roll location pages where you can add the date into each location you would like to shoot at.  These allow productions to shoot on the city sidewalks as listed to capture such views of “iconic San Francisco” as:

  • Jefferson Street at Taylor Street (for a view of Fisherman’s Wharf)
  • Haight at Ashbury Street (for a view of the Haight)
  • Embarcadero between Harrison and Folsom Streets (for a view of the Bay Bridge)
  • Lombard between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets (for a view of the crooked “Lombard” Street)
  • Market at Embarcadero (for a view of the Ferry Building)
  • Castro Street between 18th and Market Streets (for a view of the Castro neighborhood and rainbow crosswalk)
  • Bush Street at Grant Avenue (for a view of the Dragon’s Gate at the Chinatown entrance)
  • Hyde Street between North Point and Francisco Streets (for a view of the Russian Hill neighborhood)

These b-roll locations are for crews of 5 people or under.  Larger crews will be considered by the Film Office on a case-by-case review.

 

Permitting for Production Vehicle Parking

Street parking, both metered and non-metered, may be requested as part of your permit application if you need parking for production trucks and vehicles, picture vehicles and/or to clear for picture.  Parking requests are not accepted for crew or cast personal vehicles.  Production vehicle parking is included in your permit fee cost.

  • All production vehicles must have placards with the production name on their dashboards in order to avoid confusion and possible ticketing.
  • Motorhomes with pop-outs cannot be used on city streets.
  • Active zones such as loading, passengers, bus and hydrant, cannot be posted or parked in at any time by members of the production unless approved by the Film Office.
  • Our parking permissions do not override street sweeping or "No Stopping For Thru Traffic" zones.  We cannot authorize permission for your parking to override these SFMTA zones. It is your responsibility to read the street signs and regulations adjacent to your desired parking spaces.
  • In certain areas of the City, production companies may be required to provide additional off-street parking to compensate residents.
  • Any changes to a posting must be approved by the Film Office.
  • All efforts to locate vehicle owners will be made to the exclusion of towing. 
  • The parking of production equipment overnight on City streets is prohibited without prior approval from the Film Office
  • Parking along the curb or filming where street artist vendors are permitted by the SF Arts Commission can result in payment of $200 per day per artist  by the production due to business interruption, as required by the Permit Application Use Agreement.   Please see link for their specific permit locations.

To request parking be sure to check the box for “Parking Request” on the locations page(s) of your permit application.  In addition, a map must be submitted that includes the following:

  1. A basic view of the street and surrounding streets (e.g. Google Maps or Map Viewer)
  2. A directional indicator for North
  3. An “X” or square illustrating each proposed parking spot to be permitted
  4. The Production Name
  5. The Date and Times of the permitted parking
  6. A contact number from the Production (Note: this will be posted on the No Stopping signs)

See attached File Parking Example Map.

If you are requesting to permit 4 or more parking spots, for 4 or more hours, you will be required to leaflet the neighboring businesses and residents to inform them of your intended filming activity and use of parking. 

See template for this Neighborhood Film Notification (Film Notice). Here is anPDF icon Example Film Notice.pdf

*COVID-19 Neighorhood Film Notification must be used during the duration of the Public Health Order.*

A completed neighborhood notification letter must be approved by the Film Office before proceeding with distribution which must be done 72 hours in advance of the shoot. For guidelines on how to distribute the notices to the neighborhoods, please check our Filming Guidelines page.

*If you are requesting 4 parking spots or under, you have the option of self-posting the “No Stopping” signs by borrowing the signage from the Film Office and posting by a designated time.  For more information, see Posting Instructions.
*We are not allowing self-posting during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see below for instructions on how to contact a posting vendor.

If you are requesting over 4 parking spots total, you will be required to have a posting vendor post the “No Stopping” signs for you.  For more information, see Posting Instructions.

The Film Office has four city approved posting contractors:

  • Harry Stein and Bob Loeffler with Up and Down Signs: 415-290-2736 and 510-816-4093
  • Rashod Edwards with R&R Traffic Solutions: 510-689-8285 
  • Jason Wong with No Stopping Zone: 415-850-4863
  • (For projects requiring 50 or more spaces) Travis Ervin with TriCal Rentals: 415-633-6827 or e-mail travis@tricalrentals.com with subject line "Film No Stopping"

 

Permitting for Student Filming

The Film Office works with local film schools to assist students looking to permit film projects in the City. A student project is defined as a class assignment that is under providable insurance coverage by a university. If your university is not able to provide your project with the required general liability insurance coverage, you will need to follow the standard permitting process.

Please note: if the school is providing general liability for the student then the certificate of insurance (COI ) must include the student's name and shoot dates.

For student filming, all paperwork must be submitted to the Film Office no less than five (5) business days prior to your first shoot date via e-mail to film@sfgov.org.  As a courtesy to students we do not charge a permit fee, however there may be fees associated with other permitting bodies within the City.  Student filmmakers and photographers should obtain a film permit for any project occurring on City property.  Students will need to submit the following:

  1. The Film Permit Use Agreement above with the contractor listed as “(Name of School) / (Name of Student)” – e.g. “San Francisco State University / John Doe”. Make sure to use the school's address on the Use Agreement.
  2. A copy of their student ID
  3. A Teacher Approval Form from their instructor or department head verifying their school project.  This letter must come directly from the instructor to the Film Office via e-mail.  See attached File Teacher Approval Form.
  4. Signed insurance waiver form for workers compensation (found on the last page of the Use Agreement, Exhibit E).
  5. The student will need to show proof of auto liability if they are driving to/from location, using a vehicle for filming or renting a production vehicle:
    • If the student applicant is driving to/from location, the student will need to send a copy of their driver's license and insurance card.
    • If the student or anyone on the crew is renting a vehicle, they need to send a copy of the driver's license of who is renting/driving the vehicle and show proof of buying the rental car company's supplemental auto liability insurance (up to $1 million). We need a copy of the rental contract showing the purchase of the supplemental auto liability prior to issuing the film permit.
    • If the student or anyone on the crew is filming a moving vehicle (inside or outside of the vehicle), they will need to show evidence of up to $1 million auto liability coverage and send a copy of their driver's license.
    • If the student is filming a parked personal vehicle and will not move during filming, they will need to provide proof of auto liability (copy of insurance card) and a copy of their driver's license.
    • If the student is NOT using vehicles for filming and the student applicant is only taking public transportation/taxi to/from location, they can check the auto waiver on the insurance waiver (found on the last page of the Use Agreement, Exhibit E).
  6. A copy of the script or pages pertaining to the locations requested.  Note: this is not required for still photography.

Students seeking to obtain a film permit for the first time should expect to meet with the Film Office to go over filming conduct while on city property and general safety while filming. 

 

Permitting for Late-Night or Early-Morning Filming (Filming Survey)

Film SF grants permits for filming between the hours of 7am-10pm. However, Film SF can permit productions outside of these hours, taking into consideration the City Noise Ordinance (San Francisco Police Code Article 29), provided productions complete the filming survey process in the residential area they want to film. The Filming Survey is an information gathering tool, and not a request for permission to film. Film SF uses survey feedback to gauge neighborhood concerns with and support for a proposed filming activity. Not all filming activity requires a filming survey; for those shoots that do, community participation is strictly voluntary.

Filming Survey Process 

Please contact Film SF to discuss your production’s request regarding the filming survey process. Upon a determination by Film SF that a survey is needed, please follow the below process:

  1. Productions should create a map detailing the impacted zone and send it to Film SF. The zone is usually 300 feet past the last parking posted and film or equipment set-up. This should include the parking diagram setup, the filming setup, etc.  Film SF will review and identify the zone which must be surveyed.

    Productions should use the Film SF template to create a filming survey. This survey should include details of the specific areas impacted and hours of filming outside of 7am-10pm. Productions will need to include a phone number and email address on the survey so that residents can email, call or text their response in. Here is a Filming Survey Template.
     
  2. Once Film SF approves the survey form, productions should drop off the survey twice on different days at each residence in the zone (unless you have already received a response from a residence). If a production is filming in a residential area where businesses are open during proposed early morning/late night filming hours then those businesses will need to be surveyed as well. Productions should leave a survey for each resident in multi-unit buildings. In multi-unit buildings, managers may sign off on behalf of tenants. Note: due to the Shelter-In-Place Order, productions should follow the following guidelines:
    1. Prior to starting work, productions must perform the personnel screening questionnaire at the start of each day of outreach and production: https://www.sfdph.org/dph/alerts/files/C19-07-Non-Personnel-Screening-Attachment-A-2.pdf
    2. Per the Order of the Health Officer, production crew and personnel must wear face coverings at all times, maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from all persons, observe sanitation guidelines, including washing of hands at start of shift and before and after meal periods.
    3. To lessen community concerns, productions should limit interaction with residents and/or business owners and seek to conduct in-person surveys and deliver survey forms and other documents without physical contact and without violating the six-foot physical distance requirement. Productions will drop off surveys at residences but should not knock on doors. 
       
  3. When the results are ready to be tallied, productions must create a diagram and results report that illustrates the responses.  The results report should clearly indicate:
  • The response of each resident on a map
  • A breakdown of each resident’s response and a final tally of:
    • No Concerns
    • Concerns
    • No Response
  • Notes for each residence as to dates/times for distributing survey
  • The percentage of neighborhood response overall (all confirmed contact with residents)
  • The percentage of No Concerns (# of No Concerns divided by the total number of surveys received)

    Here is a sample Results Report and Results Map.
  1. Finally, scan and email all the documents to Film SF and schedule a call to go over the report. Filming Surveys must be submitted to Film SF no fewer than 5 business days prior to the filming date. Because of this deadline we strongly urge productions to start the process at least 2 weeks in advance.

Exceptions

There are some exceptions to this requirement. While filming in non-residential zones for example. When surveying mixed residential and commercial areas, Film SF will also gauge concerns with and support for proposed activity near businesses that would be open during the after-hours filming.

Sample Script for Surveying Residents/Business Owners

Below is a guide if you are approached by a resident or business owner. (Note: due to COVID please do not knock on doors and maintain social distancing at all times). If you are going into a business, always ask to speak to a manager or owner (when available):

My name is ________________ and I work on behalf of (production company) and our production is requesting to film on (street name) during (hours) on (date). In order to obtain a permit with Film SF/San Francisco Film Commission during these hours, we are required to survey nearby residents who may be affected by the filming activities, acknowledging you have been notified of the filming. This survey is not a request for permission to film. This is purely an information gathering tool which Film SF uses to gauge concerns and support. Please review this survey. You can sign the survey now or you can email, call or text your response at the number indicated on the survey. Do you have any questions? Thank you for your time and consideration.

For Community Members

Participation in a filming survey is strongly encouraged, but strictly voluntary. If you have no concerns with the upcoming filming, there is a place to quickly indicate this on the survey form. You do not need to provide the production with your contact information if you do not want to. 

Filming surveys are conducted within a specific zone, depending on the planned activity. If you live outside of this zone, you might not receive a survey. Also, if you live within the zone in a multi-tenant building, your on-site building manager might have completed the survey for building tenants. 

 

Permitting to Film with an Unmanned Aircraft System (Drones)

A request to use an Unmanned Aircraft System for filming over city property under jurisdiction for Film SF to permit can be considered, but there are several requirements involved.  Drone filming activity operating under a 333-Exemption or with 14CFR Part 107 and the appropriate waivers will be reviewed for approval if the locations fall under jurisdiction of the Film Office to permit. Please click on the above link for all information and resources.

All materials must be delivered to Film SF seven (7) business days prior to the requested shoot date in order for the office to consider processing requests for film permits that include the use of drones, and be aware that the process will not begin until all required documentation has been submitted.

Please note that requesting to film with an Unmanned Aircraft System requires the production to provide additional insurance as laid out in the Film Permit Application Use Agreement.  In addition, productions will be required to provide public notice of their flight plan through AirMap.

Current drone filming that has been approved for operation within the city of San Francisco can be found at https://filmsf.airmap.com/