The following protocol is designed to inform productions of the local procedures in place to ensure any disruption to residents and traders from film & TV related activity is kept to a minimum to ensure the region remains film friendly.
The key to successful filming in Buckinghamshire’s residential & commercial areas is effective consultation and engagement with its residents and traders who will be impacted by the activity.
It is expected that film-makers on location in and around Buckinghamshire treat residents and traders with courtesy, respect, and consideration at all times.
Filming in Residential & Commercial Areas
‘General’ filming applies to productions that will have a major and immediate impact on an area and often involve multifaceted activities such as.
The use of cranes (of all sizes), cherry pickers, multiple cameras, camera track, camera dollies, all types of action vehicle movement e.g., low loaders and A-frames, large lighting rigs which can include scaffold, various sized generators, the use of animals, use of firearms, children, parking technical vehicles outside private property, erecting drapes for blackout etc.
Filming involving any of the above activities may also require additional arrangements in place to achieve them such as (but not limited to); closing a road or temporarily halting traffic, using special effects, or conducting stunts, removing/disguising or altering street furniture and/or road markings, use of UAVs/Drones or filming during unsociable hours (23:00-07:00).
‘Low Impact’ filming applies to productions that have a limited impact on an area which is generally low key and straight forward and does not include any of the activities listed above. In general, it will mainly consist of small (usually less than 10) unobtrusive technical crew and contributors using portable/handheld camera, basic sound and tripod equipment.
- Recommended notice period – no less than 2 weeks
- A communication plan and letter to residents and/or traders to be drafted by the production’s location manager and approved by the Buckinghamshire Film Office. The letter(s) should outline the project, explain the filming proposal, ask residents for comments mentioning that the location manager will be visiting the area in the near future. The letter(s) must include contact details of the location manager, contact details of the Buckinghamshire Film Office in addition to filming dates, times, location, crew numbers, stunts, special effects, dressing, parking, road closures,
traffic control, scenes of a controversial nature, loud noises (controlled explosions, gun shots etc.) – and a map to demonstrate impact where necessary.
If alternative parking for residents and businesses is required, it is expected that the production provide a secure and accessible site situated close to the address effected, details of which should be included in the letter. Where this distance is greater than 100m access transport should be provided.
- Letters distributed to all residents and traders in the area affected with a record kept of each address notified and time of delivery.
- Residents and traders contacted in person by the location manager 2 or 3 days later at a suitably convenient time (e.g., residents during early evening / traders during business hours) to talk with as many residents & traders as possible to ensure that they have received/read the letter and whether they have any objections to the filming taking place. Location manager to keep notes of who has been spoken to and comments received. Production personnel may also be required to attend Q&A sessions at residents and business association meetings. Valid production company identification must be worn at all times when approaching residents & traders. Residents and traders should also be encouraged to contact the Buckinghamshire Film Office for validation of production company credentials and plans.
- 2nd Letter distributed to residents and businesses to remind them of filming taking place with priority given to those who have either not responded to first letter or where face to face contact was not possible.
- Further evaluation takes place – if there is significant opposition to a filming proposal then the Buckinghamshire Film Office has grounds to turn the request down. If, on the other hand, a sufficient majority of residents and traders have signalled their agreement with the filming proposal, then a film notice/permit is then issued by the Buckinghamshire Film Office to approve the request and activity.
- Access to surrounding homes and businesses must be kept clear at all times. Access to property, businesses, pavements, and highways must be maintained at all times unless permission has been given in advance by the resident, businesses and council.
- Pre-approved designated catering areas (in any public space) must adhere to the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and include as a minimum that all waste is removed before the end of each day.
- Any security hired must be SIA trained/registered and identifiable by always displaying SIA issued badges. Security, marshals, and stewards should all be clearly visible and identifiable to residents and traders if they have cause for compliment/complaint (e.g., name or a number clearly marked on a high visibility jacket).
- All cast, crew and facilities directly and indirectly employed by the production (especially those interfacing with the public) must act in a professional, courteous, and respectful manner at all times and refrain from using lewd or offensive language or engage in any antisocial behaviour.
- Buckinghamshire Council encourages in recognition of any inconvenience caused to the local community productions to make a donation to Local Charities or a specific project identified by the residents in the area directly affected by the filming activity.
The amount donated is dependent on scale and duration of the filming activity and at the discretion of the production company. However, in areas where the parking is residents permit holders only (and these bays are being suspended for filming) the Film Office encourages that the donation be the equivalent of 50% of the nearest Buckinghamshire Council Pay & Display Bay, per bay per day.
- The production should send a letter of Thank You to the local community detailing, if applicable, which of the charities or local good causes they have made a donation to and provide a copy of the Buckinghamshire Film Office
- In addition, the Buckinghamshire Film Office will keep residents and business associations informed of the overall amount donated by production companies, the recipients and/or enhancements made across all wards in Buckinghamshire where filming has taken place and where donations have been made.
- As this filming is small in nature (with less than 10) unobtrusive technical crew and cast/contributors using portable/handheld equipment with basic sound and tripod pre- communication and advance notice is not always necessary but is good practice where possible.
- For avoidance of doubt ‘Low Impact’ filming does NOT include set dressing of any sort, music playback, suspension of parking, use of action vehicles, use of firearms (including replicas) or the staging of a fight sequence. This list is not exhaustive and therefore the Buckinghamshire Film Office will advise once a request has been received.
- Access to surrounding homes and businesses must be kept clear at all times. Access to property, business, pavements, and highways must be maintained at all times unless permission has been given in advance by the resident, businesses and council.
- The production company is not required to send a thank you letter; however, it is best practice where possible.
It should be noted that the Buckinghamshire Film Office may request a deposit in advance of filming, to ensure the terms of this process is not breached. Should this be deemed necessary the Film Office will donate the deposit to a local good cause. This sum may be in addition to any other donations or monies required to make good to an area a production company would like to use. Any production that does not act responsibly may be declined permission to film in and around Buckinghamshire in the future.