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Filming Guidelines

Scene in San Francisco Filming Guidelines:

Filming Hours

Filming activities are only allowed between the hours of 7am-10pm due to the City Noise Ordinance. On a case by case basis, the Film Office may allow production companies to complete a signature survey in an attempt to get approval from a neighborhood for night filming.

Upon Film Office approval to begin a signature survey, the production company must canvas the neighborhood and collect a majority of signatures from the residents approving the late night or early morning filming. Signatures must be submitted to the Film Office no fewer than 4 business days prior to the filming date along with a results report clearly indicating:

  • The response of each resident on a map
  • The percentage of Yes, No and No Responses received
  • Notes on each No Response as to when attempts were made to secure approval

The hours of filming apply to the arrival and departure of cast, crew and equipment.

Filming in business districts may be restricted during business hours. Filming in the Financial District is restricted during business hours.

Not familiar with a signature survey?

Here is a signature survey template (pdf) and a sample of a filled out signature survey (pdf)

Here is a sample results report (pdf) - Please note you are not required to complete your report on a computer but your report must be clear and legible.

Neighborhood Notifications

As a condition of your permit we may require your production to leaflet the neighborhood in order to notify them of your planned filming.

Notification will be required to residents and businesses within 150 feet of the location of any anticipated parking (if occupying more than 3 parking spaces) or traffic obstruction.

Notification fliers need to be distributed to each resident and merchant 72 hours in advance of your shoot, when feasible, as it helps to ensure that your shoot runs as smoothly as possible!

Each notification must be on our notification template and include the following information:

  • Name of Production Company
  • Date and Times of Filming
  • Description of Filming Activities
  • Local Production Contact Number
  • Contact Information for Film Office and SFPD

Here is a Neighborhood Notification Template and a Sample of a Neighborhood Notification(pdf).

Reserve Equipment Vehicle Parking

Your permit provides parking privileges on city streets for vehicles essential to your shoot including equipment trucks, lifts, cranes, motorhomes and honey-wagons. Production vehicle parking is included in your permit fee cost.

  1. To secure parking a Use Agreement (permit application) and posting diagram (see instructions below) must be received by the Film Office a minimum of four business days before posting is to go into effect.
  2. All production vehicles must have placards with the production name on their dashboards in order to avoid confusion and possible ticketing.
  3. Motorhomes with pop-outs cannot be used on city streets.
  4. Active zones such as loading, passengers, bus and hydrant, cannot be posted or parked in at any time by members of the production.
  5. In certain areas of the City, production companies may be required to provide additional off-street parking to compensate residents.
  6. Advance written notice (via leaflets) may be required, and the Film Commission will advise you on this.
  7. Any changes to a posting must be approved by the Film Office and SFMTA.
  8. All efforts to locate vehicle owners will be made to the exclusion of towing. No vehicles may be towed without prior authorization by the Film Commission and SFMTA. Please call us for immediate help: 415-554-6241
  9. The parking of production equipment overnight on City streets is prohibited without prior approval from the Film Office.

Understood? Great! Now you're ready to create your parking diagram request:

Posting Diagrams must include the following:

  1. The number of spaces to be posted.
  2. Meter numbers or addresses adjacent to posted spots.
  3. All bus stops, painted curbs and tow away zones should be noted on the map.
  4. A directional indicator for North.
  5. The Production Company name, Dates and Times of the posting, and Contact Phone Number.

Sample Posting Diagram (pdf)

All diagrams must clear and all required information must be included.  Send this diagram in with your permit application to film@sfgov.org. We will let you know once your posting has been approved, assign you with a posting number, at which point you are ready to follow these posting instructions.

Street/Lane Closures

All Street and Lane closures are permitted by the Department of Parking and Traffic (DPT). Coordination with the Film Office and SFPD Film Liaison is required before closure applications will be approved by DPT.

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

To download a closure application from DPT'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.

    Last updated: 2/19/2015 3:48:00 PM