Filming

The main purpose of regulating film production is to ensure these activities are carried out in a safe manner with minimal disruption to local residents and businesses. Council is required to monitor film production including feature films, television commercials, travel shows and still photography shoots. Compliance with Council requirements will ensure that public health and safety is protected during film production. 

Who needs an approval?

When you need an approval

The following activities require an approval from Council:

  • closing or requiring use of public areas, such as parks, malls, roadways and footpaths
  • having vehicle access to a public area, such as a park, road or mall
  • using freestanding equipment, such as lighting, generators, dolly tracks and tripods, that could be a danger to the public or restrict public use of the area
  • leaving freestanding equipment unattended
  • having cables on the ground in a public area
  • using equipment such as catering and changing facilities.

If you require additional information or assistance with your application, contact the Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263).

When you do not need an approval

The following activities do not require an approval under Council's local law:

  • film crew legally parking vehicles in the street and use the location setting as a backdrop with shoulder mounted cameras (except if filming in malls)
  • filming solely within private property
  • filming on a footway and not:
    • using the footway for longer than 48 hours
    • fully obstructing the footway and do not require pedestrians to move onto the road or take an alternative path
    • on a main road or in the Central Business District (CBD).
    • Visit Council's website for more information about footways.

How to apply

  • Do you intend to close a road or part thereof? If yes, contact Council. If the proposed closure is on a State-controlled road, the written permission of the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads must be obtained. Note that you must get final approval from Queensland Police for the road closure.
  • Do you intend to occupy a Council regulated parking bay? If yes, contact Council.
  • Do you intend to close a footpath or place equipment on the footpath? If yes, contact Council.
  • Do you intend to build permanent or temporary structures including marquees? If yes, you may need to obtain building approval, either from Council or a private certifier.
  • Do you intend to use special effects such as pyrotechnic explosions? If yes, contact Council. Approval for pyrotechnics/special effects should also be sought from Department of Natural Resources and Mines. You must also advise Queensland PoliceDepartment of Community Safety and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services of your intentions.
  • Do you intend to utilise exotic animal species for film production? If yes, see Queensland Government Business and Industry Portal.

Lane closure/road closure

If you want to close a road, lane or Council parking bay, you need to:

  • fill out a road clearance application form (make sure that the applicant name is the same as on the film approvals form).
  • provide a detailed map of your proposed road/lane closure
  • mail the documents with the applicable fee to Council’s film approval liaison officer, GPO Box 1434, Brisbane Qld 4001 (no additional fee is required if lodged in conjunction with a filming approval).
  • You then must get final approval from the Queensland Police for this road closure.

Temporary lane / road closure assessment application

Footpath approval

If you want to close a footpath or put equipment on the footpath, you need to:

  • ensure all relevant fields on the filming application are completed.
  • email the filming application to Council’s Film Approval Liaison Officer.

Forms

Complete the Filming in Brisbane application online form.

Other application forms you may require include:

Temporary lane / road closure assessment application

Resident and business notification

Council has also designed a standard letter that you can use to inform residents and businesses of an area that may be effected by filming activities.

This letter:

  • is a condition of approval,
  • must be completed by a representative of the production company, and
  • must be delivered no less than four working days prior to filming.

A copy of the completed letter must be emailed to Council Film Approval Liaison Officer. If this letter is not emailed, the permit may not be granted. All other applications can be forwarded via email to the Film Approval Liaison Officer.

Plans

Depending on the complexity of the shoot, a site plan may be required for each intended film location (to a suitable scale e.g. 1:100) showing the following items:

  • filming and private vehicle parking arrangements and film set locations including site boundaries and outlines of buildings
  • location of any facilities provided on set including toilets, catering vans and refuse bins
  • location, size and details of any temporary structures on set, including marquees
  • location of fixed equipment such as lighting
  • the access and exit points of the site, including emergency access
  • details of any surrounding infrastructure including roads, bus zones, trees, fire hydrants, transformers, telephone booths, mail boxes, bus seats and shelters and rubbish bins
  • the distance of the nearest residential premises.

Public Liability Insurance

You must take out public liability insurance to a minimum value of $10 million and name Council as an interested party. A copy of this document must be submitted before your application is given approval.

You should also research all options regarding your other business insurance requirements.

How to submit an application

Applications can be submitted (with the relevant fee) in person at Council offices or by surface mail.

The applicant for a licence must be a legal entity (e.g. person(s) or Company). Note - a business name or shop name is not a legal entity and cannot be the licence holder.

You can complete a Filming in Brisbane application online form.

Fees

An administration fee applies for filming approval applications. The fee must be paid before an approval is issued.

An exemption of the application fee only applies for:

  • students at school, TAFE, university or those undertaking an approved course
  • filming news or current affairs for an existing television program or program with a definite on air schedule (supporting documentation may be required by the Filming Approvals Liaison Officer)
  • filming a story featuring an interview with an approved Council spokesperson
  • filming a story that promotes Brisbane City Council products, services or initiatives
  • filming a program that promotes Brisbane as a destination and credits Brisbane City Council in end credits
  • filming being undertaken by Council partners
  • application from non-profit screen industry development organisations.

Performance bond

The Council will assess the filming application to determine if you need to pay a performance bond, which covers the risk of damage to Council property.

If you need to pay a bond the Council will advise you of the amount. The bond will be returned to you on completion of shooting, if the on-site inspection states that there is no damage.

When damage occurs and is not fixed at the direction of Council, the cost of the damage will be assessed and the amount will be deducted from the bond.

Fees are not payable at the time of submitting the application, but will be invoiced before the permit is issued.

If you require additional information or assistance with your application, contact the Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263).

How to comply

Regulation (Inspection Process)

Council is required to monitor the standards of film production on Council property. Council may inspect the set before, during and after film production depending on the type of activity being conducted and its level of compliance.

Enforcement

If you are intending to carry out film production on Council property you must have a current approval and comply with the Council requirements and any conditions on your approval.

If you have difficulty complying with your conditions, contact Council.

Failure to comply with any of your approval conditions, may result in one or more of the following enforcement actions:

  • a letter being issued requiring action or work to be conducted
  • a legal notice being issued requiring action to be taken or work to be conducted
  • issuing of a Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN) or on-the-spot fine
  • suspension of an approval
  • cancellation of an approval
  • seizure of film production items
  • prosecution.

Complaint management

Council has a duty to investigate and respond to complaints received.

A complaint may result in an inspection of the film set to ensure you are complying with Council requirements.

Renewal

The film production approval is a one-off approval so cannot be renewed.

If you need to amend details on your approval or require a copy of your approval, contact Council.