• Film Office

Office of the City Manager

  • General Filming Rules and Regulations


    1. The initial application process and subsequent follow-up will be handled through the Film Liaison, located at the Pasadena Permit Center, 100 North Garfield Avenue, Room S116, Pasadena, California 91109. Telephone 626-744-3964. Filming includes videotaping and still photography.
    2. Please fill out the Application Form completely and attach the following documents on the forms provided, as applicable:
          a)    Scaled Plan - required for all filming activities which require parking or occupancy of any vehicle, equipment, or person associated with the filming activity on the public right-of-way.
          b)    Permission to Use Property Form - required for all filming activities on privately owned property. Signed form provided must accompany film permit.
          c)    Signature Form - signatures are required from residents in residential areas and may be required in commercial areas.
          d)    Notification Letter - all residents and merchants within a half-block (300 feet) of the film location must receive notice of filming. The letter must be typed on film company letterhead per the attached instructions.
          e)    Student and Non-Profit - letter from the school or proof of non-profit organization must accompany the film permit.             
          f)    Certificate of Insurance Form - must be on file with the City prior to filming activity. Requirements are: $1,000,000 General Liability; $100,000 Auto Coverage, and statutory limits for Worker's Compensation .
      NOTE: Complete application and applicable attachments must be submitted three (3) working days prior to filming. If there is a request or need for a street closure, application and attachments must be submitted five (5) working days prior to filming. Permits may be expedited in less than three or five days time with the signatures of approval from all affected property owners/tenants as stated in the City's filming guidelines.
    3. For filming on City-owned property, the Film Liaison will coordinate the necessary arrangements (excluding: the Rose Bowl and Conference Center sites). The use of the Rose Bowl must be cleared by the Rose Bowl Coordinator, and the use of the Conference Center requires approval of the Conference Center Manager.
    4. Pasadena Municipal Code (P.M.C.), Section 5.16.250, regarding fees must be complied with (see attached schedule).   Although application fees are waived for student projects, non-profit projects, director's reels and public service filming, all other regulations will be enforced and a permit is still required.
    5. For protection and safety reasons, and to protect the integrity of the City's residential neighborhoods, the following regulations have been established.
      a) Written permission will be required from the property owner(s) and tenant(s) of each location to be used. There is a 300 feet notification requirement (linear distance in each direction from the front property lines on both sides of the street as well as any additional properties affected including properties abutting alleys used for transportation. For filming occurring in backyards, the Film Office will request notification of property owners behind the film location. The Film Liaison also has the right to require signatures from these additionally impacted neighbors). In residential areas, written permission is required from the property owners or tenants affected by filming (i.e., noise, lights, parking, or filming in front of their property). All overnight filming, including set up and strike down (before 7:00 a.m. or after 10:00 p.m.), in a residential area will require 75% signatures on a Friday or Saturday, and all other days of the week will require 90% signatures to film overnight in a residential area. However, the following neighborhoods that have been continually in high demand by the filmmakers or would be high demand without special protections will remain at 100% including: Madison from California to Glenarm; Oakland from California to Glenarm; Fillmore from Los Robles to El Molino; Alpine from Los Robles to El Molino; Miles from Los Robles to Oakland; Prospect Blvd. From Orange Grove to Lincoln; Prospect Square from Prospect Blvd. to Rosemont; Prospect Crescent - the entirety; Prospect Terrace from Prospect Blvd. to Rosemont; Armada from Westgate to Prospect Blvd. ; Palmetto from Grand to Orange Grove; La Mesa between Armada and Prospect Blvd.; Grand Avenue from Locke Haven to California; South San Rafael from Colorado Blvd. to La Loma including San Rafael Lane. Street closures in residential or commercial areas will require 100% signatures at any given time. At condos or apartment complexes, the film company may obtain either the signature of the designated representative or those tenants within 100 feet of the parking or filming activity.

      Commercial properties: Although past administrative practice has required signatures from all merchants or property owners if filming or parking occurs in front of their commercial properties, this is more closely defined as follows:
      In commercial areas, signatures are required from property owners or tenants who fall within the impacted area. The impacted area is defined from the first to the last truck, camera placement, and personnel or equipment set up on the side of the street where the activity is occurring.

      Definition clarification: "Residential" means residential, public, semi-public and open space districts and "commercial" means all other zoning districts, mirroring the long-standing distinction made for quarterly filming allocations in 17.16.080 in the Zoning Code.
    6. Exceptions to the restrictions may be granted in extreme circumstances upon review by the Film Liaison and/or Police Department. Any deviation to conditions imposed by the Film Liaison on a filming use permit can only be granted by the Film Liaison or Zoning Administrator.
    7. No gunfire or blank fire, bull horns, siren or public address systems shall be used in violation of the Pasadena Noise Ordinance. Such requests shall be reviewed by the police and fire departments.
    8. Helicopter landings, or filming from the air will not be permitted without explicit written permission from the City Manager or their designee. A safety meeting is required with the Film Liaison, the film company pilot and a flight safety expert from the Pasadena Police Heliport. The Film Liaison will not recommend approval of any air filming without a safety walk through in advance of the air filming. Helicopter filming is banned in residential areas. Helicopter filming is allowed in a non-residential area with signatures obtained from every affected property owner/tenant within a 2000' radius of the location.
    9. Any requests from the City Manager's Office will be processed by the Film Liaison.
    10. Street parking in residential areas is not permitted, except a limited number of equipment vehicles used to produce the film may be parked at the site in accordance with a parking plan drawn to scale on the City form and approved by the Police Department. No film permits will be issued without the approval of the parking plan. Vehicles involved with film production (including crew cars and catering trucks) may park in private driveways or at zoned parking lots.
    11. Guidelines for permits to conduct filming activity and exceptions will be strictly enforced. In the event a violation occurs, the following procedure will be followed:
         a) A complaint is received by the Film Liaison or the police officer at the location.

          b) They investigate the validity of the complaint and determine if any city guidelines, ordinances or permit restrictions are being violated.

          c) If any violations are identified, they ask to speak with the location manager. They identify the violations for the location manager, discuss appropriate remedies and establish a timeline to rectify the problem. (i.e. Police officer states to location manager: "That truck is parked in front of a home that did not sign their approval for this activity. Please have it moved in the next 20 minutes.")

          d) Then it is incumbent upon the film company to take the directed action within the established timeline.

          e) If the action isn't taken within the established timeline, the Film Liaison or police officer will consult with the location manager and find out why it wasn't remedied. If the company is unable to comply, the Film Liaison or police officer needs to determine if there are valid safety or logistical reasons for the violation. Valid logistical is defined as any change to the permit which will expedite the filming, minimize impact to the neighborhood, and has the verbal approvals of the affected neighbors as witnessed by the on site police officer. If there are valid reasons (for the protection of the public or crew) that the permit is being violated, the Film Liaison or police officer may issue a change to the original permit conditions.

      If there is no valid reason for the violation and if the violation actually threatens public safety or peace, the Film Liaison or police officer will stop the production until the situation is rectified. If the company refuses to rectify the situation, the Film Liaison and police officer will shut down the production for the day.

          f) The next step involves sending a letter of complaint from the Film Liaison to a responsible production executive at the studio. The Film Liaison will inform the executive that a civil penalty of $848.50 dollars per violation has been accessed. If the production company does not pay their civil penalty by the deadline established by the Film Office, they will not be issued any additional film permits until all penalties are paid.

      A company audit of on-location safety practices and procedures will be requested by the Film Office. The Film Liaison will request to review the results of this audit. In the letter of complaint, the Film Liaison will also inform the executive that the company will be banned from the City for a specified period of time if any violations occur on future productions after the audit is completed.

          g) Regarding repeated violations at a particular location, the following guideline will apply: In the case of repeated violations, documented by the on-site officer or film office, and resulting complaints at a particular location, based on the recommendation of the Film Liaison, which is concurred by the Planning Commission, permits for short term filming and long term filming will not be granted for a period of up to a year.
    12. Required Public Safety Employees (Police and Fire)
      a) Off-duty police and/or fire personnel requirements shall be determined by the Police and Fire Departments, and any personnel required at the location(s) shall be at the permittees' expense (see attached Fee Schedule).
      b) Payment for personnel must be made upon receipt of permit, and any additional hours of work will be billed by the Accounts Receivable Department of the City.
      c) A minimum of six (6) hours is to be paid for each public safety employee required by the permit, or requested by the permittee. Additional public safety personnel may be requested by the permittee at the time the application is filed. Note: For shoots which are 12 hours or longer, 2 shifts of officers may be assigned and minimums due on each shift.
      d) The responsibilities of the public safety personnel encompass the interest of the citizens of Pasadena as well as the movie company. These officers are employees of the City, not the movie company, and they will enforce all City regulations and the provisions of the film permit.
      e) On-site supervision by public safety personnel are in the public interest, however, the requirement for both a firefighter and police office may be modified at the discretion of those departments.
    13. Frequency of Filming: Filming frequency at a single site is restricted to six (6) days per quarter for a maximum of 24 days per year in a residential area, and 15 days per quarter, 60 days maximum in a commercial area. Property owners and/or film companies wishing to exceed this limit may apply with the Film Liaison for a Temporary Filming Conditional Use Permit (TFCUP). Still photography, student filming, and non-profit projects are exempt from this regulation. 
    14. Still Photography: The following guidelines will apply for still photography for commercial clients: All personal vehicles and motorhomes must be legally parked at all times. In metered areas, still photographers are required to pay meter fees for all production and personal vehicles. Any large vehicles such as motorhomes can only be parked on the street in front of a residence or business with the written or verbal approval of the property owner. Private parking of large vehicles is encouraged. Still photographers and their equipment may not block sidewalk and alleyway access. Pedestrian access must be maintained at all times. Signatures are not required from property owners or tenants for still photos taken on city property; however, photographers are required to introduce themselves to any property owner or tenant affected by still photography in the public right-of-way in front of their property. They are to receive verbal consent to conduct activity in the public right-of-way from these individuals. If the property owner or tenants object, still photographers must relocate their activities to another location. Any still photography activity on city streets may require the assistance of the Pasadena Police Department. The Film Liaison may waive any hour restrictions or any other restrictions upon determination that the activity will pose no impact to the surrounding neighborhood.