Grid Locations Offer Filmmakers Streamlined Access, Flexibility

FilmLAFor Filmmakers

Grid Locations

Sometimes, when filming in the City of Los Angeles, a single, static location just won’t cut it. You might need b-roll, driving shots, walk and talks, etc. Or maybe you are filming a reality show and don’t know exactly where the scene will take you from moment to moment. If this is the case, you may be able to use a “Grid Location” to legally get the film permit you need.

At its most basic, a Grid Location is a dedicated area of the city, with boundaries made up of four intersecting streets, in which a production is permitted to film, subject to certain limits.

Whether your activity takes place on foot or behind the wheel, you can apply for a Grid Location if your plans fit the established criteria.

Grids are meant for small crews (15 people or fewer and/or 5 or less vehicles if you plan to have driving scenes). The activity must be exterior only, with minimal community impact (so no high impact activity such as special effects, drone use, or precision driving please!)

Crews filming with Grids are not permitted to stop or set up in any one location for more than two hours. All equipment must be hand-held and the public right of way must be maintained at all times.

For driving scenes, a camera may be placed on a tripod to capture quick drive by shots, however large equipment such as dolly tracks or jib arms are not allowed. Additionally, while capturing the shot, all vehicles must be street legal, and all traffic laws must be obeyed. Use of large-scale cameras for driving activity (example: Russian arm, process trailer) requires assignment of safety personnel.

Other things to note when considering a Grid Location:

  • A single FilmLA permit can cover you for up to five locations, for up to seven consecutive days. A Grid Location counts as one of those locations, so you can still add up to four more!
  • There are three popular pre-defined Grids that you can select from when applying for your permit in MyFilmLA: Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, and the Venice Area. You can also create your own Grid Location by listing the streets that create the boundary for the area in which you wish to film.
  • Stopping or setting up in front of businesses or residential properties requires permission from the property owner.
  • Grid Locations cannot include Special Conditions areas, beaches, parks, schools, or other City or County owned facilities. They also exclude freeways and cities outside of FilmLA’s jurisdiction. They’re primarily intended for the use of commercially zoned city streets and sidewalks.
  • Companies wishing to utilize ITC (Intermittent Traffic Control) on a driving Grid must hire traffic officers.

So the next time you’re planning a film shoot and want to keep it moving, remember: a Grid Location offers you flexibility and can be an efficient way for a small crew to cover a lot of ground.

FilmLA’s Solution Services Department can help you in determining if a Grid Location is right for you! Feel free to call us at (213) 977-8600 or email us with your questions, or for any other production planning assistance.

Buck Zachary

About the Author: Buck Zachary

Buck Zachary has worked with FilmLA in various roles since 2012, currently as a Production Planning Coordinator, part of the Solution Services Team. Buck grew up in Central Illinois and received a BS in Acting from Illinois State University. He loves going to movies, attending live theatre, and building LEGO with his two daughters. Buck’s favorite movie is, and always will be, Ghostbusters.

Need Help Applying For A Permit?

Contact Our Solution Services Team
Call: (213) 977-8600

Stay in the Know

Subscribe to FilmLA's News Digest! Sent bi-monthly, the email digest includes the latest news on FilmLA, recently published articles, research reports and Production Alert reminders.
[yikes-mailchimp form="5"]