Film, Video, & Photo Production

Many popular films have been shots in San Francisco park locations. Some of the most popular have included Memoirs of a Geisha, The Princess Diaries, The Wedding Planner, Bicentennial Man, The Rock, Dirty Harry and many others. Television shows, advertisements and other photo shoots choose our parks. We are dedicated to helping to make it happen. All film, video or photo production on Recreation and Park Department property requires a Film Permit if the production could be sold or the photographer or crew is paid. This includes non-profit productions.

All commercial film, video or photo production (Film) on Recreation and Park Department property requires a Film Permit. Commercial film, production is defined as any activity that results in a film, video or photograph being sold, or any activity involving filming or photography for which crew and/or talent is paid. This includes "non-profit" productions. This also includes wedding pictures if the photographer is paid. It does not include photography or video for personal use, however tripods even for personal use are restricted in certain areas.

All Film Permits require the coordination of the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department's Film Permit Office (415) 831-5500 x 6, with a minimum of seven working days notice prior to date of the shoot.

Online Application Form

The Recreation and Park Department issues its own permits for interior work and work in revenue producing facilities (e.g. Kezar, Coit Tower etc.).

Filming is not encouraged on weekends, as this is the busiest time for parks, and staff supervision is limited. Filming is generally prohibited in Golden Gate Park on weekends and on the first Tuesday of each month, as this is Free Day at museums and tends to be very busy.

Film, video and photo production companies must adhere to the following rules and regulations when working on Recreation and Park Department property. Any exception must be requested at least 48 hours prior to the location production by calling the Film Permit Office at (415) 831-5500 x 6.

Production vehicles must be parked on the street. Permission may be granted to use a paved pedestrian path only for the purpose of loading and unloading equipment. If permission is granted to traverse a paved pathway, special care must be taken to keep tires on the pavement, particularly at corners. Failure to do so results in permanent soil compaction. If it is not possible to traverse the entire pathway in this manner, planks, plywood or other approved protection must be used.

Structures, sets or other props (other than hand held) are not allowed without express permission.

No tree, shrub or other plant material may be trimmed, pruned, altered or removed without express permission.

Because of irrigation lines, staking is not permitted. If permission is granted to install tents, equipment, sets, props (etc.) they must be secured by sand bags, water barrels or some other approved manner. Nothing may be attached or tied down to any structure, park bench, tree etc. without express permission.

Generation of mineral oil based smoke, mist or fog is not allowed. Permission to use water based fogging equipment will be considered upon request.

The capacity of existing trash barrels and dumpsters is based on the normal public usage of the facility. Because of this, the Permittee is not allowed to use existing dumpsters and barrels, and must remove from the site any and all garbage or refuse generated by their production and/or food catering.

The Permittees may not prohibit or obstruct vehicular or public access to park streets and roads without express permission.

The Permittees must acknowledge that the primary purpose of a park is to serve the public. If permission is granted to temporarily exclude the public from certain areas for production purposes, the Permittees must use the utmost courtesy in doing so. A notice including the company's phone number, along with the time and duration of the closure, must be posted at the site at least 48 hours in advance.

Permittees must follow the direction of the Department Employees, Gardeners, and Recreation Directors at all times. If a dispute arises, you should contact the Film Permit Office.


$50 - Student(s) Photo permit fee (per day, per site). Required paperwork - A copy of school ID and a letter of confirmation, on school letterhead, from the instructor of enrolled class.

$286 - Simple non-intrusive exterior fashion/product (per day, per site).

$716 - Large crew (>20) fashion/product, involving major props, car shoots,pools and other interiors, or requiring on the job* staff presence or preparation (per day, per site).

*On the job staffing means that a gardener is able to provide minimal assistance without major interference with their normal work activities. Examples opening a gate or dropping chain or providing a water hose. Any major production requiring a full time staff presence (gardener, security or trade) shall pay for this staff time at a rate of one and one-half times the staff's normal hourly rate. The Department shall also be reimbursed for any lost revenues or other costs that may be incurred because of the permitted activity.


$50 - Student(s) Filming/Photo permit fee (per day, per site). Required paperwork - A copy of school ID and a letter of confirmation, on school letterhead, from the instructor of enrolled class.

$286 - Documentary (per day, per site).

$716 - Simple TV commercials and low impact TV programs with crews of 35 or under (per day, per site).

$1,433 -Larger TV Programs, Commercials and Feature Films involving exclusive use of park areas, crowd control and/or major props or set dressing (per day per site),($500/day for set up or breakdown per day, per site).

$7,164 minimum Facility property usage, per day per site, (to be negotiated by the General Manager) - Major productions having major and unforeseeable impact on the Department.