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Everything You Need to Know About Getting a Location Release Form

It takes more than finding the perfect location to film in that perfect location. You need a tech scout with department heads to analyze the logistics of the location and, most importantly, to gain permission. As is often the case, someone owns the property you want to shoot in. To assure you’ll not get into any trouble, a location release form needs to be ready and signed. Peerspace understands the importance an effective location can have on an event, film production, or photoshoot, offering a simple platform to easily search for thousands of locations. In the meantime, obtain permission to shoot in your dream location with everything you need to know about getting a location release form.

What is a location release form?

A location release form grants permission to the filmmakers by the property owner to film on a specific property. These forms are for whatever projects need a location: films, music videos, commercials, photoshoots, or documentaries.

Sometimes, when scouting, it’s good to have the release ready for anyone who might be ready to lend their property for the shoot. The form has all the details about a shoot that a property owner needs to know, and it must have the property owner’s signature to protect both the filmmakers and the owner.

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Why is a location release form important?

If the owner were to see footage shot on his property without permission, the production company or filmmakers could face a lawsuit. And if the owner were to see shooting happening while on their property, without legal permission, they can get the authorities involved as well. Without a location release form, it can be argued that the footage legally belongs to the property owner if permission isn’t granted beforehand.

To avoid those types of scandals, fill out a location release form to protect the filmmakers. This form is also there to protect the property owner. It creates a contractually bound shoot time and date so no one overstays their welcome. It also makes clear what rules the owner wants to impose on the filmmakers while they use the space. And it guarantees the owner’s compensation in whatever form or amount it might take.

To simplify it, the location release form communicates to two parties — the filmmaker and the property owner — what is needed, when it is needed, and the rules involved for both to have the best experience sharing the location.

What is a location release form made up of?

There are five main points every location release form must have:

  • The time of the shoot
  • The specific location of the shoot
  • Compensation for the property owner
  • Restrictions set by the owner
  • Signatures from the producer and the property owner agreeing to those terms

Be sure to include the permission to access the location, record on the location, and own the footage recorded on the location, thus releasing the rights from the owner. If there is a chance you might need to return to the location for additional filming, mention it in the location release.

Also, include a note about giving more time to shoot than predicted as to not have a chance of going over time. Going over the allotted amount of time could be a nuisance for the owner, especially if it is a popular property that might have to get back to its regular uses.

Another possible addition to the location release form is detailing what the project is that is taking place. Is it a short film for school? Is it a music video for a well-known musician? Where will the final product premiere? Online? In theaters? Make sure to specify as the elements of this project and its future plans.

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What does a location release form look like?

Here is a simple breakdown of what a release form should include.

The header should read “Location Release”

Underneath the header are the names of the two parties. In this case, it means the property owner and the production company (or producer if no production company is available). Some forms might include the date of the agreement’s signature.

Identifies the location with an address

This grants permission to enter the property and record. Then, list the dates required for the production. Remember to add in a provision in case of a need to return to the shooting location and overestimate the time needed.

Lists the specifics

Then state on the release that the recordings done within the owner’s property belong to the production company and not the property owner. Otherwise, all the shooting could legally belong to the property owner. On the other end, the filmmaker is under no obligation to use the footage shot within the property — it is important to clarify that as well. That way, the filmmaker keeps the right to do whatever they wish with the footage.

Furthermore, if the property owner asks specific parts of the location to remain untouched, add it in the location release form. And for the filmmakers, if any location alterations will take place, make sure to get it in writing that alterations will happen, but everything will return to its original state by the end of the production time.

Details compensation

After this, the location release form should state what the compensation is for the property owner, as well as when the owner will receive that compensation. Those are all the parts generally seen on a location release form. However, depending on the production, you might add more elements to the form.

Includes signatures at the end

At the end of the form, both the producer and the property owner must sign the location release form. Next to the owner’s signature and printed name, be sure to include the address of the location once again. Both signatures should include the date of the signature. It can also be helpful to include the property owner’s contact information (i.e., email and phone number).

Next steps

Now that you know this information, you can confidently go off and scout, location release forms in hand. You can write your own release with the information provided above or find some helpful free templates online. Happy scouting!

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