Filming in Madrid

How to film in Madrid

City of Madrid Film Office offers advice to companies and professionals who wish to film in the city of Madrid. The following sections provide details on relevant matters regarding the general conditions for filming in the city’s different spaces and infrastructures and types of permits that can be applied for in each case. For more detailed information on processing the permits, please consult the webpage Permit applications.

1. Filming in public thoroughfares, parks and gardens

Types of permits

The permits are managed by the Film Authorizations Bureau of the Madrid City Council. According to the characteristics of the production, there are two possible types of permits: Announced action (Acto comunicado) and Permit for occupation of the public thoroughfare (Permiso de ocupación de la vía pública).


Announced action

  • Characteristics: filming with small crews not exceeding 15 persons, with camera and tripod but without electrotechnical equipment, which does not impede circulation of vehicles and pedestrians, without using special effects and with no need to involve elements of urban furnishings or infrastructure.
  • Time period: the application must be submitted at least 2 working days in advance.
  • Price: free of charge.
  • Procedure: registration of the corresponding form (see procedure), and the slip will serve as supporting document for the local authorities. See the page Permit applications.


Permit for occupation of the public thoroughfare

  • Characteristics: filming with medium and large crews, with more than 15 persons, that requires installation of electrotechnical equipment, reservation of parking space or, for filming, making interruptions in vehicular or pedestrian traffic, use of special effects or involvement of elements of urban furnishings or infrastructure.
  • Time period: the application must be submitted at least 7 working days in advance in general cases and 15 working days in advance if the occupation requires special permission for districts in the centre or will be held in a park or garden.
  • Price: issuing of administrative documents (fixed fee: €48,65) + occupation of public thoroughfare (€0.58 per lineal metre requested per day).
  • Procedure: registration of corresponding form (see procedure) and subsequent approval by the Film Authorization Bureau. See the page Permit applications.


Parking of technical vehicles

Using the Permiso de ocupación de la vía pública, the production company can apply for parking space for the technical vehicles involved in filming:

  • The spaces will be reserved only for technical vehicles. The rest of production vehicles are excluded from the permit; these vehicles must use the city’s general parking areas and follow ordinances in force or use any of the private or municipal parking lots that the city provides.
  • You can request parking space reservations for productions in which the film set is inside a building or complex (indicate this by marking the corresponding box: “Indoors”).
  • Only the use of ordinary city parking spaces will be authorized, and parking spaces intended for persons with reduced mobility and loading and unloading, which are properly marked in the city, will be excluded. If spaces are requested in the areas of Madrid subject to the Regulated Parking Service (SER), reservation of blue-zone parking will be preferred.
  • The center of the city of Madrid is a zone of low emissions and restricted access called Madrid Central. To know how it affects the shootings, consult the following page.


Filming in motion and interruptions of traffic

Those productions that require the use of platforms for filming in motion in the public thoroughfare (camera cars and similar) and/or temporary (less than 3 minutes) or complete interruptions of the public thoroughfare must indicate this in the Permit for occupation of the public thoroughfare:

  • In order to streamline processing, in both cases we recommend attaching a detailed map of the route and/or of the interruptions in traffic that are intended.
  • The use of platforms will not entail any additional cost for occupancy of the public thoroughfare.
  • If the interruption of traffic makes it impossible to circulate by one thoroughfare, then granting this will entail costs calculated based on the linear metres of the public thoroughfare occupied.

 

Intervention in the public thoroughfare

By means of the Permit for occupation of the public thoroughfare, the producers will be able to notify us of the need to make some sort of intervention in the elements present in the public thoroughfare (furnishings, signposting, lighting, posters, etc.):

  • All interventions will be subject to the approval of the Permit for occupation of the public thoroughfare by the Film Authorization Bureau. The notification of an Announced action does not authorize in any case intervention in the public thoroughfare.
  • In addition to obtaining the permit, the production company must contact each department of the City Council in charge of the different elements and services required, where information will be provided on the possibilities and corresponding costs involved.

2. Special needs

Filming with animals

Pursuant to Act 4/2016, of 22 July, concerning Protection of Pet Animals of the Community of Madrid, in order to film with animals it is necessary:


Filming with minors

Pursuant to Royal Decree 1435/1985, which governs the special labour relationship of artists in public performances, minors under 16 years of age may exceptionally work in public performances as long as authorization is procured from the Directorate General of Employment of the Community of Madrid.


Outdoor advertising

Permits for filming in the public thoroughfare authorize undertaking audiovisual production in public space, including filming of advertising works, but they do not authorize the setup of explicit advertising in the public thoroughfare. The outdoor advertising is regulated by the Ordinance Governing Outdoor Advertising of 2009.

3. Conduct and security

Signposting and notifications

If use of parking space has been authorized, then the production team must post signs regarding the reserved space in the public thoroughfare 48 hours in advance by using portable signs stating that parking is prohibited and security tape, as well as a sign that announces the reason for the reservation.

If filming entails partial occupation of the public thoroughfare, informational signs will be posted that set apart working areas and notify pedestrians and vehicles about the possible inconveniences of circulation in the zone.  It must be ensured that filming does not cause permanent inconvenience to pedestrians, residents and merchants of the area by refraining from blocking access to buildings, garages and surrounding establishments. If filming entails blocking an access, then the persons affected will be appropriately notified before and during filming, and transit will be facilitated when the cameras are not filming. Passers-by will be treated with courtesy, while ensuring their safe passage around the filming area as well as the absence of obstacles that could cause inconveniences to persons with reduced mobility (senior citizens, the visually impaired, wheel-chair users).

The production team must notify in advance the residents and especially the merchants of the area who could be affected by filming, by explaining the project to them in person, the possible inconveniences that it could cause them and the solutions proposed to reduce these adverse effects to a minimum, while showing respect and generosity in all cases.


Safety measures

All cables and materials must be kept in an orderly and safe manner. They must be placed so as to cause the least inconvenience to passers-by and the general public; we recommend that they be laid at the edges of the public thoroughfare, such as the strips where the road intersects with the pavement, or the pavement with the buildings. If they cross stairs, cables will be tied down with tape to prevent risks of tripping.

If there is a need to lay cable across a busy pavement, then it will be placed at a right angle under a piece of rubber with adhesive tape visible to the public with appropriate lighting or safety signposting. In less busy pavements, the cables may be placed below appropriate ramps. It is indispensable to consult the local authority if you wish to lay cables through public buildings or urban furnishings.

The production company must surround all structures situated in the public thoroughfare (cranes, platforms, lighting sources or similar infrastructure) with an appropriately marked security perimeter, while also ensuring that all structures are properly secured and looked after at all times and are used only by staff trained in the use of the corresponding equipment.

If lighting equipment is used, the production company must also ensure that placement of this equipment does not blind drivers circulating in the area, and that the lights are not aimed directly at the housing units and businesses without express permission of their owners. All generators must be situated as far as possible from any residential property. In the case of filming at night, the production company must provide the affected residents with opaque screens for the windows where the lighting required by the filming could cause direct disturbances.

Civil liability insurance policy

All production companies that film in the city of Madrid, especially in its public spaces, must have civil liability insurance for themselves and for third parties in case of accidents and damage to property or equipment. We recommend having an insurance policy specific for production. During filming, all necessary precautions must be taken to prevent damage to roads, furnishings and wooded areas where the filming is carried out, and it is the production company that will be responsible for paying any costs or any deterioration caused. If any damage occurs, the competent authority must be notified immediately.

Catering in the public thoroughfare

Outdoor catering in the public thoroughfare in Madrid is prohibited under all circumstances. If a production is undertaken in the public thoroughfare, the production team must organize its meals by making use of the restaurants in the area of filming or seeking an enclosed space nearby to set up catering for the technical and artistic staff.

 

Noise and cleanliness

All members of the staff must conduct themselves respectfully and responsibly by occupying only the places specifically mentioned in the permit issued and refraining from consumption of alcohol in the public thoroughfare. At the same time, they must observe the restrictions that the regulations in force impose on tobacco consumption in the public thoroughfare, since smoking is prohibited inside or near parks and children’s playgrounds.

Noise levels will be kept as low as possible, especially during filming at night or morning productions, thus attempting to reduce disturbances and ensure residents’ rest. For this purpose, the production company will work with soundproof generators situated as far as possible from constructed zones; it will keep the engines of production vehicles turned off whenever possible; and it will conduct internal communication using walkie-talkies with headphones.

From the standpoint of cleanliness and upkeep of the spaces, the production team must leave the places utilised in perfect condition after each day of filming. All waste products that result from the production process (props, disposable items, etc.) will be cleared away correctly, and you must remember to remove the informational signs and posters utilised to notify residents of the production neighbourhood, together with the adhesives employed to attach cables and other materials.

Filming at night

Filming at night requires that special attention be paid to the possible disturbances that could be caused to residents and merchants of the location utilised, especially in residential zones. Any activity is subject to laws on noise and disturbances, and residents’ complaints could lead to the local authority prohibiting filming.

To avoid conflicts, we recommend that all scenes that could produce noise above the level of conversation be filmed before 11 pm, especially scenes that entail simulated explosions. If filming extends until later hours, the residents of the area must be explicitly notified of the nocturnal events, and they must be provided with information on the possible noise that could be caused.

The volume of internal communication systems such as walkie-talkies must be reduced to a minimum by using headphones whenever possible. In order to minimize noise when the filming is completed, the staff’s personal vehicles will be parked in a distributed manner at a reasonable distance from the filming zone, thus avoiding concentration of vehicles. When equipment or heavy vehicles cannot be withdrawn silently at the end of filming, they must remain parked at the site of filming, and the set will be dismantled on the following day.

If it is necessary to use bright sources of light that could disturb residents, then opaque screens must be provided to protect the windows affected. In the event that the lighting could endanger traffic on the public thoroughfare by causing reflections that could blind drivers, then adequate signs will be posted indicating the danger in the streets that provide access to the site.

When filming at night, under conditions of poor visibility or filming on roads, warning lights will be placed around the materials, and the staff will wear reflecting vests.

4. International filming

Association with a local production company for services

Foreign companies often join forces with a local production company in order to delegate to it the tasks of executive producer, generally by means of a private contract. Thus, the local production company takes responsibility for carrying out the filming and provides service during pre-production and production of the project.

Transports and customs

Among EU countries there are no tax borders, nor are controls carried out or formalities associated with the transport of material. In spite of this we recommend declaring at the corresponding customs office the material transported in order to have greater legal coverage.

The temporary exit and entry of goods between EU non-Member countries, even if it is for a limited time and for use with professional or commercial purposes, must be declared before the customs authorities.  In this respect, in a trip to Spain from a country that does not belong to the European Union, you would need to fill out four different customs declarations: exit from country of origin, entry and exit from the EU and return to the country of origin.

The ATA carnet is a document that enables you to make at least two of these declarations (entry and exit from the EU), and covers the four declarations in the case of countries where it is recognized as an international document. Each country determines the amount of guarantee or bank check that must be left as a deposit, and it may vary between 25% and 100% of the entire material.

In order to obtain more information on the procedures and requirements for obtaining the ATA carnet, please consult the page of the Chamber of Commerce of Spain or the International Chamber of Commerce.

It is important to remember that the movement of goods within the customs area of the EU does not require ATA carnet except in the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla or from these autonomous communities.