Filming in San Francisco FAQs

We get a lot of questions about filming in San Francisco and San Francisco filming permission processing. Do feel free to contact us should you have any specific questions or if there's anything you think needs adding to this list.

San Francisco Filming Permission

Can you arrange San Francisco filming permission for me?

We would normally write a nice lovely FAQ about filming permission in San Francisco, but the lovely people at Film SF have an awesome website that tells you everything you need to know. Click here to check it out.

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Do I need a permit to film in San Francisco?

Yes, to film on city property you need a permit, even if it's a small student or b-roll shoot.

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How long does San Francisco filming permission processing take?

It takes 4 business days to process the permit, which can be submitted online.

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How much does a San Francisco filming permit cost?

For most productions that Film Me creates, the permit fee is $200 per day.

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San Francisco filming equipment

So, honest answer, what equipment do you actually have in-house at Film Me?

Film me owns an Arri Alexa Mini with multiple accessories, 3 v-mount batteries and 5x128 gig CFast 2.0 cards. We also have 5D MkIII cameras with tripods, as well as a number of GoPros and accessories. Lighting-wise we have portable battery-powered LED interview lighting that is perfect for corporate videos. We have the Carl Zeiss EF Lens set, plus an array of Canon lenses.

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What kit can we hire in San Francisco?

As a major destination for filming projects, we can arrange anything you can think of for your project.

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What crew are available in San Francisco?

We are constantly working to increase our roster of videographers and directors, do Contact Us to hear about our latest crew availability.

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Delivery formats

What is Frame.io and why have you invited me to it?

Frame.io is a collaborative tool that cuts out a lot of the middle man with edit changes and uploading files. Once you've been added to Frame.io, you can immediately view any video that we have uploaded to your project, and comment directly on the video. This cuts out the "I don't like the pink t-shirt somewhere around 0.57" e-mail issue, as you can pause and comment directly at that time code without having to e-mail us. They probably explain it better here:

Frame.io Intro Tutorial from Frame.io on Vimeo.

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How do you send files to us?

We will send you a link by WeTransfer, Hightail or Frame.io to download your final file. Do let us know how it will be finally used, so we can ensure it's the correct format for your usage.

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Can you send us files on a hard drive or memory stick?

Yes, we are more than happy to copy files over to a hard drive or memory stick media for your usage. Please provide the hard drive, or we will purchase one and add it to the invoice.

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Can we have the RAW footage?

Yes, just make sure you have a big enough hard drive to copy everything over.

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You remember that shoot we did together back in 2006, do you still have it?

Maybe, but we don't guarantee keeping footage forever and cannot operate as a footage library.

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What file sizes are we looking at?

For Arri Alexa Mini footage filming in 4K ProRes 4444, it films approximately 10 gigabytes per minute depending on content. A 4 minute video in 4K delivered to you will be around 20 gigabytes in H264 codec. Most 5D MkIII videos we film are around 3-4 minutes long, and 350-400mb in size in HD.

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What are 4K, 1080 and 720 on the file names?

We normally deliver videos in 4K, 1080 or 720 resolution. 4K is the maximum resolution we film, which is 3840x2160 pixels and essentially 4x larger than HD. That movie you just saw at the cinema was likely in 2.5k. 1080 is 1920x1080 resolution, known as 'full HD', which is the size of your plasma screen at home. 720 is 1280 x 720 resolution, which is a lower resolution version of HD that you have seen on most YouTube and Vimeo videos released recently. We always send videos in 720 initially as it's a smaller file size. We generally suggest uploading files to Vimeo, Facebook and YouTube in 720 as they display videos in that resolution as standard.

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Can you deliver in Flash format?

We simply don't like the quality that flash offers and don't send our videos out in flash format.

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Can you deliver on a DVD?

Sorry, as DVD is lower than HD quality we don't have this service available, and don't actually have any computers with DVD drives anymore.

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Billing and Invoicing

What's Film Me's legal name and address?

Film Me is a global company with offices in San Francisco, Vancouver, Buenos Aires, Sydney and Dubai, with additional editing staff in New Dehli and Manila. Local staff will give you all the legal details.

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Who is Rupert Chesman?

Rupert Chesman is our Managing Director and owner of Film Me.

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Where is Rupert Chesman?

We have installed a tracking dot on Rupert Chesman and usually know where he is. He flies around the world for projects multiple times a year.

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Can you send us a paper invoice?

We work entirely electronically and do not send out paper invoices. As a rule we don't work with companies that require paper invoices, if you do need a piece of paper please download the invoice and print it.

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Can you send us a cheque?

We succesfully managed to complete 2014 and 2015 by only doing bank transfers without any cheques. Just send us your bank details and we will add you as a beneficiary and inform you when we make payment.

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How do we pay you?

Our payment details are at the bottom of every invoice. For larger shoots we require 50 percent upfront payment before shooting commences. Note you do not have the right to use any footage until we have received payment in full.

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Can you send me a bank transfer?

Yes absolutely, that is how we make all payments. We can also make international transfers when needed.

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Why haven't you paid me yet?

We endeavour to make all payments as swiftly as possible once the project is completed. Do ask if there's something we've missed, we never want any of our awesome suppliers to be out of pocket.

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Working for Film Me

I'm about to film for you, what are you expecting?

We always want our videos to be artistic and interesting. Whatever the subject area, you can do something artistic with a macro lens or the 85mm 1.2, ensure you get the wides but then get fun and creative. Surprise us, don't just keep it safe.

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Can I come and work for Film Me?

Much like any other production company, our workload grows and shrinks depending on commissions. There was one fairly busy week where we had to make 80 videos in 4 days, then some weeks in the summer where nothing is happening at all. We love to have staff who work hard during the busy days, then are happy to relax when it's not. Send us an e-mail to admin@ with your CV, but please note we do receive a lot of CVs and cannot respond to everybody.

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Why haven't you replied to my e-mail with my CV?

We get a lot of CVs coming in from all around the world and cannot reply to every e-mail that we receive. We also receive a lot of messages from people who have no media experience who want to work in our IT department. We don't have an IT department.

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Call us or e-mail us