Filming and photography

camera.jpeg

You may require a permit to film or take photographs on public land in the Surf Coast Shire. This includes for television shows, feature films, advertising and television commercials, documentaries and music videos.

 

Exceptions are for filming of news/current affairs pieces, and for personal filming/photography (including filming for private events that occur on public land).

 

The permits are to ensure your activity complies with our regulations and doesn't cause any safety issues for members of the public.

 

Which land manager should I apply to?

Council is not the only organisation responsible for the management of areas around the shire, where you might want to film. For example, if you would like to film or photograph at Torquay beach, you would need to contact the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee for your permit and you would not need to contact the Surf Coast Shire Council.

Listed below are some popular areas for filming to help you find the right people to contact for your permit, or you can view the map showing land management responsibility for coastal beaches(PDF, 10MB) (note this doesn't include inland areas):

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee

  • 37kms of our beaches and coastline (except Bells Beach Surfing Reserve) Phone: 03 5220 5055

Parks Victoria

  • The balance of our coastline (except Bells Beach Surfing Reserve). Phone: 03 5220 2002

VicRoads

  • The Great Ocean Road itself and other major roads in the shire. Phone: 03 5225 2558

Surf Coast Shire Council

  • Bells Beach Surfing Reserve (Note that commercial filming is not permitted at Bells Beach. Some rare exceptions may be made if the filming relates directly to specific elements of Indigenous culture or surfing culture).
  • Council-managed roads
  • The townships themselves (but excluding the beaches)

Contact us as soon as you think you might want to use a Council-controlled location, regardless of the size and nature of your proposed project. Early contact to confirm who is the land manager can save delays later.

If you're still unsure who to contact about your permit, you can fill in our filming and photography enquiry form and we can point you in the right direction.


How to apply for a filming or photography permit

To apply for a permit, please complete and submit this film permit application form.

Once submitted, your application will be reviewed within five business days. However, if your filming activity is complex, it may take longer to issue a permit.

If you're unsure whether you need to apply for a permit, please fill out this filming and photography enquiry form.

Film and photography permit fees

A filming and photography permit does not normally incur a charge. However, if the permit application is complex and/or the filming or photography is ongoing, there may be a charge to cover additional costs in preparing the permit. This cost will be outlined on application.

 

Smaller-scale filming and photography projects

You still need to contact us if your filming and/or photography activities are minor and ‘low impact’, but you may not need to provide as much detail in the permit application.

Low impact filming activities are:

  • a filming activity of four people or less (including all production crew and talent)
  • using no more than one camera, one tripod and handheld sound recording equipment
  • those where reasonable public access and public safety needs to be maintained at all times (such as on public pathways, footpaths and roads that must not be blocked)

Early contact can streamline the process, however, we will still require proof of your current public liability insurance and the basic details of when and where you plan to film.

Filming with Remote Piloted Aircraft (Drones)

Council does not have any specific local laws about flying drones, however the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) guidelines do apply. If you are flying for commercial purposes, you might need a film permit from Council or another authority like the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, depending on the location (please see tab 'Which land manager should I apply to?').  

Here’s a snapshot of the CASA guidelines:

- You must not fly your drone higher than 120 metres (400 ft) above the ground.
- You must not fly your drone over or near an area affecting public safety, or where emergency operations are underway (without prior approval). This could include situations such as a car crash, police operations, a fire and associated firefighting efforts, and search and rescue operations.
- You must not fly your drone within 30 metres of people, unless the other person is part of controlling or navigating the drone.
- You must fly only one drone at a time.
- You must only fly during the day and keep your drone within visual line-of sight. This means being able to orientate, navigate and see the aircraft with your own eyes at all times (rather than through a device; for example, through goggles or on a video screen).
- You must not fly over or above people. This could include festivals, sporting ovals, populated beaches, parks, busy roads and footpaths.
- You must not operate your drone in a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, person, or property.
- You must not operate your drone in prohibited or restricted areas.
- Please respect personal privacy. Don’t record or photograph people without their consent—this may breach state laws.
- There might be local council and/or national park laws prohibiting drone flights in certain areas. Research the area you plan to fly and contact your council or national park if you're unsure.
- Don't operate near emergency services aircraft – if you fly, they can't.

Additional information for drones over 100 grams:
- You must keep your drone at least 5.5km away from controlled aerodromes (usually those with a control tower).
- You may fly within 5.5km of a non-controlled aerodrome or helicopter landing site (HLS) only if manned aircraft are not operating to or from the aerodrome. If you become aware of manned aircraft operating to or from the aerodrome/HLS, you must manoeuvre away from the aircraft and land as soon as safely possible. This includes: not operating your drone within the airfield boundary (*without approval), not operating your drone in the approach and departure paths of the aerodrome (*without approval).

* Approval is generally linked to an approved model flying association and its members.

For more information, please contact:

Communications and Community Engagement
Surf Coast Shire Council
PO Box 350 Torquay
Vic 3228

Telephone: 03 5261 0600
filming@surfcoast.vic.gov.au