Film Augusta Guidelines

Welcome to the Augusta area! Thank you for choosing to film your production in Augusta and the beautiful surrounding area. Augusta boasts a wealth of locations including an urban river running through downtown Augusta which changes into a rural river region very quickly, an urban canal, urban swamp and an architectural timeline which dates back to 1736.

Augusta is a perfect middle-American city that can double for a variety of different scenes. Film Augusta is the central point of contact for entertainment production in the City and the Augusta Film Commission Office. Our office functions as a liaison between film companies, Augusta, Georgia, and the community as whole. We provide location assistance and coordination with local crew and support services. Film Augusta is a division of the Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Film Augusta is also recognized by the Georgia Film Office as the Camera Ready designee for Augusta and we are a member of the Association of Film Commissions International (AFCI).

Guidelines  
These guidelines are just that - guidelines, which may be relaxed or tightened as situations warrant. Our decisions reflect an attempt to balance the needs of filmmakers with those of businesses, residents, and the public interest, and to arrive at solutions that are favorable to all.   Film Augusta has certain expectations regarding the presence of productions in our neighborhoods. Productions should remember that they are guests whose continued presence in these neighborhoods relies on the goodwill of the affected residents and businesses, and should act accordingly.

Registration  
All productions must register with Film Augusta by submitting the Project Registration Form. This information is required a minimum of five working days before any filming activity is to take place.

Impact
Motion picture, television and photographic production shall mean all activity attendant to staging or shooting (video-taping or filming) commercial motion pictures, television shows, programs or commercials, and to the taking of single or multiple photographs for sale or use for a commercial purpose where the photographer sets up stationary equipment on public or private property or the public right-of-way, in any one location for longer than five consecutive minutes. Low-impact film activities: In general, low impact film activities are defined as those which: 

  • Allow uninterrupted flow of pedestrian traffic;
  • Hold vehicular traffic for no more than one minute intervals;
  • Have minimal impact on normal business activities;
  • Provide parking for cast, crew, extras and other nonessential vehicles in off-street lots, as well as an alternate parking for those displaced from these lots;
  • Provide a private holding area for extras; and
  • Conduct prep and wrap activities in accordance with the above.

High-impact film activities: In general, high impact film activities are those that fall outside two or more of the criteria for a low impact activity. Additional criteria that classify a film activity as high impact include:

  • High speed chases or crashes;
  • Use of weapons, marked public safety vehicles, or public safety uniforms
  • Use of pyrotechnics or explosives;
  • Use of aircraft, or;
  • Use of public facilities or public right of way.

Permit Requirements  
Film Augusta does not issue permits. Film Augusta is happy to assist in connecting productions with each authorizing entity. Authorizations are required for any production activity which will have an impact on public property within the Augusta. Additional authorizations may be required from government agencies such as the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). A pre-production meeting is required between Film Augusta and the production’s Location Manager or another production representative. A listing of all anticipated locations with tentative dates should be reviewed as soon as possible, as Film Augusta may know of possible conflicts with local events/festivals, procedures or other filming activities. Additional meetings may be required with the local sheriff’s departments, traffic engineering, or other governmental departments.

Early application is recommended and may be required, as all authorizations are issued on a first-come, first-served basis, and the logistical complexity of the project may affect time needed for approval.

Augusta, Georgia (the City of Augusta) Requires:

  • A minimum of five (5) business days prior to filming to secure an authorization for use of public facilities and public right of ways
  • Payment, execution of authorizations, and certificate of insurance is required before production begins

Augusta Fire Department Requires:

  • Five (5) business days for approval of pyrotechnics, smoke machines, explosions, sparks, squibs or other special effects

Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Requires:

  • Five (5) days for road closures and requests for special duty deputies

Information & Rates for Special Duty Deputies 
Monday – Saturday: $22.00 per hour with a four-hour minimum
Sundays & Holidays: $25.00 per hour with a four-hour minimum
Payment method cash or check to the officer the day of the event 

Richmond County Board of Education (RCBOE) Requires:

  • 15 working days for approval prior to date of lease and payment received 10 working days before date of lease

Augusta Canal Authority Requires:

  • Five (5) business days for approval prior to date of filming
  • Payment, execution of authorizations, and certificate of insurance is required before production begins

The Production Company shall limit the activities at each location to those outlined in the authorization, within the time frame specified in the authorization. Failure of the Production Company to comply with the guidelines and conditions set forth for each authorization, or the use of any location not specified in the authorization, shall give the authorizing party grounds to revoke the authorization or take other restrictive actions as necessary.

Safety  
Film Augusta expects all productions to abide by industry standard safety guidelines. If known activities present a material public safety concern, Film Augusta may cause production to pause until such issue(s) has been resolved.

Insurance  
Augusta, Georgia, Richmond County BOE, and Augusta Canal Authority will require a certificate of insurance prior to securing an authorization. Please refer to each entity for specific insurance requirements. 

Notification of Affected Businesses and Residents  
The production company is responsible for notifying all businesses and residents affected by the filming activity. Notification shall take place following the authorizing entity’s review of the application and no less than two business days prior to the planned activity. In some situations, more advance notification may be required. Earlier notification, including sign-off sheets, may be required in places where planned activities may have a significant impact on the normal activities of the area. The area to be notified will vary depending on the impact of the proposed activity. Notification shall include a letter from the production company, and should include information concerning the location and duration of the filming activity, as well as specifics regarding lights, noise, traffic, and parking, where applicable, and contact numbers for both the production company and Film Augusta. If authorized plans change after notification an updated notification letter must be distributed.

Authorizations may be denied or revoked where insufficient time has been allowed for proper notification, or when the notification process has been improperly applied.  

Traffic Control and Street Closures  
Traffic control, if needed, must be handled by off-duty police officers hired by the production company through the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO). The RCSO retains the right to determine the number of officers needed. Intermittent holding of traffic shall not exceed five-minute intervals, unless otherwise specified by the issued permit. No holding of traffic is permitted during morning and/or evening “rush” hours on streets which experience congestion during these times, or on streets affected by school traffic during their opening and closing hours. Each case will be evaluated individually by the permitting authority. In general, “rush” times are defined as follows:

  • Morning: 7 – 9 a.m.
  • Evening: 4 – 6 p.m.

Interruption of traffic on State maintained streets requires additional approval from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). Requests for street closures or diverting of traffic should be made well in advance to allow for planning of alternate routes and proper signage. Production companies who wish to detour traffic within Augusta must submit a written plan along with request to the RSCO and is subject to approval by the RSCO, traffic engineering division, and GDOT (if necessary). Production may be halted and streets opened in the event of an emergency. All traffic control, parking and street closures must allow for a working fire lane at all times.

Parking  
All equipment or support vehicles not in immediate use shall be parked so as not to cause any interference to pedestrian or vehicular traffic.  Production vehicles must be parked in such a way as to not impede safe lines of vision at intersections, and in accordance with all ordinances regarding on-street parking. Production vehicles must not block fire hydrants, driveways, crosswalks, or other access ramps unless authorized by and/or the private property owner where relevant. Emergency lanes must be open at all times. 

Additional Guidelines

  • Use of prop weapons in view of, or audible to, the public requires the presence of one or more uniformed law enforcement officers. Additional notification to surrounding residences and businesses may be required for the use of prop weapons using blanks or quarter rounds. Likewise, the use of prop marked public safety vehicles or public visibility of actors in public safety uniforms may require the presence or one or more uniformed law enforcement officers.
  • No film activity, which involves the use of explosives, pyrotechnics, fire, smoke making machines or other special effects of this kind, may be undertaken unless specifically permitted and is subject to approval by the appointed Fire Marshal.
  • Removal or alteration of vegetation (trees, flowers, grass, moss, etc.) in the public right of way or on publicly owned land is prohibited unless specifically approved by authorization. Consultation with the Augusta Tree Commission and Augusta Recreation Parks and Events departments may be required prior to filming.
  • Production companies may not block the entrance to any business without permission of the owner; use private property without permission of the owner; drive any type of vehicle into a park or square; disturb or climb on any gravestones, statues, fountains, or monuments; work in any roadway; park illegally; block sidewalks; place equipment on sidewalks; or park large production vehicles in front of a business without permission of the owner. All sidewalks must remain open and ADA compliant unless specifically noted in the authorization.
  • Lighting for filming, both during the day and at night, should be oriented away from neighboring residences wherever possible, and should not interfere with the safe movement of traffic.
  • Base Camps and equipment trucks moving into residential areas shall not do so before 6 a.m. or after 11 p.m. without prior approval from applicable neighborhood association. No activity that will cause excessive noise is permitted without prior approval. Production companies are responsible for vacating locations used with a minimum amount of noise and disruption at the end of each shooting day.
  • Production companies must allow for access of service vehicles, such as deliveries, mail, trash pickup, etc. or make alternative arrangements with the service provider and affected businesses or residents.
  • Production companies are responsible for returning any public rights of way or city/county property used for filming, base camp, or equipment purposes to their original condition in a timely manner, and for repairing any damage.
  • All animal waste must be neutralized and removed.
  • In the event of natural or civil disasters, Augusta, Georgia reserves the right to cancel all outstanding film authorizations on both public and private property within the affected area. Should evacuation of a street, neighborhood, or district be deemed necessary by fire, police, or other emergency authorities, all outstanding authorizations for that area are null and void. Authorizations will be re-granted as soon as possible after the State of Emergency proclamation has been lifted, following a safety evaluation conducted by the municipality, production company, and utility company representatives.

Film Augusta reserves the right to change, modify, update, or waive provisions of these guidelines where necessary for the public’s safety and convenience. Each authority reserves the right to cancel filming authorizations and/or take further restrictive actions where necessary to assure adherence to these guidelines.

Fees  
There are fees associated road closures and use of public facilities. All authorized services provided by each city department (such as sign removal) will be billed at an overtime rate and will be paid by the production company, unless otherwise stated. All fees are subject to change. If there are any questions regarding these guidelines, please contact Film Augusta at (706) 823-6613.