Even with a fully fledged film crew with top of the range film equipment, New York City can be relative cheap to film at. The bottom line is that NYC is a very film-friendly city. It is such a boost to the economy that the Mayor’s Office has a special division that does nothing but attract film companies to shoot there by making it as easy as possible. If you’re not using more than a tripod and otherwise hand-held equipment, you can film wherever you want in NYC as long as you let people through when they want to go through. If however, you wish to use a full film crew with extensive equipment, there are permits and fees associated but you’ll be surprised at how cheap it actually is. There are endless possibilities for filmmakers to find both unique and iconic cheap film locations in NYC.
City buildings managed by The Department of Citywide Administrative Services can be used for filming. The DCAS’s offices and court buildings are very popular filming locations in New York City and DCAS-managed buildings are a resource for all types of productions including major feature films and television series to commercials, music videos and documentaries. Permits and application fees are handled through The Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting and the fee to acquire permits for these government run locations is $3,200. Locations include Brooklyn Borough Hall, Harlem Courthouse, Louis J. Lefkowitz Building, Mario Merola Building and The Sun Building. If you are wanting to film in an outside location, The Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting issues permits to productions filming on location in the City of New York and provides free police assistance, free parking privileges and access to most exterior locations free of charge. The permit fee is currently $300 which is amazingly cheap.
Here are some of the cheap film locations in NYC covered by this permit:
- Union Square: This is a pivotal point for public transportation, restaurants and shopping. Union Square is a gateway to downtown NYC and the rest of city, as commuters can access a number of train services. The area boasts a magnificent public park which is very suitable for filming and is also an access point to a number of neighboring areas that are fantastic for filming including the Flatiron District, Greenwich Village and Chelsea.
- Times Square: One of the most iconic locations in New York City. As primarily a tourist attraction and commercial district, Times Square offers numerous opportunities for filmmakers aiming to capture the bright lights and business of New York City.
- Chinatown: China town is home to the largest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere. It is a unique location for both tourists and filmmakers who can explore the regions countless grocers, restaurants and street vendors.
- Meatpacking District: The Meatpacking District made its name over the late 19th century as a number of slaughterhouses and packing plants were built. The area is now filled with high end boutiques and nightclubs, and with its industrial chic buildings and nightlife, the Meatpacking District is an excellent location to capture unique images of New York life during the day and night.
- Central Park: There are no extra fees to film or photograph in but a donation to the Central Park Conservancy is greatly appreciated. These funds help to maintain Central Park so it can be enjoyed by all.