One of my favourite films is the epic all-American cheese-fest Armageddon. Bruce Willis (with hair) and Ben Affleck save the world from a total wipeout collision with a meteorite, with help from Billy Bob Thornton and a few laughs courtesy of Steve Buscemi.

The film features the total destruction of New York; the Chrysler building slams to the ground, the Empire State suffers a similar fate. Grand Central Station is reduced to rubble.

New York was the setting for the pioneering 1920’s movie The Jazz Singer, and it continues to feature heavily in cinema and documentaries, sit-coms and dramas. The reason? It’s willingness to embrace the disruption of filming

Last October, the Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, revealed the entertainment industry contributes a massive $8.7 billion to the local economy, an increase of 21% in over the last five years.

New York makes it easy to film in the city. Whether you are making a 100 million dollar blockbuster or a small corporate video, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment has one simple to use website which helps find locations, work out the tax implications, hire a PA and – most importantly – give permission to film.

London is different. Each part of London is split into a Borough, and each Borough process its own film permits. There is a central website, but each permission will cost around £100 a time for one small crew with one camera and tripod. The fee increases depending on crew and how many days.

And you have to be organized. The Boroughs want at least two weeks for permissions to be granted, although it can be quicker.

It’s not just as simple as finding which Borough your dream location is in. If you want the CEO in your corporate video to walk along Westminster Bridge, well, that’s a Red Route, and you need permission from Transport for London. There’s no fee, but you need the relevant paperwork.

London also has beautiful green spaces – and some of them are Royal Parks. Then you have to apply not to the local Borough, but to the Parks Office. And that includes filming outside Buckingham Palace. More money must change hands here.

You can film a corporate video on the street in London without a fee – but it must be without a tripod, and you still need written permission from the Borough you are in.

Some areas of London, such as Canary Wharf, are private estates. So instead of applying to the Borough film office, you need a license direct from them. These are more expensive, and often subject to strict conditions, such as not filming a specific building.

It would be tempting to ignore all this red tape. But if you don’t have the necessary permissions, you can be asked to move on and you may not get permission next time. It’s all part of pre-production, and for a video production company like Tallboy, all part of the service.

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