Newsroom - Filming Guidelines

Shooting on Location

Looking for a spectacular setting for your next production?

Look no further than Georgia Aquarium for your commercial filming and photography needs. We provide a wide range of backdrops at one convenient location.

We offer interactive animal opportunities with the more than 450 species of animals in our collection, including whale sharks, beluga whales, sea otters, manta rays, dolphins and much more. In addition, our location features behind-the-scenes pump and filtration areas, a café setting, 200+ person movie theater, small classrooms and more.

We have experience working with productions of all sizes, including feature film, television commercials, fashion photo shoots, corporate advertisements, documentaries and more. Georgia Aquarium also employs experts in a multitude of professions to help with your production from script research with biologists to technical scouts with our lighting/facilities team.

Georgia Aquarium Commercial Filming Guidelines

OUR VISION: To be the world’s most magical aquarium providing an entertaining, engaging and educational experience inspiring stewardship in conservation, research and the appreciation for the animal world.

The following are guidelines to commercial crews who wish to use Georgia Aquarium as a venue or use of animals and staff to film all or part of feature films, documentaries, television advertisements, television series, music videos, photo shoots, print advertisements, etc.

1. Permission. Georgia Aquarium’s vision extends to all members of the media. Requests to film and photograph at Georgia Aquarium will be evaluated on an individual basis. We will try to accommodate requests that are made, but given the nature of operating the world’s most magical aquarium, some requests may be denied.  The Aquarium’s participation is dependent upon a number of factors including the focus of filming or event, prior filming commitments and staffing availability.

Georgia Aquarium reserves the sole right to grant or refuse access to any media organization based on the advice or request of staff members and to determine under what terms shooting may take place. Georgia Aquarium may at any time, in its sole discretion and without liability, revoke its permission.

2. Request and Authorization. If an organization wishes to photograph or film at Georgia Aquarium for any use other than private, prior authorization from Georgia Aquarium public relations staff is required. Formal requests to photograph or film should be submitted in writing at least 30 days in advance. Last minute requests will be evaluated on an individual basis. No organization will be allowed to photograph or film the day of the request (no walk-ups).

Requests for filming must include the following information:

  • Type of production (feature film, television commercial, etc.), and synopsis of storyline.
  • Name of production company (references may be required if production company is unknown to the public relations team at the Aquarium)
  • How many hours or days the production will take?
  • How many members of the production crew there will be?
  • Number of vehicles needed for production?
  • Requested exhibits or areas for filming/photographing and a description of set-up.
  • Type of animals requested to be used.
  • Specific requested use of animals.

The public relations staff will contact all desiring parties after the request has been submitted to discuss the nature of the shoot and what accommodations will be necessary.

A walk-through with the location manager, director, producer and other pertinent personnel must be made at least one week in advance, prior to shooting. At this time, size of crew, shooting locations, building access, and parking needs must be addressed and agreed upon.
Any behind-the-scenes shooting must be agreed upon one week prior to shoot date.

3. Location Fees. Location fees are determined by several factors, such as the intent of the project, its potential impact on the Aquarium, the potential promotional value to the Aquarium, the amount of support required by the Aquarium and the extent to which rights to the final product are shared with the Aquarium.

The basic fee schedule is as follows:
$10,000 per twelve (12) hour day
$3,000 for the first two (2) hours (two hours minimum)
$750 an hour for each additional hour needed

Additional Aquarium staff or trade personnel may require additional hourly fees based on the nature of the project.

This fee schedule is a benchmark against which all projects will be evaluated. Depending on the details of the project and potential impact to the Aquarium, the site fees may be quoted higher or lower than the standard schedule. Any changes will be discussed and agreed upon before any agreement is signed.

4. Content and Script Approval. Content must be consistent with, and not in conflict with, the mission and operations of Georgia Aquarium. The Aquarium’s marketing and communications staff will review all requests and determine if the nature of the film conflicts or hinders the mission of the Aquarium. Content of shoot may not conflict with any sponsors of Georgia Aquarium as well.

Content must not in any way portray marine animals in a manner that can be perceived as negative, nor should content portray that any animals were harmed in any way. Content shall not contain any of the following: unwarranted, misleading or doubtful claims or assertions; material that violates or infringes upon the personal, proprietary, or other right of any person or entity; any disparaging material regarding Georgia Aquarium, its services, products or its competitors; any defamatory scandalous, obscene, profane, indecent, vulgar, repulsive, or other material that is inconsistent with the family image or high quality associated with Georgia Aquarium;  any mention by name of any generally advertised or promoted products or services, including any inserts or promotional references to such products or services in a motion picture or audiovisual work, unless consented to in writing by Georgia Aquarium; any material promoting or presenting a lottery, drawing, contest, game of chance or gambling arrangement; or any material stating or implying that Georgia Aquarium endorses final package, any third party, or any product or service, without Georgia Aquarium’s approval.

Final scripts must be submitted to the Aquarium’s marketing and communications department at least two weeks in advance of the shoot. The Aquarium reserves the right to approve or deny use of the Aquarium’s name or image in any context, and to review any scenes involving the Aquarium or its animals.

5. Access. Commercial filming must not inhibit or impede with the visitor experience. Most filming will have to take place during non-public hours. Filming may not commence during scheduled night events. Filming which is extended through to public hours will be subject to additional charges.

Behind-the-scenes access is subject to approval by facilities’ personnel, zoological personnel, veterinary staff, public relations staff and/or management and may be denied at any time.

Georgia Aquarium’s responsibility is first to our living collection and then to our guests. If at any time any Georgia Aquarium staff member believes the actions of the production company, or the actions of any individuals associated with the production company, threaten the well-being of any of the Aquarium’s animals, patrons or exhibits, the production company will be ordered to alter or discontinue production until the threat is alleviated.

Georgia Aquarium reserves the right to stop or cancel production at any time due to the health of an animal, which may or may not be related to the production.

Any media or production personnel who interfere with any guests’ experience will be asked to leave, along with the rest of the organization. Re-admittance to the Aquarium will be at the discretion of Georgia Aquarium staff.

6. Crew Approval. Crew size and equipment size must be negotiated and approved before the day of the shoot. Crews have until twenty-four (24) hours before their scheduled shoot to make changes to said agreement. Any deviations upon arrival of the crew will be allowed or denied at the discretion of Georgia Aquarium staff. Each member of the crew will be held to the terms of this agreement upon its signing by a representative of the production company.

7. Lighting and Equipment. Due to the nature of Aquarium exhibits, auxiliary lighting, including flash photography bulbs and strobes, may not be allowed in designated areas of the Aquarium. Certain species of fish, birds and aquatic mammals are sensitive to their environment, including light and temperature. If any member of Georgia Aquarium staff believes that the addition of auxiliary lights may in any way harm the collection at the Aquarium, or the exhibit they inhabit, said lighting will not be allowed, no exceptions.

Large filming equipment, such as cranes or dollies, must be approved by facilities’ staff before they will be allowed in the Aquarium. Any equipment that may interfere with Georgia Aquarium operations, restrict public access or potentially present a hazard to the general public will not be allowed in Georgia Aquarium.

8. Filming in Exhibits. Some animals at Georgia Aquarium are delicate, as are the life support systems that maintain their environments. Requests to film inside any of Georgia Aquarium’s exhibits will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Please know that anyone requesting permission to dive must be SCUBA certified and medically capable of such activity.

Certification is a preliminary requirement and does not guarantee dive access. Final approval will be at the discretion of zoological and dive operations staff. Based on the complexity of the shoot, a check out swim or dive might be required.

9. Damages. The production company will be held responsible for any damages to Aquarium facilities caused by any member of the shoot/film crew or induced by the actions of the shoot/film crew as a whole. If necessary, Georgia Aquarium will repair or replace damaged areas, or contract for the repair or replacement of damaged areas or items, and bill the production company for the expense. The production company will have up to twenty-four (24) hours to reach a payment agreement with Georgia Aquarium before legal action may be taken.

10. Insurance. Any organization wishing to film or photograph on Georgia Aquarium property must first secure a valid certificate of general liability insurance for no less than one million dollars ($1,000,000) listing Georgia Aquarium as an additional insured for the date and location of the shoot. Any agreement between a media organization and Georgia Aquarium shall be dependent on securing the certificate of insurance.

11. Parking. On-site parking at Georgia Aquarium is contracted to Lanier Parking Systems. Automobiles may park in the Aquarium’s parking structure and pay the $10 a day fee. Truck and trailer parking is available in the GWCC marshalling yard for $25 per vehicle.

12. Catering. Georgia Aquarium provides on-site catering courtesy of Wolfgang Puck Catering/Restaurant Associates. Any catering, food or beverage needs must be negotiated with and serviced by Wolfgang Puck Catering/Restaurant Associates.

13. Exhibits and Set Construction. Aquarium exhibits may not be altered or moved in any way. Limited set construction may be permitted during non-operating hours. Any sets brought into the Aquarium must be approved at least one week in advance. Nothing may be permanently attached to walls or other structures. No tape may be applied to walls or exhibits. Any materials brought into the building must be removed by members of the crew.

14. Storage. All space on Aquarium property has a designated purpose and is at a premium. We regret that no storage of any kind can be provided on site prior to or between filming sessions, with one exception: by prior agreement, some lighting set-ups behind the scenes that may be required on multiple days may remain in place during the duration of filming.

15. Ownership. Photographs and footage taken at Georgia Aquarium shall remain the property of the production company. The production company shall provide two (2) copies of the final product to the Aquarium for archival purposes at no cost to Georgia Aquarium.

16. Credit. The production company shall acknowledge Georgia Aquarium in its production for any photographs or film shot at the Aquarium.

17. Trademarks. Use of Georgia Aquarium trademarks including but not limited to images, logos, slogans, titles and names must be done so with the express written consent of Georgia Aquarium.

Georgia Aquarium copyrightable materials associated with or used and published by GAI, or its affiliates or licensees, shall not be used or depicted on any packaging without the approval of the Public Relations department.

The terms of this agreement must be agreed upon by Georgia Aquarium and the production company before shooting may commence. The product of any shooting done at Georgia Aquarium outside the terms of this agreement shall be forfeited to Georgia Aquarium without compensation. Violation of one or more of the terms of this agreement by either Georgia Aquarium or the production company may result in the termination of this agreement without compensation to the party at fault.

18. Smoking. Georgia Aquarium is a smoke-free environment. Smoking is prohibited anywhere on Aquarium property.

19. Noise. All maintenance, major construction, repair and custodial work occurs at times when the Aquarium is closed. If sound is being recorded, we will make every effort to minimize noise from sources such as floor polishers, metal carts, vacuums and other machinery, but please be aware we cannot guarantee a quiet environment. Maintenance crews must have enough time to complete all work before the Aquarium opens to the public in the morning.

For the safety of our animal collection, the Aquarium has a strict decibel sound limit of 85.  This sound limit will be strictly enforced.  Exceeding the decibel limit in our facility may result in the termination of the group that is producing the sound.

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