Speaking of L.A, i shot a short D.V movie at the L.A Union Station some few months ago (the same place, or around the same place, as the final scenes in Michael Mann’s Collateral). My friend and i took two D.V cameras there on an early saturday morning (there’s fewer ppl there saturday mornings) and jumped on a bunch of random trains at the metro station. We went all over downtown just shooting on and off the train, going upstairs, downstairs, all this without a permit. We had help, though. On the train, we got away with shooting as much as we wanted, but when we got off, we had to keep an eye out for the security guards. So we had three other ppl come with us and we had walkie-talkies in case one of them saw guards coming our way, they’d alert us. Had my friend and I shot our movie short with actual film cameras, we’d probably would have tried to get permits. So i say if you want to film at a place that’s likely to have security guards, take friends with you that can spread out and alert you if any guards are headed your way.
I would however like to know more about film permits, like if they cost you anything, if so, how much? where do you get them, are they limited to what and how much you can film, and so on.