The EDF Energy London Eye filming/photography guidelines
The EDF Energy London Eye is the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel. It is a feat in modern design and engineering, both beautiful to look at and look from. It provides Londoners and visitors alike the best introduction to the city of London and its many celebrated landmarks. The London Eye is 135 meters (443 ft) high and weighs 2,100 tonnes. There are 32 fully enclosed, motorised glass capsules and one rotation lasts 30 minutes. The wheel moves at 0.26 metres per second. The minimum load for each capsule is three people and the maximum is 25, meaning the London Eye can take up to 800 people at any one time. The London Eye opened in March 2000 and welcomes between 3.5 and 4 million guests each year. It is open to the public every day apart from Christmas Day and for one week in the month of January when we carry out annual maintenance. As a high profile visitor attraction and an icon for modern Britain, the London Eye receives a lot of media interest. Since opening, the press team has worked with literally thousands of film crews and photographers on projects ranging from fashion shoots and news items to TV ads and international feature films. Before permission for filming can be granted, there are various considerations, which need to be taken into account. These can largely be broken down into:
- General association, including brand and business objectives
- Operational, technical and health and safety issues
Please take a moment to read through these guidelines, which should provide you with a useful insight into how we assess filming and photography requests at the London Eye and how we fit them into our operation.
Before the technical logistics of a shoot can be discussed, the proposal must be approved by The London Eye Company (LEC). Filming and photography permissions are dealt with by the press office on 0870 220 2777 (calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras), or alternatively please fill in the online form.
Our high profile status means that we are fortunate enough to receive a lot of exposure so we are very selective about which projects we work on. We do not need PR for PR’s sake: the project has to compliment our business and marketing objectives as well as our sophisticated and unique brand and image.
By supporting a project, the London Eye will be seen to be endorsing that project and the messages that it communicates. We are therefore unable to support filming requests that do not support our brand or re-enforce and support our key messages.
As a result, the London Eye Company is happy to support projects which:
- promote the wheel, London/Britain and tourism
- promote architecture, design and engineering
- are educational
However, we are unable to support projects which:
- are overtly political or controversial: it is not our place to make social or political comment
- relate to security or terrorism
- denigrate people/other attractions/structures etc
- are of an overtly adult nature: we are a family attraction and any filming should be more or less suitable for most audiences.
- constitute advertising on the structure of the wheel: it is a condition of our planning permission that we do not use the London Eye for advertising. Any branding that is approved cannot be attached to the actual structure.
In general we look at endorsement on an individual basis, as decisions will vary according to the size and scale of events and the brand in question.
The press office is always happy to discuss these points but, ultimately, the decision regarding what is and what is not suitable is entirely at the discretion of the LEC.
Crews will be expected to sign the London Eye’s standard location agreement prior to using the location.
Operational/technical/health and safety issues
Once the LEC has given permission for filming, there are a number of technical issues to consider.
The London Eye is by no means your average location. First and foremost, it is a visitor attraction and our guests and our guest experience must always be our priority. During operational hours, there can be up to 800 members of the public on the wheel at any one time and any filming that takes place along side this cannot hold up or impact upon the smooth running of our operation. We are therefore unable to stop the wheel other than to allow for the boarding and disembarkation of guests who are infirm or who use a wheelchair. Therefore, crews need to ensure that all equipment/crew can work around the operational limitations of the wheel.
If crews cannot film within these perimeters we try, where appropriate/possible, to facilitate them outside of our standard operating hours i.e. overnight. However, night filming is the exception to the rule as, every night after we close, our technicians carry out planned preventative maintenance and our cleaners prepare the ride for the next day. Therefore, after hours filming will only take place where we view the promotional value to the London Eye to be considerable. Also, crews planning overnight filming should be aware that there is a non-negotiable deadline by which they must finish filming, de-rig and vacate the wheel so that the London Eye can be open to the public on time. We are also subject to a loud noise curfew between the hours of 6.00pm – 8.00am and crews need to be mindful of this.
Safety and security is our number one priority and we reserve the right to carry out random searches of all personnel or equipment at any time. All non London Eye staff and their bags are searched before going on to the wheel. Therefore to minimise disruption, we always recommend that personnel and equipment be kept to a minimum.
Large and involved filming requests may be asked to provide full method statements and risk assessments in consultation with our health and safety advisors. These must be directly relevant to the London Eye, not just to filming in general.
Crews should note that there is no power source to any of the capsules; however in some cases it can be arranged.
In general, crews are not permitted to:
- go in capsules with paying guests as this may interfere with our guests’ experience. Nor do we allow our guests to be filmed while queuing. Therefore, we ask crews to bring their own staff if they need to have people in the background of shots, etc
- go onto the boarding platform unless they are accompanied by a member of London Eye staff. This rule will also apply for each and every time anyone requires any further access to the wheel
- leave any equipment unattended on site
- film inside County Hall or any other cash handling area
- film our security operation: this includes all the visible aspects like our security officers, positioning of CCTV cameras and security searches
- use radios/frequencies 2.4 Ghz and 5.4 Ghz when filming or photographing at the London Eye as these will interfere with the London Eye’s communication systems.
The London Eye will refuse entry or remove from its premises anybody who behaves in a manner, which is likely to affect the safety of other people or who uses threatening or abusive behaviour. The LEC will always reasonably endeavours to ensure that the London Eye and its premises are open for use at the agreed times. However, the LEC reserves the right, at its absolute discretion, whether for safety or technical reasons or for any other unforeseen circumstances, to close the London Eye or any part of its premises, with or without prior notice. In the event of such a closure, we will agree to re-schedule any agreed activity at a mutually convenient time between both parties.
Contact the team
Please complete the online application form or fax it to the PR Department on 0870 990 8882 (calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras).