How Production Security Saves Time and Money for the Chicago Film Industry in 2022

Film production security not only protects the cast, crew members, and equipment, it also prevents disruptions on the set that waste valuable time and increase expenses. 

Film sets are extremely busy environments since production personnel are working against tight deadlines and limited budgets. Filmmakers face multiple unique security challenges: it’s important to not only maintain a safe and secure environment for cast, crew members and expensive equipment, but also to prevent disturbances that waste valuable time and expenses during a shoot.

Like any business, time is money for television and film crews. As any experienced filmmaker understands, it’s crucial to keep expenses within budget, stay on schedule, and keep production moving. For some high-budget productions, every minute of production costs thousands of dollars. Regardless of a production’s budget, every disruption to a production shoot wastes time and directly impacts production costs.

On any film set, there are several potential security concerns that can jeopardize the integrity of the shoot and result in wasted time and unexpected costs.

Crowd Control Issues

Chicago is now considered one of the most highly regarded production centers in the country. More than 1,100 feature films and television productions have been shot in Chicago since 1980, contributing $2 billion in local revenue. The city attracts hundreds of photo shoots and commercials every year that are produced for both national and international audiences.

But filming on location poses unique problems for Chicago filmmakers, who must contend with crowds of curious on-lookers and overzealous fans. Film crews have time-sensitive jobs: the cast and crew must be able to work undisturbed – both on studio grounds and on location – without disruptions. Film studios and film sets across Chicago are constantly teeming with spectators and bystanders that frequently cause disruptions during a shoot and prevent the cast and crew members from performing without interference.

Property and Equipment Theft

From cameras, special effects equipment, props and more, filming locations contain lots of sensitive and expensive production equipment which is often an investment of millions. Unfortunately, thieves are well aware of the value of this equipment; criminal activity is rampant with methods that are becoming increasingly sophisticated. According to ESTA’s Production Equipment Rental Group (PERG), nearly $9 million worth of professional motion picture camera equipment was reported stolen in 2016 alone.

But equipment theft extends far beyond the loss of the equipment itself. Theft also disrupts production schedules and affects rental and insurance rates, causing a direct impact on production costs as well as potential downtime.

Production equipment theft is just as much a problem for crew members whose own kit of accessories or personal tools are equally at risk. Production decisions such as leaving expensive equipment in unattended vehicles are major contributors to the problem. Burglary and gear stolen from production or personal vehicles account for roughly 56% of equipment theft during a production shoot.

Any missing equipment that is needed during production can severely delay a production’s tight schedule and cost thousands of dollars to replace. 

Safety Threats to Cast and Crew

Shooting on location in Chicago generates lots of spectators, all of whom can be problematic when it comes to ensuring the safety of equipment, cast, and crew. 

But the cast and crew are not the only people who need safeguarding. Film and television production sets, whether at the studio or on location, can be dangerous places for those not familiar with them. Cables strewn across the ground, hot and heavy light lights, and high voltage wiring can all cause injuries to those unfamiliar with sets. Film production-related injuries will not only stall the progress of production, they can also result in costly lawsuits and additional expenses.

Wrapping Up

Keeping a film or television production safe doesn’t start in pre-production or end in post-production: it’s a continuous responsible that must be regularly challenged, reconsidered, and evaluated. Security solutions must be able to adapt to changes in season, location, objective, and circumstances.

Led by industry veteran and Chicago Police Department Lieutenant John L. Folino, Jr., the Blue Star Security team has provided on-set security services for numerous high-profile television and film productions. Considered “Hollywood’s right-hand cop”, John has over a decade of experience as a television and film consultant.

Our customized production security services are designed to provide secure environments both on set and on location, protect expensive production equipment from theft, ensure the safety of all cast and crew members, and allow productions to proceed smoothly and without incident. Our team of off-duty and retired law enforcement agents can identify and mitigate any and all risk of theft, disturbances, and criminal activity.

Blue Star Security is Chicago’s go-to security agency for film producers. Our production security team has secured the sets of dozens of high-profile Chicago-based television and film productions, including Power Book IV: Force, Shameless, Batwoman, The Chi, Ordinary Joe, Empire, Death Wish, American Crime Story, The Big Leap, and many others.

Contact our production security team to discuss a customized security plan for your film production set and crew: call us at 708-669-7470 or contact us online at

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