Production Security: Enhancing Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness for the Chicago Film Industry

Production Security

The implementation of film production security serves a dual purpose of safeguarding the cast, crew, and equipment while also averting any interruptions on set that can potentially waste precious time and incur additional expenses.

Chicago has become a hub for the film and television industry, with over 1,100 productions shot in the city since 1980. While this has brought significant economic benefits to the city, it has also created unique security challenges for filmmakers.

In the bustling atmosphere of film sets, time is a valuable resource and budgets are often constrained. Filmmakers are confronted with various security concerns that necessitate the maintenance of a safe and secure environment for the cast, crew, and expensive equipment. Additionally, it is imperative to avoid any disruptions that can impede the progress of a shoot and result in unnecessary costs.

In the television and film industry, time is a valuable commodity and production crews are acutely aware of its monetary value. Staying within budget, adhering to the schedule, and maintaining momentum in production are all vital aspects that seasoned filmmakers prioritize. Even for large-budget productions, every minute spent on set can cost thousands of dollars. Therefore, any disruption during a production shoot can have a direct impact on production costs, regardless of the project’s budget.

Numerous security concerns exist on film sets that can compromise the integrity of a shoot, leading to a loss of time and unforeseen expenses. This is where security services come in. A professional security team can provide a safe and secure environment for cast, crew members, and equipment. They can also prevent disturbances that waste valuable time and increase expenses during a shoot.

The following article outlines some of the common security concerns faced by Chicago filmmakers.

Crowd Control Issues

Chicago has become one of the most prominent production hubs in the United States, with over 1,100 feature films and television productions filmed in the city since 1980, generating an impressive $2 billion in local revenue. The city attracts a considerable number of national and international photo shoots and commercials annually.
However, filming on location in Chicago presents particular challenges for filmmakers who must contend with large crowds of curious onlookers and ardent fans. Time is of the essence for film crews, and it is critical for the cast and crew to work undisturbed, both on studio grounds and on location. However, film sets and studios throughout Chicago are often swarmed with spectators and bystanders who frequently cause disruptions during shoots, interfering with the cast and crew’s ability to perform seamlessly.

Property and Equipment Theft

Filming locations house a plethora of valuable and sensitive production equipment, including cameras, special effects gear, and props, which can amount to millions of dollars in investments. Unfortunately, thieves are well aware of the worth of this equipment, and their criminal activities are becoming increasingly sophisticated. According to the Production Equipment Rental Group (PERG) of ESTA, nearly $9 million worth of professional motion picture camera equipment was reported stolen in 2016 alone.

However, equipment theft has more significant repercussions than just the loss of equipment. It disrupts production schedules, affects rental and insurance rates, and has a direct impact on production costs and potential downtime. Production equipment theft also poses a significant risk to crew members whose own accessories and personal tools are equally vulnerable. Production decisions such as leaving valuable equipment in unguarded vehicles contribute significantly to the issue. Burglary and theft of equipment from production or personal vehicles constitute approximately 56% of equipment theft during a production shoot. Missing equipment required for production can cause significant delays to the tight production schedule, leading to a considerable cost to replace the stolen items.

Personal Safety Concerns

When filming on location in Chicago, a large number of spectators often gather, posing potential problems for ensuring the safety of equipment, cast, and crew.
However, it’s not only the cast and crew who require protection. Film and television production sets, whether on location or at the studio, can be hazardous places for those not acquainted with them. Cables lying on the ground, hot and heavy lights, and high voltage wiring can all lead to injuries for those unfamiliar with the sets. Production-related injuries can halt progress and result in costly lawsuits and additional expenses.

Maintaining safety on a film or television production isn’t limited to pre-production or post-production stages; it’s an ongoing responsibility that needs constant evaluation and reevaluation. Security solutions should be flexible enough to adjust to seasonal changes, location alterations, objectives, and other circumstances.
Retired Chicago Police Department Lieutenant John L. Folino, Jr., an industry veteran, leads the Blue Star Security team that has provided on-set security services for numerous high-profile television and film productions. John is known as “Hollywood’s right-hand cop,” with over a decade of experience as a consultant for the television and film industry.

At Blue Star Security, we provide personalized production security services that aim to create safe environments on set and location, safeguard expensive production equipment against theft, guarantee the well-being of all cast and crew members, and maintain smooth production progress without any incidents. Our team of retired and off-duty law enforcement agents can identify and manage all potential risks of criminal activity, disturbances, and theft.

For Chicago-based film producers, Blue Star Security is the top choice for security services. Our production security team has successfully secured the sets of many high-profile Chicago-based television and film productions, such as Power Book IV: Force, Shameless, Batwoman, The Exorcist, The Chi, Ordinary Joe, Empire, Death Wish, American Crime Story, The Big Leap, and more. Our clients have included many prolific entertainment producers, including Showtime, 20th Century Fox and Paramount, Lionsgate and Disney.

We offer the most comprehensive range of production security services available for film and television production sets, including (but not limited to):

  • Perimeter Security
  • Stage/On-Location Training
  • Executive Protection
  • VIP Escorts
  • Foot/Vehicle Patrols
  • Surveillance
  • Identity Management
  • Inventory Tracking
  • Investigations
  • Alarm Response
  • Crowd Control
  • Site Safety
  • Privacy Control
  • Parking Enforcement


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

To learn more about our production security services, visit