L.A. Location Filming Rises 4.7% in First Quarter

But feature production drops 5.3%, and TV production declines 3.7%.

Location filming in and around Los Angeles rose 4.7% in the first quarter of the year -- but it was not film or TV that accounted for the improvement but miscellaneous projects such as music videos, industrial videos and student films.

As reported by FilmL.A. -- the not-for-profit organization that issues on-location shooting permits in the city of Los Angeles, unincorporated parts of L.A. County and other jurisdictions -- there were 11,604 production days in the quarter, compared to 11,087 during the same period in 2010. It was the fifth consecutive quarter to log production gains.

Still, the news was not all good in the major categories. "The latest data suggest a softness in the industry but not a full loss of momentum," FilmL.A. chair Ed Duffy said. "Pilot production is up, and we have a couple of big features in production, so we're optimistic about a better set of numbers come July."

Feature production actually declined 5.3% during the quarter, even though there were 10 projects filming on location that were taking advantage of the California Film & Television Tax Credit.

In the television category, production dropped 3.7% for the quarter, led by losses in TV reality (down 6.4%) and TV drama (down 2.6%). TV sitcoms, reflecting a number of single-camera shows in production, saw a 77.3% increase but still accounted for only 360 shooting days, and the production of TV pilots grew by 4.7%. Eight TV projects claimed the California tax credits.

Meanwhile, commercials increased by 2.4% during the quarter, although FilmL.A. noted that that category appears to be winding down from an 18-month surge that delivered a record year-over-year increase last year.

With film and TV production lagging, smaller productions took up the slack as music and industrial videos as well as student films and other miscellaneous projects grew by 21.5%, posting 3,940 production days versus 3,243 in the same quarter of 2010, and contributing to the bulk of the quarter's total growth.