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Film Location: Buffalo Bayou Cistern, Houston, Texas

Written on August 24, 2017

Buffalo Bayou Cistern

The Cistern at Buffalo Bayou Park, in Houston, Texas is a former drinking water reservoir built for the city in 1926.

This vast subterranean concrete cistern is 87,500 square feet in size. It holds 15 million gallons of water when functioning at capacity. The cistern has 221– 25-foot tall, slender concrete columns that span the space. The roof is 8-inch thick concrete, and the concrete side walls are 8– 18-inch thick. The space has a 17-second echo.

Exclusive use of the cistern is possible for a variety of commercial film and photography projects.

The location has internal power sources available for lighting the space. Emergency exists can also be opened to allow in natural light.

Due to the delicate nature of the concrete walls and pillars, equipment and fixtures may not be fixed to existing structures.

Commercial Film & Photography Permits

Small footprint shoots of artistic merit or for tourism promotion purposes are typically permitted quickly, with minimal or no location fees charged.

Larger projects requiring exclusive use of the space, larger setups, and interaction with the location, will require review by committee including both approval of content and logistics. Fees will be determined on a case by case basis. The review process can take anywhere up to 4-6 months depending on the size and scope of the shoot, although this time frame can also be expedited.

On occasion, Buffalo Bayou Cistern will host temporary art installations, which may require additional permission should you wish to include them in your shoot.

Buffalo Bayou Cistern can only be accessed with a guide. Tours take place from 3:00 – 7:00 pm Thursdays and Fridays; and 11:00 am – 5:00 pm Saturdays and Sundays. Filming and photography outside of opening hours will require additional park staff to be hired. As such, Mondays and Tuesdays are the best times to film to avoid tours and extra costs.

Houston Film Crew & Production Support

If you are looking for a Houston based photographer, DoP, cameraman, videographer, or director, contact us for recommendations. We are also able to connect you with locally based production support including line producers and fixers in Houston.