On-location production in and around Los Angeles County increased 4.7 percent last year compared to 2011, according to a report released Tuesday by Film L.A.
Although the year finished in positive territory, the nonprofit group -- which administers film permits for on-location shoots -- reported that overall production figures are still below levels seen prior to 2009.
Last year also saw a drop in local production of television dramas, with a 20 percent decrease from the previous year. Production of television reality programs dropped by 11.8 percent, dragging overall television production down 3.4 percent for the year, according to Film L.A.
The group noted that fourth-quarter TV totals were up 11.9 percent, thanks to an increase in on-location TV sitcom production.
"We know that part of the decline in our TV drama figures stems from producers' desire to cut costs by filming more on studio back-lots and sound stages," Film L.A. President Paul Audley said. "Unfortunately, last year we also saw a record number of new TV drama series shot out of state, resulting in negative economic consequences."
The California Film and Television Tax Credit, available since 2009, is open to television producers who meet the state's strict qualification criteria. Last year, a number of Los Angeles-based television projects took advantage of the credit, among them Body of Proof, Bunheads, Five More, Franklin and Bash, Justified, Major Crimes, Pretty Little Liars, Rizzoli and Isles, Shadow on the Mesa, Switched at Birth, Teen Wolf and Thanksgiving House.
Meanwhile, production in the commercials category increased 14.1 percent for the year.
Over the last four years, record-breaking growth in the commercials category can be partly attributed to an increase in the number of locally produced web commercial projects, Audley said.
The production of web-based commercials resulted in 7.9 percent of the category total, up from 1.7 percent when Film L.A. first began tracking them in 2008.
On-location movie production increased 3.7 percent in 2012, the category's best showing since 2008, the year before feature production declined precipitously and state lawmakers enacted the tax credit program.
The tax credit brought new projects to the region, Audley said, with feature projects generating almost 6 percent of the annual production total.