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Old March 2nd, 2009, 05:23 PM   #1
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Photpgraphs in Documentary?

I recently filmed an interview for a documentary that I'm Making. The person is in their home and in the background you can see Crystal clear photographs of friends and family members on the wall. I have a signed release for the person that I was interviewing, but sould I have any concerns about the photos that appear in the bacground? I should also note that there were phots of both adults and children. Any thoughts?
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 05:32 AM   #2
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If they can't be identified from the picture, you're good in any case - might be a good use of Magic Bullet's "Edge Softness" tool.

Blur 'em, and you should be fine.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 06:41 AM   #3
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Yeah, I agree, just blur the photos slightly so you cant see the people clearly but not too much so its noticable.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 01:53 PM   #4
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Heres the problem, there are several pans and zooms during the course of the shot. I dont have much editing experience but I thought that blurring was difficult if not impossible when movement of the camera is involved. Is this the case? Also, is there any software that would allow me to totally remove the pictures from the background.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 09:34 AM   #5
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the US is such a litigious society that people are skittish about things that are likely benign. I would check with a lawyer first to see if such a thing is really necessary. It may very well be, but where potential legal issues are concerned it is prudent to consult a professional.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 11:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Lewis View Post
Heres the problem, there are several pans and zooms during the course of the shot. I dont have much editing experience but I thought that blurring was difficult if not impossible when movement of the camera is involved. Is this the case? Also, is there any software that would allow me to totally remove the pictures from the background.
What editing software are you using? Because I know in Sony Vegas all you would need to do is mask the photos and add the blur on a second track. It would take a while to do especialy if theres lots of pans and zooms but it is possible.

Do you know if the people in the photos are related in anyway to the interviewe because if so it might be easier to just try and get permission.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 03:44 PM   #7
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is there any software that would allow me to totally remove the pictures from the background.
That would require some compositing work in something like Shake, or perhaps Motion or After Effects.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 05:43 PM   #8
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Depends on what software you have available. Some, like Boris - have a 'witness protection' filter coupled with motion tracking that would work just fine. It would follow the 'face' as you moved the camera.

Seriously, is the documentary somewhat controversial? Are the people in the photos likely to feel embarrased or outraged by being included in the shot? If not, then I think your exposure is pretty low. If people are looking at photos on the wall behind your subject while they are talking - it's not a very compelling interview.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 05:53 PM   #9
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I don't know if it is even an issue or not. I would be surprised if it was. I mean, it's a photo in the background in someone else's private residence... but then, I am not an entertainment lawyer, which is who you need to consult.

People seem to be able to sue over the pettiest thing in the US. Canada is very different. Heck, here in Montreal the sidewalks rarely get shoveled during the winter. If you slip and fall, tough sh*t... it's winter -- snow and ice happens, as does gravity from time to time (that's a Quebec thing, different in the rest of Canada). ;-)
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Old March 26th, 2009, 09:04 AM   #10
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no releases needed

I respectfully disagree with the other replies. If you have a release from the subject, you do not need to blur photos in the background. I produce high end PBS films and releases are a major issue. I've never been asked by any legal department about background releases.

However, what is coming up more and more are commercial identifications. If someone is wearing a Dr. Pepper tee shirt, legal is more frequently saying we can't include it in the shot unless it is released. This includes people on the street.

Last year I was hired to shoot an interview and a poster was on the wall. Legal said, NO!
Personally, I don't agree, think it's getting a bit paranoid, but that's what's happening in my world.

Good luck,
Roger
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Old March 30th, 2009, 06:20 AM   #11
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No release needed

From my perspective you are ok from a fair use perspective. Pls read more here:

Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use -- Publications -- Center for Social Media at American University
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Old March 30th, 2009, 08:48 AM   #12
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Andreas: Be VERY careful with application of the position from that organization. There is no weight of law behind them. They are strictly putting forward a position paper on what they BELIVE SHOULD be best practices. Following their recommendations will certainly cause legal troubles if one is ever challenged in court. This is the FUNDAMENTAL problem with getting one's legal "advice" from the Internet.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 09:00 AM   #13
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The statement for best practices is an interesting paper. I think it makes some excellent points. I have one problem with it. They are urging other people to put their money where the paper's mouth is.

I think the paper and the center would have a lot more credibility, if they offered to defend anyone who followed their outline for 'best practices'. In other words "You follow what we believe is the best legal course of action as we have outlined it... and we will happily pay your legal bills." Without THAT position, they are merely advocating for others to be the 'point man' for positions they would like to see tested in court.

Feel free to do the heavy lifting.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 09:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Barber View Post
where potential legal issues are concerned it is prudent to consult a professional.
I'm going to quote myself again because it bares repeating, and to paraphrase Hamlet (saw Branaugh's adaption on the weekend, so it's in my head): get thee to a lawyer.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 04:49 PM   #15
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Ok, hers another one, Just shot another interview and the person was waering a President Obama tee shirt with Obams picture on the front. Common sense tells me this should not be an issue but i'm not sure if it is. GOing forared I am going to suggest o people that they not wear clothing with logos and such. Am I over reacting?
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