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Old November 18th, 2013, 01:21 PM   #1
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Video Camera in NYC

Hey all,
I might be going to New York City for the first time next month, and I need a bit of advice. This will be a mission trip with my church and I will likely be taking my Panasonic AG-AC130 to document our mission work. Most of the mission work will be at one church and in the surrounding streets. I have been told by friends who have been to NYC that I should be safe carrying a camera like that as long as it's on me at all times and I don't ever set it down anywhere. Is that reasonably true? I'll have it on the neck strap all the time I'm using it, and when not in use it will be locked up in the church. I'll also be with a group of 34 other people most of the time.

Also, we will be doing some sight-seeing in the evenings. Obviously, video cameras aren't allowed in theaters, stadiums, and similar places, so if we go there the camera will stay at the church. But we may be going to Rockefeller Center and some other places where I would love to get some footage. The website for the observation deck at Rockefeller Center says that no "professional video cameras" are allowed. The Empire State Building says this also. What constitutes a "professional" camera? Some photography sites I've looked at suggest that they just don't allow commercial photography/videography, and that's their way of saying so, and that as long as the camera is handheld and not a huge shoulder-mount model with tons of equipment, it's probably okay. Could I take a medium-sized camera like the AC130 in? Unfortunately, I don't have a smaller camera I can take or I would do so.

And what about restaurants? We'll undoubtedly be eating somewhere while we are out and about, and I'll have nowhere to stash the camera. We'd eat at cheaper places...nowhere fancy. Would restaurants frown on bringing a camera like that in or are they used to tourists coming in with all types of cameras?

Any other tips for shooting video around NYC?
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Old November 23rd, 2013, 04:04 PM   #2
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Re: Video Camera in NYC

Hello Doug, my experience living and shooting here for a number of years have been fine. Of course I am always watching my equipment when out on the street, but that it true weather its NYC or Hong Kong. As for restaurants, I also have walked in with a large pelican case and tripod bags, I sat down, accomodate my gear out of everyone's way and if needed be, communicate it to restaurant staff. All within reason, NY is no diffrent than anywhere. One thing I can think of is some regulations regarding shooting with a tripod on the streets, you may get asked to bag it. Be safe and mindfull of your gear and weather it inconveninces other people. Finally, as far as transport, either subway or Taxi, I do not have any problems, except for paked subways and staircases.
Enjoy your trip.
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Old November 27th, 2013, 10:04 AM   #3
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Re: Video Camera in NYC

Hi Doug,

Your question was discussed here:

NYC tips for a southerner?

As for admittance into venues with a "pro looking camera" I can say it does not matter where you are, the answer is a total crap shoot! You will be facing gatekeepers that don't know anything about cameras. It is often there discretion. I know of a baseball stadium that denies any camera with a lens over 4 inches long. How dumb is that?

Have fun in NYC, it is not much different than any other big city.

Travel Safe.

Steve
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Old December 7th, 2013, 01:11 PM   #4
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Re: Video Camera in NYC

Thanks for the info and link to the other thread. I won't be using a tripod at any time. I'm not even taking it with me. Looking at other message boards and reading up on camera restrictions in NY, the one thing everyone says is "don't use a tripod." I'm glad I wasn't planning to.

I'm still a bit paranoid about carrying a big camera around, though. Not so much worried about being mugged or anything, I'm just thinking about what it will be like walking down the street carrying a somewhat large camera everywhere. Would I be better off to carry it in a camera bag, or just the camera itself on a neck strap? The AC130 is not a huge camera, but...well, it's pretty big. The only bag I have to carry it in is a quite large Kata bag that would undoubtedly get in someone's way at some point in time. I'm perfectly comfortable carrying just the camera, but then I won't have anywhere to stow it away if I need to. I may be overthinking this big time, but I don't want to get there and run into problems because I didn't think about things enough.

By the way, I e-mailed the Rockefeller Center just to check on what they call a "professional camera" and I was told that an AC130 would be fine to take on their observation deck, as long as I was using it for "personal use."
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Old December 7th, 2013, 03:01 PM   #5
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Re: Video Camera in NYC

Carry the camera around in your hand and relax. NYC is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world. You will be surprised by how many "good" cameras you see. You will not be the only one.

If your really worried about it getting grabbed (it won't) put a carabiner on the neck strap. Then any time you feel like it you put the carabiner on you belt so the camera is attached to you. That works if your willing to fight for it when someone grabs it ;)

Steve
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Old December 13th, 2013, 05:53 PM   #6
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Re: Video Camera in NYC

The other thing , which may seem obvious , is to take out insurance on your equipment .

There are lots of specialist insurance policies for photographic equipment which can provide cover against theft or accidental damage - you may just have to be able to show that you took reasonable care if anything unfortunate happened - as always check what is and is not covered before deciding .

You may also be able to get insurance to cover the cost of hiring replacement equipment if yours breaks down on a shoot far from home .
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Old January 3rd, 2014, 07:25 PM   #7
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Re: Video Camera in NYC

Got back from NYC last Monday night. I took the camera almost everywhere we went and got lots of great video. It was never a problem anywhere, including in restaurants and the subway. Though I did get a couple of strange looks from people on the subway. Then again, people on the subway were giving the entire group I was with strange looks. They could clearly detect we were from out of town.

Thanks to everyone for the advice. It was very helpful in making me feel more comfortable taking the camera out and about.
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