City Film Permits at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > And Now, For Something Completely Different... > Taking Care of Business

Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 30th, 2008, 09:47 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 208
City Film Permits

What do you all know about getting filming permits for various cities? I know it's a broad question and every city is certainly different.

I've been trying to get someone from the various cities near where I live to get back to me on the rules/laws of the cities. But of course (as governments and municipalities usually are) NOT ONE single person has gotten back to me, either via email or phone. And yes, I'm contacting the filming permit department of the cities.

Background: I am starting to shoot man-on-the-street interviews and I want to make sure I'm not doing anything illegal.

The shoots involve my entire crew--one camera guy and myself TOTAL--doing street interviews in various public places.

This is more a very part-time hobby at this point and the question I'd like to have someone from the government answer is if I do in fact need a permit for something like this...

As much as I hate going to these type of city offices (DMV, building departments, etc.) I have a feeling I'm going to have to go and have a face-to-face talk with someone downtown and get it figured out, but I thought I'd ask around here and see if any of you have any experience with city filming permits.

Here's a couple links from the various cities I'm eying, but this is about as far as I've gotten.

http://phoenix.gov/FILMPHX/filmprmt.html

http://www.azcommerce.com/Film/

http://www.azcommerce.com/Film/Links...LM+OFFICES.htm

Questions:

1. Who needs permits? Tourist (unlikely), amateur interviewer, full-blown Hollywood production?

2. Would the insurance requirements (workman's comp & general liability) refer to ANYONE, even the occasional amateur interviewer (e.g. me) who has no insurance and company to insure?

I guess that's it for now. Thx.
Lloyd Claycomb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2008, 01:02 AM   #2
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 2,100
Lloyd,

What you're doing is no different than what the local news stations do every day. News or reportage does not need a permit.

Commercial productions often do, because they're often blocking public right-of-ways (sidewalks, driveways) with gear, people and vehicles.

You'd be smart to get the answer straight from the film liaison office, but usually the answer is crews of 1-3 people, not setting up standing gear, and doing reportage is not considered a permit issue.
__________________
My Work: nateweaver.net
Nate Weaver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2008, 01:09 AM   #3
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 2,100
Actually, I just found 2 separate things in the links you provided:

"Any filming on city of Phoenix property requires a film permit and coordination through the Film Office."

The other was the same statement in a PDF. Those were the only statements I found, and if it's true they don't require a permit outside of city property, it would not be unlike most medium sized metro areas in the U.S. Exceptions of course being L.A., N.Y.C. and a couple others I'm sure.

Sounds very much like you're set. That's probably why you're not getting responses...there's no issue.
__________________
My Work: nateweaver.net
Nate Weaver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2008, 10:03 AM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Weaver View Post
You'd be smart to get the answer straight from the film liaison office, but usually the answer is crews of 1-3 people, not setting up standing gear, and doing reportage is not considered a permit issue.
Thanks for that. What if, instead of a shoulder-mount camera, I mount it to a tripod? I assume that would be "standing gear," right? Would that change the situation then?

I will still go down and talk to them face-to-face, but what do you think?
Lloyd Claycomb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2008, 06:32 PM   #5
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 2,100
I think you're going to be safe. News guys use tripods too.
__________________
My Work: nateweaver.net
Nate Weaver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2008, 06:35 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 208
I'll be going to a couple cities to check this out face to face. I hope I get someone that actually knows something at the city and not the typical "body" that is there just to take money and process forms.

I'm going first of next week, so if anyone is interested, I'll post an update then.
Lloyd Claycomb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 2nd, 2008, 05:35 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: San Diego, California
Posts: 505
Lloyd,
I'll add my 0.02c worth. Based on what I've seen, many cities are tightening up on this, if only for the increased revenue. My experience is that they don't have a mechanism to treat pro/am crews that differently, if only because of liability issues for that city. Liability insurance, workman's comp may only be the tip of the iceberg; in San Diego (where I live) you're required to pay for a couple of policemen/policewomen, rental of a black and white, etc. for any public filming and I don't think this is unusual for a US city. You could try and guerrilla it, but if you have anything that looks like a crew (i.e. a cameraman and a sound person), you may find a cop asking for your permit.
Greg Quinn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 2nd, 2008, 10:05 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Quinn View Post
Lloyd,
I'll add my 0.02c worth. Based on what I've seen, many cities are tightening up on this, if only for the increased revenue. My experience is that they don't have a mechanism to treat pro/am crews that differently, if only because of liability issues for that city. Liability insurance, workman's comp may only be the tip of the iceberg; in San Diego (where I live) you're required to pay for a couple of policemen/policewomen, rental of a black and white, etc. for any public filming and I don't think this is unusual for a US city. You could try and guerrilla it, but if you have anything that looks like a crew (i.e. a cameraman and a sound person), you may find a cop asking for your permit.
Hi Greg,

Thanks for the info. If you don't mind, what kind of work are you doing (or have you done) that requires the permits and police?

What is your guys' experience with smaller suburb-type cities? Like Riverside vs. Los Angeles, or Littleton vs. Denver? Some of the smaller suburb "cities" I've contacted don't even know what I'm asking for, but some of these government offices are notorious for not knowing anything about anything, so I can't put a lot of credence into their "approvals."

Do you think filming in these types of smaller cities would send up the same red flags as would taping in downtown San Diego, LA, Phoenix, Denver, Chicago, etc?
Lloyd Claycomb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2008, 02:30 AM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Creswell Oregon
Posts: 380
The whole idea of film permits is a way to govern the use of public property for private endeavours- if you wanted to shut down a park for a private event you would likely need permits for that, or to close down city streets for a carnival you would need permits. The philosphy behind filming permits is basically the same, a large production crew on a dramitic film, with staged shots and so forth closes down an area of public property and thus you need special permission to do that.

However it sounds like thats not what your doing.... you shooting what in news is called an MOS (man on street). As long as your not blocking anybody from going anywhere, staying on public property where pedestrians are allowed, and aren't hanging out so long that you could be considered loitering your fine- unless your being really agressive with your interviews, then you might be menacing. Evan with a tripod you are fine. Now if you started setting up seperate lights on stands, maybe a dolly or crane, reflectors, bring in a generator truck.... then your probably going to need permission. News crews do the kind of shoot your talking about all the time though, and a tv news camera guy has no more and no less rights then the general public. If a TV news photog can stand somewhere, set up a tripod, and shoot something so can you.
__________________
My Website - www.nweventvideo.com
Adam Grunseth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2008, 08:57 PM   #10
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 34
Try contacting the Film Commission in that city. They are usually very helpful explaining the rules of the city.
Allen Green is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > And Now, For Something Completely Different... > Taking Care of Business

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:45 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network