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Old February 22nd, 2008, 05:02 PM   #1
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"Man on Street" interviews and release forms

What kinds of releases do you guys use when conducting "Man on the Street" style interviews? I need to do some of these and wonder whther I need to use something as restrictive as a Borat-style release. Do any of you ever pay (i.e. small amounts $10-$100) to induce participation?
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 07:01 PM   #2
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What kinds of releases do you guys use when conducting "Man on the Street" style interviews? I need to do some of these and wonder whther I need to use something as restrictive as a Borat-style release. Do any of you ever pay (i.e. small amounts $10-$100) to induce participation?
Thanks
Greg
I've done lots of these with about a 2 paragraph release and space for multiple sigs underneath. If you aren't misrepresenting yourself (ala Borat), there should be no problem with a simple release.

I've never paid anyone for a street interview. It gets expensive fast if you do a lot of numbers.
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Old February 24th, 2008, 02:01 PM   #3
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Would it be sufficient to ask the person being interviewed, while the camera is running, if they consent to being in the video? I've done that in the past - people usually want to know what it's all about anyway, so I tell them and ask them if they are OK with it. I feel that this is both easier for me and less intimidating for the people being interviewed ("... I'm not signing my life away with this, am I?")

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Old February 25th, 2008, 03:34 PM   #4
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I've gotten consent on videotape, instead of in writing, in these circumstances in the past. I know a lot of professional news camera operators who do this, too. If you're doing a documentary or news footage (something with intrinsic educational or "public" value), and you're interviewing someone on a public street, this should usually be fine. Consent is consent. Many would argue that if you're on a public street, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy, anyway.

There are people on this board who will tell you to get everything in writing, but sometimes it just isn't practical. However, I would think it would be awfully hard for someone shown recorded on-camera answering "Yes" to the question "Do you give us consent to use this footage as we see fit in a documentary?" to claim that they did not give permission. I would agree that you should never pay for an interview.

If you were on private property, or shooting a commercial, or if you think you're likely to be sued, then I'd probably get it in writing, just to be safe.
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Old February 25th, 2008, 05:57 PM   #5
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I like to get it in writing, because "can I used this for my project" doesn't mean "can I use this in my project and sell it and make money off it and your testimony in any format... etc."

With ENG it probably isn't as important, but if someone gets pissed off, a signiature on a document that CYA completely is a very good thing. And it isn't that difficult to carry around a clip board with you.

It's also much easier to get their consent after you shoot their clip as well. So go for the interview, then ask them to sign. That way, they know they haven't given anything critical away. Just ask "can you sign here so we can use your piece?"
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 01:06 PM   #6
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'Streeters'

I have been shooting 'streeters' since the 70's and have done hundreds over the years for CBC-TV in Canada.

I have never asked permission, however going up with the camera rolling and saying 'I'm with CBC and we're asking people about the legalisation of marijuana, do you think it should be legalised?'
If they walk and say no comment...fine, we move on.
If they answer and say 'Yea, I think it should be legalised and soon!' Then they have talked, knowing who it is for, and what it is about.

The CBC lawyers are paid a lot of money and they say that this is fine. CBC have never been sued for this.

If you misrepresent yourself in ANY way you could be liable for court action.

I always use the question in the first streeter on air so the viewer knows what these people are answering to.

Sometimes I use an abusive answer for fun if it is relevant to the story and sometimes it is. Again NEVER been sued ever.

This is standard network practise. Written releases are impractical and essentially useless.
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Old March 2nd, 2008, 01:25 PM   #7
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You might find some of the information here useful (Channel Four UK's web site)
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 06:45 PM   #8
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as long as you are on public property, and have verbal consent, thats that. getting it on camera is a plus, but there really isnt a need for paperwork. as stated above, there is no real sense of privacy when you are walking down the sidewalk, thats why its called "public".
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Old March 4th, 2008, 02:24 PM   #9
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as long as you are on public property, and have verbal consent, thats that. getting it on camera is a plus, but there really isnt a need for paperwork. as stated above, there is no real sense of privacy when you are walking down the sidewalk, thats why its called "public".
That's true for recording them on public property. But not true for using this recording in a product that you create for anything beyong sharing with friends and family. You'd have to blur out faces to make people unrecognizable if you don't have their consent - unless it's news coverage or treated special for other reasons.

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Old March 5th, 2008, 11:24 PM   #10
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That's true for recording them on public property. But not true for using this recording in a product that you create for anything beyong sharing with friends and family. You'd have to blur out faces to make people unrecognizable if you don't have their consent - unless it's news coverage or treated special for other reasons.

- Martin

I understand that if you are shooting a big budget movie, releases are good, and even documentaries...I only shoot news, so my knowledge is based in that relm, but I have been on big budget sets where there are "real" people in the background, that end up in the movie, and no one had releases, I have also seen documentaries where there are people in them that did not sign them either.

it all comes down to how much of a risk do you want to take on public property, are these people going to care, is the piece focused on THEM, or are they just "extras". and the big question, are these people even going to SEE it. if you like to follow the rules, great, draft up a release, if you arent too worried about it, get consent on camera. as far as the background goes, like I said, I only shoot news, so I dont bother with consent, but if you feel you need to get every single person who entered the frame, good luck chasin them down :)
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Old April 4th, 2008, 10:29 AM   #11
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Regarding (not) paying interviewees

It is unethical to pay an interviewee because it can bias the interviewee. That is, the interviewee would tend to say what you want to hear, since you are paying them.

That is why, in the interviewing industry, it is always unethical to pay anyone you interview.

Meanwhile, it is ok to allow the interviewee to promote themselves, or promote their product (their film, their book, or whatnot). Their self promotion is the only "pay" which the interviewee gets out of the interview.

If the interviewee does not have any product to promote, or if it is not pertinent to the interview, then the only pay the interviewee receives is fame and fun.
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