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Old June 25th, 2008, 02:24 AM   #1
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Filming in London permit question.

I am part of a forum looking at the treatment of small size crews in London. ie crews numbering under 5.

I'm interested in the percentage of occasions when you shoot in London where you are
asked to present a filming permit by police or other officials.

Have you been told to stop shooting?

Is this treatment rare or common place?

Also how many producers avoid London altogether due to the percieved hassels of being stopped?



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Old June 25th, 2008, 02:56 AM   #2
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I recently tried to do some shooting for a footwear advert in London

We started off in the financial district around Waterloo station. Everywhere we went, the moment we got the camera out and started to do something, a security guard approached us and asked us to stop, and said that we were filming without permission and it was not allowed.

Plus there is the whole thorny issue of use of owned images, like company logos. If it became known that your footage had their logo in it, they could potentially sue for improper use of coporate image. Hence why some footage you see on TV, has certain t-shirt images, or posters greyed out.

It even occcured in my home town in Chelmsford. They were a lot more lenient, but after a while we were asked to move on.

London was more of a hassle than anything else, and we could have just as easily got the same level of footage at a less restrictive location. As the Director, I was not entirely sold on the idea of shooting in London for those reasons.
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Old June 25th, 2008, 03:37 AM   #3
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Hi Nial,

Sounds familiar.
Different security guards from numerous buildings?
Any interest from the police?



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Old June 25th, 2008, 03:41 AM   #4
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You can check here for further information.

http://www.filmlondon.org.uk/

Security guards have no powers to stop you filming in public spaces such as the street, but sometimes it's hard to define exactly where the public areas and privately owned land begin and end in central city areas. However, dealing with over enthusiastic security people can be a pain.
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Old June 25th, 2008, 08:42 AM   #5
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Old June 26th, 2008, 08:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Brennan View Post
Is this treatment rare or common place?
It's not just London. It's everywhere.

I recently filmed two bits of Maidenhead architecture for a corporate shoot: the client's offices and the client's billboard.

For the office shoot, I could have filmed from the pavement opposite, but if I moved back behind the pedestrian barrier and into the car park beyond, I'd get some nice 'dangleberries' - leafy boughs of a handy tree to fill in sky area. IMHO, a safer shot as I'd not be clogging up the pavement near a pedestrian crossing with a tripod. Whatever.

Right behind me was the clients' billboard, with a particular bit of 'added value' which was what they wanted to see. It was immediately in front of a British Rail station. Ideally, I'd like a tripod shot with a transition from BCU of detail to pull back to wide shot as a train arrives in background. That will require hanging around for at least 20 mins.

It's not going to happen.

I squeezed off the dangleberry shot, couldn't get a good angle of the billboard. Spent all of 4 minutes setting up, getting shots - would love to have got a timelapse of clouds in building's mirror windows with logo dominant in screen, but was not 'safe' (as in, not safe to hang around with a camera on a tripod) to do so.

So upped sticks, and started shooting wide-angle shots from company's 'turf'.

While doing so, a police officer turned up and wanted to know if I'd got permission - I flashed him my visitor's badge (logo on badge = logo on building). It was fine, but he let slip that he'd been tipped off by British Rail station CCTV camera operator that - get this - I wasn't on their (BR's) property, but I was on somebody else's.

British Rail's operative saw me filming my Client's building on somebody else's turf, and called the police.

Let's just let that thought hang there for a moment. I'll wait.

But then again, I've been moved on when filming on South Bank in London. A colleague was read the riot act because he was filming in the direction of the houses of parliament. We're talking Z1s and HVX200s, not big digibetas. Single operators, not film crews. We have 10 million insurance liability policies, we do risk assessments. We do this sort of thing for a living.

The trouble is that the wrong sort of people are attracted to security work these days. The poor wages and awful hours are offset against the ability to make other people's lives a misery and to act in a quasi-officious way hiding behind fake security laws. The police, when presented with paperwork, contacts or professional explanations are usually pretty cool about the whole thing. (but don't get me started about our current state of affairs about 'protests')

On the other hand, security 'officers' take things to the limit of threatening physical violence because they don't know the law but they do know what they like: Saying 'no, because I say so'.

I regularly film in London with my own kit and often alone or with an AP. But... I'm no longer doing 'spec' filming in London or doing vox pops without paperwork, and I won't start without permissions, risk assessment and minder. I hate that, it's an instand blood-boil subject, but right now that's how it has to be. Others can take the risk, but that's the honourable stage of learning. Right now I'm earning, can't afford the consequences.

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Old June 26th, 2008, 11:55 PM   #7
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Did some voxs for Discovery in Hammersmith at the weekend near the tube station - no problems. have previously done the same at the Millenium bridge and Trafalgar Square again with no problems. That said, it was a 2 person crew camera/Ap and sound... I guess it depends who you meet and how they feel on the day!
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Old June 27th, 2008, 04:08 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Graham Risdon View Post
Did some voxs for Discovery in Hammersmith at the weekend near the tube station - no problems. have previously done the same at the Millenium bridge and Trafalgar Square again with no problems. That said, it was a 2 person crew camera/Ap and sound... I guess it depends who you meet and how they feel on the day!
My experience with security people is that it often works if you approach them before you set up the camera to do any filming. Explain what you're doing in an extremely friendly manner and 90% of the time they're fine.

Even on planned OB events you can have problems. I was doing Steadicam at a cage type fight at the O2 Arena, I went out of my way to explain to the main security guy my requirements with the docking stand. We came to an arrangement, his boss said we couldn't do that - something we'd done at another venue. The security guy made a break in the crowd barrier at a safe spot close to where we were operating, so that we could walk into the stand. We were both happy.

Later I could see the reason for his boss's concern when a crazy audience member took a flying leap onto the security guys to fight them. So give and take quite often can work.
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Old June 27th, 2008, 11:46 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Matt Daviss View Post
....
The trouble is that the wrong sort of people are attracted to security work these days. The poor wages and awful hours are offset against the ability to make other people's lives a misery and to act in a quasi-officious way hiding behind fake security laws. The police, when presented with paperwork, contacts or professional explanations are usually pretty cool about the whole thing. (but don't get me started about our current state of affairs about 'protests')

On the other hand, security 'officers' take things to the limit of threatening physical violence because they don't know the law but they do know what they like: Saying 'no, because I say so'.

I...
Rent-a-cop has never been a big ticket career and as a mentor of mine once said, "minimum wage ain't gonna buy you someone with a hell of a lot of smarts."
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Old September 17th, 2008, 12:53 PM   #10
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This kind of stuff is the reason I often don't do shoots in London. A note you you Americans. Please visit somewhere other than London when you come to the UK! London is not representative of the UK as a whole in any way shape or form.

But back to the topic at hand. Calmness and decisive speaking goes a long way. Allow them to say their piece, then counter with the facts. With security guards, ie people who are not police, it can be a PITA to try and get them to understand something as simple as the law.

It pays to know your rights inside out. Thankfully 99% of the time I have never had any problems apart from in the Great Toilet of London.
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Old October 9th, 2008, 06:07 AM   #11
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London is not representative of the UK as a whole in any way shape or form.
That's as good a reason to visit London as any I've heard ;-).
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