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Old October 13th, 2003, 11:23 PM   #1
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Video in National Parks & Federal lands

Is anyone familiar with H.R. 154 passed in 2000 concerning fees and permits for any commercial filming on federal lands. Have you had to pay fees. How does a no-budget one man band ever get a break. Is there a loop-hole if you're videoing and not actually filming. There is one for still photography if a person isn't using models or props. Please reply with any info anyone has on this.
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Old October 14th, 2003, 06:54 AM   #2
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The fees are enforced inconsistently. I've done work in Smoky Mountain NP and Rangers didn't really care or ask about permits. Of course, with something like 20 million visitors annually it would be almost impossible to enforce. The western NP's are a different matter. I've been questioned about my activities in Yellowstone and friends have reported similar inquires in other western parks.

I think you'll find the need for permits and the enforcement are directly related to the more commercial the project is in appearance. If you doing single camera, documentary type work, I wouldn't worry a great deal. If the production involves multiple cameras, larger crews and cast, permits will be necessary.

If it's a non-commercial project you may be in the clear. Inquire with the NP you intend to film in and see what their requirements are. You may get lucky.
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Old October 14th, 2003, 07:42 AM   #3
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Rob,

You can download the application for a photo shoot/film production here (this is the long form). And here is the short form. These are for specific parks, but it'll give you an idea of what most parks will require.

According to Yosemite NP, here's what they require:
Quote:
A permit is required when the filming, videotaping, sound recording or still photography involve the use of talent, professional crews, set dressings, or props; when they involve product or service advertisement; or when the activity could result in damage to park resources or disruption of visitor use. A permit is also required if the photographer wants to film in areas not open to the public, or before or after normal visitation hours. If you are uncertain whether your project requires a permit or not, contact the park for additional information. If you already know that your project does not require a permit, you can call the office to check the schedule and avoid conflicts with other activities. Generally, permits are not issued for filming on weekends or holidays.
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Old October 14th, 2003, 08:09 AM   #4
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I've been emailed several replies to this topic. One was a reference to Public Law 106-206. This can be downloaded in pdf form here. But to para phase what I'm being told, the permits and fees depend on the number of days of filming, the size of the crew, and the amount and type of equipment present. So, large cast and crews with professional equipment in the parks for days or weeks will require a permit. A single user with a prosumer camera and small crew or cast and a few days of filming will pay minimal fees. Still photographers have specific exclusions as provided by the law.
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Old October 15th, 2003, 09:09 PM   #5
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I recently shot footage (video) at the Wright Brothers' National Memorial Park (NPS) and had to fill out the paperwork for that. However, since I'm donating some footage to the National Park Archives, they waived the fee (which would have been $100).

However, the Park Service originally wanted $1,000,000 in liability insurance, naming the Department of Interior as beneficiaries (according to the form), but it was generously reduced to $500,000. I haven't priced it yet and have to go back to shoot at the Park two more times (I need the Certificate of Insurance before I can shoot again).
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Old November 1st, 2003, 11:30 AM   #6
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Does anybody know if permits are required if you're filming on property that is leased land within a national park? I'm hesitant to call and bring attention to the project as I'm on such a tight budget, and the camp I will be filming at has said, "You don't need to call them. We lease it, so all you need is our permission." But if there were to be a catastrophy (however unlikely... but hey, I'm in CA and we've been in flames) I'm thinking I'd be in big trouble if I hadn't coughed up for permits/insurance first. Also (thinking as I type this), if I haven't secured permits, doesn't that invalidate any production insurance I might have purchased? Hmmm...
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