getting video footage from the highway? 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 August 9th, 2012, 04:33 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 293
getting video footage from the highway?

Does anyone know if you could get a ticket for pulling over on the highway to get video footage or to take photos? Or have you done this with no issues?
Dave Morgan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 9th, 2012, 04:44 PM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,609
Re: getting video footage from the highway?

Depends on where you live. For instance, here where I live there is no law that I am aware of that prevents one from pulling over and shooting footage. However one must use common sense. Do it by O'Hare and there might be a problem. Do it during our seemingly never ending rush hour and since all the traffic going in both directions will slow down to gawk, it might be a problem. Gotta use some common sense.
In Indiana, on many of the highways it is not legal to pull off the road unless there is an emergency (unless they've changed the laws) so that is definately a problem.
I've done it on a highway here in the Chicagoland area but it was a Sunday morning, outside of the greater metro Chicago area, captured the supersized limo going by with everyone hanging out of the windows (don't ask) and was off and gone within about 3 minutes flat so while it wasn't a problem, I have to say I don't think I'd want to do it again.
__________________
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
Don
Don Bloom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 11th, 2012, 02:55 PM   #3
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Willmar, MN
Posts: 1,400
Re: getting video footage from the highway?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Morgan View Post
Does anyone know if you could get a ticket for pulling over on the highway to get video footage or to take photos? Or have you done this with no issues?
Yes, you can get a ticket for pulling over on a limited-access highway for a non-emergency reason.

If you're asking if it's legal to shoot video on a public roadway, in general, it's always legal to shoot from publicly accessible places. However, law enforcement personnel are not always up-to-date on the intricacies of law and may adopt a "shut-down-first-and-ask-questions-later" attitude.

I have done this several times with no issues.
Chris Davis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 11th, 2012, 08:56 PM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Sydney.
Posts: 2,569
Re: getting video footage from the highway?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Morgan View Post
Does anyone know if you could get a ticket for pulling over on the highway to get video footage or to take photos? Or have you done this with no issues?
Phone your local traffic police and ask, include the location, times and what you intend to shoot?
To cover themselves, they'll probably say no, so make other arrangements to get the shots you want,
then you could use a tripod.

Cheers.
__________________
30+ years with our own audio and visual production company and studios.
Allan Black is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 11th, 2012, 09:18 PM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Efland NC, USA
Posts: 2,315
Re: getting video footage from the highway?

We were shooting some scenes along a rural highway in North Carolina and had a local trooper stop to check on us. He was totally cool about it and even parked his car with his rear flashers on to keep people from zooming past so close. This wasn't a limited access highway but a rural highway.

Obviously that isn't a guarantee of success but on the day we were shooting along a roadway it worked out well.
__________________
http://www.LandYachtMedia.com
Chris Medico is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 12th, 2012, 09:32 AM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,742
Re: getting video footage from the highway?

Most limited-access highways I've been on were clearly signed "Emergency Stopping Only." Shooting a video or making a photograph would hardly be considered an emergency.
__________________
Good news, Cousins! This week's chocolate ration is 15 grams!
Steve House is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 13th, 2012, 10:08 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: The Colony TX
Posts: 327
Re: getting video footage from the highway?

You could always let the air out of your spare tire, take the hubcap off one of your tires, and have a jack under the car, and have an assistant standing by, ready to look like they've just finished changing the tire.

"Really, officer? No, just had a flat, and while Mack here was changing the tire -- see, it's flat -- I suddenly felt the urge to shoot some video."

Nah. Too complex. Why not take the simpler approach. Either park on some side road and WALK to the side of the highway, set up your tripod, and get some footage (how can you be stopped on the side of the road if you don't have your car there?). Or have an assistant drop you off on the roadside, then drive off, you get your shot(s), then call your assistant (cell phones are wonderful), have your gear packed and collapsed, and jump back in the car when the coast is clear.

I've done stock footage shots at night of cars on the highway just by parking in a nearby lot, taking the camera in one hand and tripod over the shoulder, and walking to where I wanted to set up. Oddly enough, I tried to be OBVIOUS about it -- yellow reflective safety vest like the highway crews wear, small LED light clipped to the bill of my cap, and so on. The authorities might wonder what you're doing, but if you're so bloody VISIBLE and not trying to hide, they usually pass you off as some harmless crank.

Martin
__________________
Canon XF300, Canon 5DMkII, Canon XL2, Rolls MX422 mixer, Zoom H4N, AT899 lavs, AT2020's, Azden SGM 1X shotgun, Manfrotto 501 head on 351 tripod
Martin Catt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 13th, 2012, 10:30 PM   #8
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta/USA
Posts: 2,507
Re: getting video footage from the highway?

Unless the terrorism paranoia is over (I don't think it is), you might have to answer some uncomfortable questions. I did this about 6-7 years ago and sure enough a kid with flashing lights showed up... I got to enjoy all of the 98 degrees we had that day while kiddo checked me out from his air conditioned patrol car, then wagged his finger mumbling something about national security, and advised me to find better subjects next time.
__________________
Ervin Farkas, CDVS
Certified Legal Videographer
Ervin Farkas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 14th, 2012, 07:40 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: The Colony TX
Posts: 327
Re: getting video footage from the highway?

A simple solution is to just look like you belong there. You don't have to lie. Put on a yellow safety reflective vest like roadside workers normally wear, maybe a yellow plastic hard hat, some work boots, and you look like either a construction worker, researcher, or county agent. As I said earlier, be OBVIOUS and you'll blend right in.

Side note, somewhat related: in college, my dorm mates and I discovered that when wearing a white lab coat, wearing a yellow construction hard hat, and carrying a clipboard and an old Civil Defense geiger counter, you could pretty much go anywhere on campus unchallenged and unquestioned.

Martin
__________________
Canon XF300, Canon 5DMkII, Canon XL2, Rolls MX422 mixer, Zoom H4N, AT899 lavs, AT2020's, Azden SGM 1X shotgun, Manfrotto 501 head on 351 tripod
Martin Catt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 14th, 2012, 11:09 PM   #10
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Novato, CA
Posts: 1,772
Re: getting video footage from the highway?

As an engineer who works on transportation projects, mostly highway/roadway related projects, I have to say that the tone and outright disregard for safety and logic is shocking. There is a reason that most states do not allow the general public to get out and do whatever they want on a highway. It not only puts the person who is out on the road in danger, but it also puts other motorists in danger. I always say, if you want to kill yourself, go ahead, but don't be stupid and put someone else in danger while you do it. Sorry if that sounds harsh but to be honest, anyone who would think that it is ok to take a camera and pay limited attention to cars going by at high speed, is asking to cause an accident. I have to go out on highways and freeways as part of my job, we always wear high visibility gear and notify the highway patrol as well as the department of transportation before going out there, and we are permitted to be out walking along the shoulder of the road. In many situations technically you would be trespassing on limited access state property. In certain situations we also have highway patrol escort if conditions warrant it. This is all done for our safety as well as the public's.

So now that I got that off my chest. Here's how I'd advise someone wanting to shoot on a highway. As previously stated, if you can do it from a side road or overpass, do that. If you must be on the highway, check with your state's department of transportation. You will have to get a permit and they will instruct you on how to stay safe. There may or may not be a charge for the permit. It all depends on the state's policies. Here in California, Caltrans (the California Department of Transportation) does not charge for film permits. Heck, they'll even allow you to close the freeway without charging you. You might be doing it at 1 a.m but the permit won't cost you. There may also be a charge by your highway patrol if you're required to have a police escort. Your department of transportation may also be able to suggest alternatives.

As to the question if you could get a ticket, the answer is it depends. There are different classifications of roadways. Limited access or controlled access roads will most likely get you a ticket if you're caught. There are a lot of roads on the state highway system that would be ok to shoot on. There are a lot of "highways" that look like regular roads with sidewalks, bike lanes, etc. It's just that they are under the jurisdiction of the state instead of the city or county. Those would be the easiest and safest to shoot on. However, you will still need permission to shoot there which means a permit. You may get caught or not if you don't get a permit but if you do get questioned by a police officer they could confiscate your equipment. That's happened to a few people out here. The ticket isn't the big thing, it's that fact that you loose your equipment and then have to pay an additional fee to get it out of storage. Sounds like a racket but it's to discourage people from shooting without a permit. It really is a safety issue.

You'd be surprised how easy most states make it to do it the right way. It just takes a little asking and calling around. It may cost you a small amount but it will be money well spent. No matter what you decide please do yourself and others a favor. Make sure you do not go out there by yourself. Have another person with you to help spot oncoming traffic. Stay out of the roadway unless you have safety gear and proper advanced warning signs to alert traffic that you will be in the roadway. No shot is worth your life. I've seen too many times the results of inattentive pedestrians on the highways. No matter who you are, you vs. a 3000 lb car, you are the looser.

As I said, sorry for the downer and harsh words but hopefully that will get people's attention to think about the fact that by doing something like "pretending to look like you should be out there" could cost not only your life but the life of an innocent driver who might panic when they see you at the last minute.

Stay safe.
__________________
Garrett Low
www.GLowMediaProductions.com

Last edited by Garrett Low; August 15th, 2012 at 10:56 AM.
Garrett Low is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 18th, 2012, 12:49 AM   #11
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,076
Re: getting video footage from the highway?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
... and was off and gone within about 3 minutes flat...
I have done it many times, and for me (as with many things I shoot) the key is know what you want, get in, get it, and get out.

As mentioned (with great artistic flair) there is some danger involved, so keep your head about you. In order of preference, I would go with (a) park on a side street, hike to highway, (b) find a turnabout or wide shoulder (think callbox) and pull off there, 20-50 ft from the highway (c) pull off anywhere one might pull when they have a flat tire (i.e. shoulder), 2-3 feet from 75MPH traffic.

Again, find the shot, shoot it, and move on. Don't try and get all Ansel Adams on the Interstate.
Mike Watson 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 08:06 PM.


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