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Old September 24th, 2005, 02:45 AM   #1
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Filming Public Places Question

I have been considering filming (using my little mini dv cam) in some public places such as subway stations and parks. Mostly establishing shots, no close ups or anything. My question is, how do people in public places such as that respond to you filming them? Do they get mad? Do they not seem to care?
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Old September 24th, 2005, 08:20 AM   #2
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Steven,

Mostly it simply depends on what camera you use. If you use a small handheld camera like most people use, no one will pay attention to you. You will look like just another tourist.

If you walk in with a XL1s like mine the reaction is totally different. Everyone will notice you and watch what you are doing!

Only other precaution is that you may look like a terrorist looking for targets but you should be able to correct that.

Mike
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Old September 24th, 2005, 02:27 PM   #3
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Im a teenager so everyone assumes Im a terrorist already. Will the fact that Im using a tripod change anything?
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Old September 24th, 2005, 02:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Jonze
Im a teenager so everyone assumes Im a terrorist already. Will the fact that Im using a tripod change anything?
Don't know if should be giving terrorists any info(HaHa), but yes, I would assume that the tripod would make a big difference. Be sure to leave the machine guns at home though!

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Old September 24th, 2005, 04:17 PM   #5
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Steven,

I shot a short film this year in the main branch of the Phoenix Public Library here in Phoenix, Arizona. The library is five stories high and bigger than a football field (go Eskimos?) on each floor. There were thousands of people in and out, and we shot for nearly four hours, all over the library.

We were really there for the cool architecture, and were shooting around people, so as not to reveal the setting. In general, I think people are interested in what is going on, and they would voluntarily stop, so as not to get in the shots.

I'd actually say the more professional your setup looks, the more regular people will be cooperative, and the more any security guards or public officials will hit you up for permits and such.

BTW, if you want to check out the short film: http://www.matterofchance.com/media/AGTC.wmv

Josh
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Old September 25th, 2005, 05:56 PM   #6
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I've also heard that if you're intending to distribute your project commericially, you'll need to get permits and pay fees.
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Old September 25th, 2005, 11:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch
Steven,

Mostly it simply depends on what camera you use. If you use a small handheld camera like most people use, no one will pay attention to you. You will look like just another tourist.

If you walk in with a XL1s like mine the reaction is totally different. Everyone will notice you and watch what you are doing!

Only other precaution is that you may look like a terrorist looking for targets but you should be able to correct that.

Mike
Totally agree with you Mike.

And Steven, with a small camera as Mike suggested you will probably be fine in a park. However some people might still object as they could be meeting their mistress or dealing in some nefarious business. They can't know whether you're shooting wide shots or close-ups of them... But no matter what camera you're using you will most probably get the attention and some grief from the subway security personnel. As has already been mentioned, you could be scoping the tunnels out for a future terrorist attack. I would suggest you call their P.R. dept. before hand, let them know when you will be shooting, check in with security when you arrive and provide necessary permits if necessary.

Sincerely,

Steph
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Old September 26th, 2005, 05:03 AM   #8
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When I was a senior in high school (in 1974) I was helping some other students with a film project. They needed shots of aircraft landing and taking off so I called the airport, identified myself, and the airport manager took us out to get the shots we needed.

It was a busy international airport, not some small airstrip, and we got right out on the field between the parallel runways to get great shots of DC-10's and other heavy jets landing. Was great.

It's one of the few things that teenagers were allowed access to simply because they're young and enthusiastic. If I asked the same today, I'd have to get a ton of paperwork done just to be considered access by those in charge.

The lesson I learned that it's often worthwhile asking the right people for permission.
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Old September 26th, 2005, 05:55 AM   #9
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Hi Steven,

I see you're in Canada, a British Commonwealth country as I'm in. If the same attitudes exist in Canada as in NZ I wouldn't be worried much. Especially using a mini dv camera. As previously mentioned most would think you are a tourist. Even with the camera on a tripod you would probably look more like a keen amateur.

I've shot footage in public places with both a mimi camera and a xl1s on a tripod several times and nobody cared. We even shot a music video with three xl1 cams on tripods and a director hooked up to a monitor in a park and on a busy street outside a shopping mall. We had friendly waves from people and toots from cars. Everybody seemed to rather enjoy watching us.

If any one approaches you and seems a bit agro. Just apologise and make a retreat. Don't get into an argument with them. It's not worth it.

Good luck and let us now how you get on.
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Old September 26th, 2005, 12:30 PM   #10
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Security concerns - how do you handle this?

About a month ago I put my hands on a friend's XL1 and proudly set out to film around Atlanta. Most people were happy to see a big gun on a tripod and smiled/waved, the security guard at the Underground politely asked me not to use the tripod, another guard sent me away from a mall's entrance saying it's private property.

The big shock came when filming my close neighborhood, along interstate I85. Some "concerned citizen" dialed 911 and sure enough, a cop showed up soon. It was the rudest police officer I have ever seen, but that's another story - I am still thinking about filing a report with his boss. He kept me on the side of the road for almost an hour, got on his radio and cell phone and tried to figure out wether to shoot me or just take me in... He asked me a thousand times WHY am I doing this and could not comprehend that "just for fun" is a good enough reason. Hobby??? What the heck is that???

I hope you guys don't have this kind of "pleasures" outside the US... I know, I know, security is a concern, but let's be reasonable!

Is there a way of dealing with this? I mean can I get a permit or something? How are you fellows here in the States film anything of national importance?
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Old September 26th, 2005, 06:12 PM   #11
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Sorry to hear of your experience Ervin. I can't really see why people are so jumpy about cameras. Gosh they're every flamin' where. Security cameras on street corners, in shops, service stations, just about everywhere. Speed cams on the roads, neighbourhoodwatch cams, tourists with mini cams, digital and film cams. Cams in cell phones. Why don't people ignore them and just get on with life.
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Old September 26th, 2005, 11:10 PM   #12
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Hey all in the U.K.

I found a web-site devoted to photographers rights in the United Kingdom.

Didn't really peruse it, but I hope it may clarify some previously discussed issues, or seemingly non-issues....

Looking for a similar U.S. site next.

Steph
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Old September 26th, 2005, 11:31 PM   #13
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Sorry,

Minor detail regarding the actual web-site address.....

http://www.sirimo.co.uk/ukpr.php/200...s_rights_guide
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Old September 27th, 2005, 12:12 AM   #14
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Hey all again,

Here's the site regarding photographer's rights in the U.S.

http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm

Steph
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Old September 27th, 2005, 03:08 AM   #15
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In my experiences, if you look like you know what you're doing, people won't bother you. While doing freelance shoots, I've had people duck down to get under the frame of my shot as to not disrupt anything when they walk by.

I could be wrong but I believe that in Canada, if someone says they don't want to be taped, you can still use the footage - you just have to blur out the person's face. You're always allowed to shoot on public property, but if people complain, just try to co-operate with them (especially business owners).

Being polite with people who have issues or questions about what you're doing goes a long way!
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