Shooting in a private facility...any legal implications? at

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Old March 2nd, 2003, 10:28 AM   #1
Liam Donnelly
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Shooting in a private facility...any legal implications?

Hey everyone.

I'm pretty new to this board and have looked over it quite a bit but still needed to ask this question.

I'll be shooting a music video in the next couple of weeks for my portfolio onlyt. it won't have any commercial value.

I found a perfect place to shoot some of it - it's an aerobics studio in a local gym. I can't afford to rent someplace out but I do know some of the staff up there to see. All I need with me is a small amount of equipment, a strobe light, one actor... The equipment includes sony PD150 with tripod and dolly and maybe a monitor, if I even need that and I don't think I will.

Do you think management would let me use the studio for about 30 minutes to get this shot? Or are there problems that arise instantly with insurance etc? I have the time picked out because it gets really quiet around 9.30 just when it closes, but staff stay on until about 10.15.

Can anyone make any suggestions? Or is there some glaringly obvious obstruction here that I'm missing? Is it as easy as walking up to the manager and asking?

This will be my first production!
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Old March 2nd, 2003, 11:55 AM   #2
RED Code Chef
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Holland
Posts: 12,514
I suggest you go talk to them about what you want and explain
that you are a low-budget film maker and what you want to do
with your movie after it is done. They probably don't mind you
shooting there if they get a line in the credits (something like:
Special Thanks to TheWorkOutGym).

Do make sure everyone knows what will happen at what day
and time etc. Always be respectful and treat the place well!!

Always get a location release. This is a piece of paper with a
signature that says that you (you are named by your fullname)
have the right to shoot a piece of your movie (name the movie)
shot at their location (adress + name of the company) and that
you have the rights to use the recorded material in the motion
picture with world-wide distribution rights.


Some people can probably get you "official" location releases
if you want such a thing.

Good luck

Rob Lohman,
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Old March 2nd, 2003, 04:11 PM   #3
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Some places might need a General Liability Insurance. Depends on the total amount as to how much it will cost in the long run. I just got $1,000,000 for alittle over $1,000 dollars. I had to do it through my company though. I dont think you can even get anything like that without being a company.

good luck.

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Old March 2nd, 2003, 04:57 PM   #4
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You might have to offer some sort of release as well...releasing them of any liability in case an injuries or accidents occur that hurt your crew, cast, or equipment.

I'm sure Ireland isn't as sue-happy as the States... an American business' immediate response to requests like this is " can I get sued out of existence for allowing this?"

If that's their biggest concern, you'll have to somehow assuage those fears.
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Old March 2nd, 2003, 06:09 PM   #5
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Rob is on the money. Explain to them that you are very very small and insignificant, pose no threat to anything, and if they let you do it you will be very appreciative. The type of people that ask if you have insurance, are the type of people that are going to want money for letting you shoot there.
I'd ask if I could shoot it after hours, but offer to pay for a couple staff members to stay there with you.
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Old March 2nd, 2003, 06:40 PM   #6
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never hurts to ask .. if you don't ask the answer is always NO .. by asking you could get a NO = you lost nothing, you are in the same spot you were beofre you asked .. or you could get a YES - you gain entrance to the gym ...

as you can see it will all depend on the gym .. they might say YES and no other reqirements .. they might say you do or don't need insurance. i find that most places that have never had a crew using their location will say YES and will not ask for more .. however if they have had a crew before i find they will ask for insurance and other requirements ....

find out the day/time they are least busy .. if you think it will take 30 min IMO you tell them 1 hr ..always better to finish early then later...
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Old March 3rd, 2003, 07:20 AM   #7
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I asked a reputable large gym in NYC for access to an isolated treadmill for some running shots and closeups. They said, "no" after a day or two. However, I did find a place suitable for shooting the sequence in another lower/ no-profile gym.

Keep asking around and put the word out. If you have a connection to the facility then all the better. Perhaps barter an advertisement for them in your film. See what happens...

Or pull a run and gun and just do it at the risk of being thrown out. Not the greatest, however, exciting.

Good Journey!


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Old March 3rd, 2003, 07:32 AM   #8
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Old March 3rd, 2003, 07:53 PM   #9
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I shot at a Gold's Gym once. All I needed was footage of a guy lifting weights and using a couple of pieces of eqipment. I had camera, tripod and a softlight. I asked one of the trainers, said I'd pay him a hundred bucks to do the weightlifting for me. He got clearance from the manager.

Most people are very cooperative about things like that if they're sure you won't interfere with their business. If you go in acting like a hotshot producer, they'll probably throw you out.
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Old March 4th, 2003, 10:11 AM   #10
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I agree with Derrick on the run and gun to get some shots. I had connections with a big name gym here in NYC that allowed me to use the facility, as a perk for them I used some of the trainers in the backround as well as the fitness manager. I would have to say I mostly use locations where I know someone or I got to know them, for me being friendly and forward has gotten me some great sites. You would be suprised how giving people can be when they like you and your project.

Lots of LUCK

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Old March 4th, 2003, 06:43 PM   #11
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Its always a risk if you do not get the release. If you cultivate it right, most people would be happy provided there is no liability for them.

One other thing to consider. If you have the release you can likely use if in other productions in the future. Without it, you could run into problems.
Nathan Gifford
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Old March 8th, 2003, 05:07 PM   #12
Liam Donnelly
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Hey, thanks for the advice everyone, I really appreciate it!

I asked him, and he said yes almost immediately. I was really surprised...i guess the hard part was actually just getting past my own initial reluctance to ask. He said to come in Monday and organise a time.


Thanks again.

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