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Old March 2nd, 2003, 10:13 PM   #1
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the mysterious US Gov. film archives & shooting in public

Someone once told me that in Washington DC there's an archive of government-made films that are public domain. Since all the films were made with tax dollars, citizens are entitled to view and use them. This someone said "Atomic Lunch", a film that uses a lot of footage of US atomic bomb blasts, was made with footage from this archive. She even said there was a website that listed all the films in the archive.
Is any of this true?

Also, does anyone know the laws regarding shooting in public places? Is it illegal to film someone in the street without their knowing it? Does a person have the right not to be filmed, if in a public space? Considering all footage/photographs we see of arrested/infamous persons sheilding their faces from the press everytime they step out of the house/police car onto the public sidewalk, I am inclined to believe that, legally, the filmer's right to film in public spaces comes before the right of the people in those places to not be filmed. Anyone know for certain?

Thanks
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Old March 2nd, 2003, 10:40 PM   #2
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As a journalist I know that photo journalists have a right to publish photographs of people in public places regardless of whether the subject approves. I do not know if the same laws apply to film. The laws are kind of murky. Children seem to have extra protections. I know that photojournalists generally ask a parent to sign a waiver when they get a shot they think their editor will be interested in that features a child prominently, even if it is taken in a public place. Generally an editor will require a photographer to get information for the cut line -- name, age, and other details that give the shot perspective -- so that is the natural time to ask the parent to sign a waiver. I suspect a lot of these laws will vary from state to state and many of them are unresolved because nobody has ever sued over it. Nobody can say for certain that anything is legal or illegal in this country until some kind of court action is brought and a judge somewhere has ruled definitively on the subject. By the way, do you mean "Atomic Cafe?" I know there was a documentary by that name that came out in the early '80s.
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Old March 3rd, 2003, 07:20 PM   #3
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Have a look at

http://www.archive.org/movies/prelinger.php

Great resource if you have a FAST internet connection.
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Old March 4th, 2003, 07:55 AM   #4
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Awesome!

This is amazing! The wheels are already turning in my head about what kind of a movie I can make using this material.
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Old March 4th, 2003, 09:19 AM   #5
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Jay Rosenblatt is a filmmkaer who has made some very moving pieces with "found footage". One of my favorites is called "Human Remains" which uses old newsreel footage of the infamous dictators like Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin... doing absolutely banal things... while their "voices" talk about their mundane interests. It's a very chilling look at how "human" these monsters appear to be. Like looking at Jeffery Dahmer.
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Old March 4th, 2003, 12:58 PM   #6
 
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Paul, I think the "place" you are referring is the National Archives in Washington, DC. I have bought footage from them before. You simply pay for the cost of duping. If it's on film and never been transferred to tape, then you pay for that, too. Still, it is waaaay cheaper than buying footage from stock houses!

Anyway... http://www.archives.gov/research_room/arc/

Hope this helps.
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