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Old February 20th, 2009, 03:24 PM   #121
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Mark, I think this legislature is a slippery slope leading only down. The next thing we know you'll need a permit to set up a camera to film your family in a park. Because how are you going to distinguish a person filming a stock footage vs a few guys climbing a rock route while filming for a private use? And like I said- even stock footage is considered "private use" till actually sold.
BTW a lot of stock footage/ picture companies will require model and location releases, so again- why regulate things twice?
Also looking at this regulation it doesn't include USFS or BLM, so yet again back to square one and legislate through them?What about State Parks? Separate legislature- yet again. I am sick and tired of paying stupid fees. First of all- these entities are part of budgets, which are financed by taxes. Yet every one of them also charges user fees on the top. USFS charges yearly permits for parking at the trailheads, BLM does the same, NP charge entry fees. In one year any outdoor person is forced to pay over 200 bucks in order to go anywhere in the Western US!
Sorry, but if the legislature goes through I am not paying any more stupid fees! I am simply fed up
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Old February 20th, 2009, 03:49 PM   #122
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Robert,

Not to get you fired up but you might find this interesting reading.
Three cited by USFS for illegal filming | Aspen Daily News Online
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Old February 20th, 2009, 08:16 PM   #123
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“The message is that folks that are going to be doing any filming on the national forest, other than for their home use, most likely need to have a permit. They should be contacting the Forest Service in advance.”

Well, I'd like to see these guys or someone else push it and see what happens.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 10:33 AM   #124
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Robert,

Not to get you fired up but you might find this interesting reading.
Three cited by USFS for illegal filming | Aspen Daily News Online
Mark, yet again 2 issues. When the contract is in place it is a commercial work. If there is not it is private use. When you bid a job know the rules and costs (like permits). When you film something hoping it might sell in the future it is a private use till the work sells.
In this case it will be hard to argue private use while filming with 35 mm camera and having contract in place.
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Old May 10th, 2009, 03:35 PM   #125
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H.R. 2031 Introduced April 22, 2009

I stumbled upon this thread today and was fascinated. There does appear to be a double standard between NPS treatment of photographers and videographers.

It looks like this issue is not dead yet! Check out this link:

H.R. 2031: To amend Public Law 106-206 to direct the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of... (GovTrack.us)

So, it looks like we need to get a email/letter campaign going again.

What can we do to advance this bill?

Ryan
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Old May 10th, 2009, 03:56 PM   #126
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I emailed Congressman Boswell from my home state who is on the House Committee on Agriculture.

I'll give him a call next week to see if there's anything he can do to push it forward.
If any of the committee members are from your state, you should write them and let them know.
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Old May 10th, 2009, 09:29 PM   #127
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I'm writing the CA representative now.. although I am not in his District. We HAVE to get this out of committee... I think if we do it will be the equivalent of a "consent item" in the House and senate. I'll own permit number 1. (or in the first few anyway.)
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Old June 8th, 2009, 12:27 PM   #128
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Any suggestions on how one should handle this after the filming has been done? I took a trip a few years back and went through a couple of parks. I did some minimal shooting in the Grand Canyon, Zion and Death Valley. All of the shots were from my VW bus or along the road and in parking lots. At the time I really didn't think fees would be required but in researching all of this I'm now seeing that I should have inquired. I was and still am pretty new to all this. I just find it odd that you would be charged for promoting a park. I can understand if rangers are required but one person with a camera?
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Old June 8th, 2009, 03:36 PM   #129
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I wouldn't even worry about it. Most people I know are simply ignoring the rule and shooting whatever they want.
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Old June 8th, 2009, 06:09 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by Kevin Railsback View Post
I wouldn't even worry about it. Most people I know are simply ignoring the rule and shooting whatever they want.
That's what I was thinking. It's not like I was out in a helicopter trapping and releasing bears with Marlin Perkins or anything. :)
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Old May 8th, 2010, 05:01 PM   #131
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Any progress on this or is it dead in the political waters?
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Old May 8th, 2010, 08:39 PM   #132
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I haven't heard a peep about it.
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Old September 13th, 2011, 05:44 PM   #133
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Re: National Park filming legislation

Am I reading this wrong, or did the senate resurrect this?

Bill Text - 112th Congress (2011-2012) - THOMAS (Library of Congress)

Says it went to committee in May of 2011.

I discovered this today during a google search I made after calling my Senator's (Mike Lee, Utah) Office for an appointment to discuss this issue. I'll be meeting with one of his staff sometime in the near future. I figured emails are just too easy to ignore, so I'm going personally.
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Old September 13th, 2011, 07:09 PM   #134
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Re: National Park filming legislation

I'm reading that I would need to pay $200 per year and give 48 hours notice if I was to shoot in a public area. Would this include hauling out the video gear for a commercial shoot of Yellowstone?
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Old September 15th, 2011, 11:24 AM   #135
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Re: National Park filming legislation

Scott,
That definitely wouldn't fly in Yellowstone. See this site for details:
Yellowstone National Park - Film, Photography and Sound Recording Permits (U.S. National Park Service)

I know this is an old thread, but this is an issue that has been eating at me for a long time. I finally resolved a few months ago to start contacting my representatives. I spoke at length on the phone to Congressman Jim Matheson's office (D, Utah) two days ago, and I just got off the phone with Senator Mike Lee's Office (R, Utah) a few minutes ago. I've written a persuasive letter to them, and I've been given a meeting with Senator Lee's office tomorrow morning. Senator Lee is a big supporter of the people having access to public lands, so I think he would be a good "champion" for this cause. I'll report back when I have something to report. Otherwise, here's the letter I've sent to both representatives (wish me luck!):

Dear <representative>,

I am a small, independent film-maker in southern Utah. I've lived within 30 minutes of Zion National Park for my entire life and I love the scenery and wildlife that are available for the public to enjoy there. Having said that, I believe that the current film-permit system in our national parks is unfair, unequally implemented, and may even be unconstitutional. I would like to bring this issue to your attention.

My main points of consideration:

1. As photography and film-making have shifted to digital formats, they have become less expensive by orders of magnitude. A $500 camera can now film with a picture quality that would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars less than ten years ago. With these advances, the number of people charging for photo and video services has also increased exponentially. Hence, with the competition, rates for services have also plummeted. However, the cost of film-permits in our national parks has remained relatively static. Requiring a small, independent videographer to pay for a film-permit in a national park will usually result in the job becoming a net loss for the videographer. The policy essentially amounts to a “Stay out unless you're one of the big boys” rule for permit-requiring public lands.

2. Well-made, thoughtful videos published on such outlets as YouTube, Vimeo and other internet media aggregators essentially amount to free publicity for the park being filmed. They also often encourage conservation and responsible use.

3. Because of the advances in technology, many videographers are now filming their footage on the exact same equipment that still photographers are using (See for instance, the Canon 5D Mk II, Canon 7D, Canon T2i, Nikon D7000, Nikon D90, Sony A77, Sony NEX-5n, etc). The permit suddenly becomes required, literally, at the flip of a switch.

4. A good Case-study is Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone requires the following:
a non-refundable, $200 application processing fee.
An additional $65/hour if processing takes over three hours.
A minimum of $150/day for “location fees.” (up to $750/day)
A Ranger monitoring all filming (or location scouting) activities at a rate of $65/hr (to be paid in advance). The Ranger also limits the film-maker's flexibility, because he/she cannot work longer than 12 hours in a day.
A $1,000,000 insurance policy.

5. In addition, many parks require a copy of a script and/or storyboard to be submitted before a permit can be approved. While the purposes of this are ostensibly to protect against anything dangerous being filmed in the parks, it certainly provides an opportunity for curtailing the freedom of speech of an independent film-maker as well.
6. It is not just the national parks who have been implementing these policies. Increasingly, national forests, national monuments, and other federal lands have started implementing their own film-permit fee structures, along with some state government agencies. In a state such as Utah, that is 62% federally owned, it is getting difficult to find any scenic places where it is legal to turn on a video camera without paying a fee or a fine. Especially when factoring in the additional lands owned by the state government.

Conclusion: These rules were obviously made to minimize damage and offset the impact caused by large, Hollywood-style film crews and productions. A small (5 people or less) group making a video can have less impact than a group of backpackers, and can even help to promote a park's cause. In our digital age, these small groups are now the norm, not the exception, but they are still being hindered from enjoying the parks in the same manner as still photographers by rules that were not designed with the digital age or small groups in mind. Such groups are further limited by monetary requirements that are simply out of reach. Charging such exorbitant amounts to these small, independent film-makers who have little or no impact for the park to mitigate, or from which the park must recover, essentially amounts to taxing photons at best, and prohibiting them entry at worst.

I would ask that <representative> introduce legislation similar to the failed H.R. 5502 from 2008 (died in committee) to correct this problem. We small producers need a true champion on this issue or we will continue to be marginalized. Please feel free to contact me for any questions.

Alex Chamberlain
Blue Desert Digital
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Last edited by Alex Chamberlain; September 15th, 2011 at 12:34 PM.
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