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Old January 11th, 2011, 01:17 PM   #1
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Video Taping @Mardi Gras

I have been asked to goto Mardi Gras this year and video tape a church group that goes down to Lousiana every year to witness to the people on the street. The church group wants to use the edited video for their web site.

If I shoot/edit this piece for them do I need to get "releases" from each person on the video? This of course will probably be next to impossible considering the crowds of people.

Thanks for your response.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 01:03 PM   #2
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Yes, absolutely you need written releases - and you and the group you are doing the taping for could both be sued for very large sums of money if a person does not sign off on being on camera, then finds themselves in a video proposing a particular sort of religion, political bent, etc...

For crowds on the street it's a bit different. People who are on the street and are not singled out in a video or interviewed in any way are not subject to releases, although if they do come and ask to be removed or blurred out then you must oblige or face legal consequences.

Crowds in establishments (as opposed to on the public street/beach/etc.) must all be made aware that by being in the establishment they might be videotaped. This usually means a sign outside the door that the proprietor allows you to put up stating that they waive any rights to video claims by entering the establishment. However, people have sued and will sue if they feel they are being singled out - i.e. you're doing a story on "fat people" and you show some overweight people eating their dinner in the restaurant.

Religion is a touchy subject with LOTS of people - you need to be extra careful in your getting permissions. If you somehow imply that any of the people being interviewed are somehow "sinners" or "going to hell" for their behavior, you're asking for lawsuits if they ever get wind of it.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 01:43 PM   #3
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No you don't. A crowd is a crowd. You need releases from featured people, not crowds.

As long as you don't misrepresent the people you capture, then you are good to go.
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Old January 19th, 2011, 04:25 AM   #4
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The media do stories on lots of touchy topics. I can't see them getting releases from everyone involved.

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Old January 19th, 2011, 12:59 PM   #5
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I live in the metro New Orleans area and there are church groups "witnessing" each year on Bourbon Street . There are also MANY MANY video cameras down there documenting the "other stuff". I've seen videographers for videos like the "Girls Gone Wild" series down there and they get releases from the "show-ers" but not the rest of the crowd. So I think if you get releases from the church group, and anyone they personally confront or converse with, you'll be OK. the rest of the crowd is just background. If someone does object to being on camera, and there are a lot during Mardi Gras, note that spot on your tape (timecode, whatever) and blur out or remove that individual.
One thing to look at is the "creative editing" aspect of what happens. Juxtapositioning of a few unrelated shots to get a point across may work for what the church wants, but may end up blurring the line of what some "featured" individuals signed on for.

A side note: There are a lot of families at Mardi Gras. Most of the flashing is done either in bars in the quarter or on Bourbon Street itself. That's probably where the church group will go... and it will be crowded! The families go to Canal Street for the parades or to Metairie for those parades on Mardi Gras day. families set up barbecues, lawn chairs, ice chests, etc.. kids play and catch beads and trinkets and the families have a really good time. You may want to look at that aspect as well. Just my thoughts!
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