Help with shooting at an airport this morning. at
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Taking Care of Business
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Old March 15th, 2003, 09:21 AM   #1
Major Player
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Murrieta, CA
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Help with shooting at an airport this morning.

I need to shoot some b-roll stuff of planes at an airport sitting around, taking off and flying. Other than obscuring airline logos is there anything I should keep in mind? Ya think may be given a hard time just showing up and shooting? Should I just find a nice street off the airport and film from there? Any advise is welcome.


<I think this may need to be moved to Taking Care Of Business ~ sorry about that.>
Mark Argerake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 15th, 2003, 10:13 AM   #2
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My experiences with shooting airplanes is simply this: Don't get on the airport property to do it. You'll get busted. Find a good spot off a nearby road.

Having said that, I should add that I haven't shot any planes in the past couple of years, and today if anybody sees you pointing something at a low flying plane, you could have trouble. So, you might want to contact the local sheriff or cops in the area where you plan to shoot and tell them what you're doing.
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Old March 15th, 2003, 10:26 AM   #3
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In this era of terrorist paranoia, I would recommend you either go through channels or do everything extremely openly off property if you don't seek permission. They may come down on you anyway but if you act furtively, you could be asking for a ton of crap to come down on you. As the other poster said, if someone sees you point something at planes and they don't have a good look at what you're doing, they're liable to imagine anything.

What is this for? A feature? Documentary?

It's my sense that people who are doing news or documentary get away with a lot more. Also people are very used to seeing news crews shooting in public places.
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Old March 15th, 2003, 11:00 AM   #4
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Considering the hassle they are giving folks for taking pictures of bridges, I would ask, ask often, and ask as many people that you can find, for permissions. Just getting permission from one person won't help, if it's the wrong person.

Terrorists suck.
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Old March 15th, 2003, 11:38 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the advise. I'm going to have to do this another time though. It started raining this morning.

Keith - this is b-roll stuff for a behind the scenes featurette for a film a friend of mine is doing.
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Old March 15th, 2003, 02:56 PM   #6
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There is official policy on this, which is that you can not film anything involving security.

That said, I think if you were standing outsite the fence filming, you'd be approached. Going through channels sounds like the safest course.

You ought to call a local TV station and see what kind of hoops they have to jump through lately.
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Old March 15th, 2003, 04:06 PM   #7
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To be safe, you might choose a more carefully worded phrase than "shooting at an airport"...

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Old March 16th, 2003, 02:59 AM   #8
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Terrorists suck indeed.

What I would do...
Go to a street nearby with a good view of the airport, bring an "actor", preferably someoen young. Pretend you are filming him standing around goofing off while in reality you are shooting the footage of the airplanes you need. DO NOT STEP ONTO THEIR PROPERTY. Their security can't really do anything except call the real police in this case. If the REAL cops show up, say you were filming your pal for a student film. (oh, have some footage on the tape in case they want to see it). You aren't breaking the law. All the cops can do is give you a hard time, they know their boundries.
If they are freaks and decide they want to seize your equipment because they think you are Mark Bin Laden, tell them you know your rights, and that your lawyer is on speed dial and he'd love to know about how they are harrasing you. (assuming you know a lawyer). If they want to call the FBI, NSA and Secret Service on you, that's fine, you've got nothing to hide.
In this case I'd go with the "ask forgiveness, not permission" route, which isn't my normal thing.
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Old March 16th, 2003, 06:29 PM   #9
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One problem with asking permission is you will probably be required to get a permit or something. This can be an expensive hassle in some places of the country. I'm facing the same dilemma myself, and may cut the footage altogether. There seems to be a mass hysteria gripping the country right now, and there's no telling how people will respond to someone shooting footage of airplanes. Around here, the cops can be some real thugs.
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Old March 17th, 2003, 06:41 AM   #10
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Most airports are used to having people around with all sorts of cameras. There is a general rule of no recording the security process found inside the terminal building (baggage screening as well as the passenger screening checkpoint). This is done for a number of reasons however the primary is that we don't want the screeners distracted from their number one job. (Would you really want to fly out somewhere after the screeners were distracted?). My suggestion is that if you'd like to tape inside the terminal contact the airport's public information office first (you'd be surprised at the level of cooperation you'll receive).

Now for the outside: Just about all airports are used to having people hanging around watching the airplanes land and take-off. Some airports even offer observation decks or vehicle turn in areas so do this. (Even after 9/11). Do you need permision to film from this area? In most cases I'd say no. Just go there and you'll see all types of folks (young and old) who have a love affair with aviation. These folks will have cameras, avaition radios (scanners), etc and will spend anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours just watching the activity.

Some smaller airport offer limited tours. All depends on the airport and current political climate. Some airlines offer the same thing. What I wouldn't suggest is waking up in the morning and going out to the local airport "cold". Scout the location out as you would anywhere else. Make contact with the airport PR person - maybe a behind scenes tour can be arrainged if the timing is right.
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