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-   -   Is it allowed to use a tripod in a National Park ? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/under-water-over-land/57547-allowed-use-tripod-national-park.html)

Ronan Fournier January 5th, 2006 12:23 PM

Is it allowed to use a tripod in a National Park ?
 
Hello,

Here, in France, when you're using a camera on a tripod, you need an permit from the local authority. Because for them : tripod = professional filmmaker.

I'm planning a trip in some NPs of Arizona and Colorado and would be happy to shoot wildlife with my Sony FX1 on a Bogen 503 tripod. Do you think I need a permit from the National Parks ?

I've phone them and they asked if my film will be a commercial one. Of course, I'll try to make something good enough for cable TVs, but I'm an independant. I have no producer... So is it a commercial film or not ? Do I need a permit in National Parks ? Is there a risk if I don't declare my activity at the entrance ? What do you think?

Thank you!

Meryem Ersoz January 5th, 2006 12:53 PM

i shoot in national parks all the time with a tripod, and no one has ever approached me about it. they are considered public spaces. camping overnight in non-designated areas usually requires a special permit, and there's an entry fee, but that's about it. have fun, and post us some fabulous footage when you get a chance!

here's the US national parks service website, you can find fees listings and reservation requirements there. http://www.nps.gov

Kevin Shaw January 5th, 2006 01:14 PM

I would be very surprised if anyone stopped you in a U.S. National Park just because they saw you with a video camera on a tripod. In any parks with historical ruins you should be careful to avoid getting too close to anything fragile, but other than that I doubt anyone will pay much attention to you. My advice would be not to say anything to park rangers and just go record what you want; if anyone asks tell them it's for your personal use. If by some chance they do ask you to stop filming, politely do so and move on to another location.

Meryem Ersoz January 5th, 2006 02:03 PM

kevin makes an excellent point about the fragility of some of these environments. in addition to ruins, you may encounter cryptobiotic soil, high alpine tundra, and other delicate ecologies which damage easily. you might want to also consider a monopod or better still, a steady stick or dvcaddie. both are lighter to carry, easier to set up, and generate less impact.

Ronan Fournier January 6th, 2006 04:16 AM

Thank you both for your supporting replies. I'll do as you said.
But thanks to Meryem's link, I've found this about filming in Grand Canyon :
http://www.nps.gov/grca/filming/index.htm

I suppose it is the same policy in all the NPs.
It is said :"Filming/Photography Permits - are issued for photography, filming, and associated sound recording to ensure protection of resources, to prevent significant disruption of normal visitor uses, or when they involve props, models, professional crews and casts or set dressings."

I suppose that "prop" means somethings like heavy tripod, crane or dolly, isn't ?
Anyway, as you suggest, I might say that it's for my personnal use, even if I'll try to sell the movie to cable TVs later... That's the freelance problematic ! ;)

I've already used a monopod, but the shots were not as stable as I wanted. So the combine of a tripod and of a light steady seems a good idea. I'll try it.

Bob Safay January 6th, 2006 05:00 AM

Ronan, like the others I have photographed and videoed many National Parks in America and NEVER have I been asked for a permit. One thing to check, back in 1975 I worked for the summer at Rocky Mountain NP in Colorado. At that time people visiting the USA could get into our National Parks for free by presenting their passport at the gate. Check on this, last summer it cost my $20 US to get into Mesa Verde NP in southern Colorado. And please remember that you can still get snow in the high country of Colorado in the summer, so if you plan on going to Rocky Mountain NP, even in the summer, bring warm clothing. Bob

Kevin Shaw January 6th, 2006 08:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ronan Fournier
It is said :"Filming/Photography Permits - are issued for photography, filming, and associated sound recording to ensure protection of resources, to prevent significant disruption of normal visitor uses, or when they involve props, models, professional crews and casts or set dressings."

Again, I seriously doubt anyone would approach you about this unless you were traveling with a film crew. One person with a video camera on a tripod is common enough to be unlikely to draw attention.

K. Forman January 6th, 2006 09:04 AM

There are several points brought up here-
Tripod... I doubt the will be an issue, unless it has spikes on the legs that dig into the ground. Silly, but some places take that stuff very serious.

Commercial use... It doesn't matter if you are independant or have a producer. Commercial means you will try to make money of of it, or possibly even mass viewing. In such cases, the Park may just want credit for the location.

Props- If you plan on shooting a car commercial, you will obviously need a car. That would be a prop, as well as any large boulders, statues, etc., that you may use. They want to know in advance if there is a chance for damage and destruction to the habitat.

Their main concern, is prserving the area. If you have any questions, it may take several calls, but you will eventually get to the right person, and they will likely help you out. Did this help?

Meryem Ersoz January 6th, 2006 09:08 AM

ronan, the same site says, "Generally, permits are not required for: visitors using cameras and/or recording devices for their own personal use."

you'll most likely be recording from the rim of the canyon, in which case you'll be surrounded by about a million other tourists, all similarly outfitted! you won't stick out. if you feel ambitious, you can schlep your camera and gear the nine miles (nine miles out, of course) down to the river bed. it is a beautiful hike, best embarked upon before sunrise and before the mule teams starting pooping it up. at the very least, i highly recommend descending into the canyon a little bit, if you want to take shots that don't look exactly like every other tourists' shots. it's a bit of work but worth it to get beyond the surface beauty. get up early--that's my advice. canyon light changes quickly, and changing canyon light is the best palette!!!!!!

anyway, my point is, no one here equates a tripod with professionalism, not when a zillion american and japanese and european tourists and other well-heeled amateurs are all trying to edge you aside for the view with their own big rigs!

seriously, you don't have a thing to be concerned about. you'll be in some of the loveliest places in this beautiful country--relax and have fun!

Ronan Fournier January 6th, 2006 11:45 AM

Thanks again.

It's because I'm a stranger in your beautfull country that I want to be sure to perfectly respect the laws of NPs.
Anyway, I'll stay on the tracks, I'm alone and I'm not sure at all that at TV would appreciate my work, so...

In France, everything is so complicated with the administration ;)

Boyd Ostroff January 6th, 2006 01:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ronan Fournier
I suppose that "prop" means somethings like heavy tripod, crane or dolly, isn't ?

Hi Ronan, and welcome to DVinfo. Actually, in its common usage, "prop" is short for "property" and it refers to something that actors would be using on camera. Examples might be: a table, a chair, a sign or a fake dinosaur ;-) In other words, they don't want you to make a movie or a TV commerical in the parks without a permit. I can't imagine they would object to you and your tripod unless your brings road cases full of gear and setting them up with a crew.

Enjoy your trip and don't worry about it. Worst case, a park ranger might ask you to refrain from whatever you're doing, but I seriously doubt you'll have any problems at all.

Dave Stiles January 6th, 2006 08:07 PM

Tripods are not an issue
 
In most National Parks you will see many cameras and spotting scopes mounted on Bogen tripods. In some parks, such as Katmai in Alaska, they will limit the amount of time you may be set up on the decks, but that's more due to the limited space than anything else.

Just try not to block access trails or pathways and you should be fine.

Also, unless you have already sold the film ... I'd claim tourist status, no issues there unless you are running a crew.

I'm leaving for Yellowstone on Tuesday and will post if I have any problems

Steven Gotz January 7th, 2006 11:33 AM

I can certainly understand why the question was asked.

I was on a tour of Greece and I knew that a tripod would not be allowed. But they actually tried to tell me that I had to take the microphone off of my Sony FX1 because only professional cameras have microphones. Yeah, right.

I spoke to a supervisor, explained it was a consumer camera, and that the Mic does NOT come off. They let me in.

Elsewhere, I was using a tripod at the ruins in Corinth, and was told to pack it up. Being prepared, I had a DVRigJr with me as well. Not great, but better than handheld.

However, I have never had problems at all anywhere in Hawaii or any other park I have been to in the USA.

Tonnie van der Heijden January 10th, 2006 10:54 AM

Using a tripode
 
I have more and less the same question because I want to make a wild life film in New Zealand. Does somebody knows if it is allowed to use a tripode in the New Zealands national parks?

Joe Barker January 10th, 2006 06:20 PM

I took a tripod on my last trip to New Zealand and used it without encountering any problems.I guess its all about common sense .If i'd hauled a Bogan 503, XL2 and all the associated gear into a protected tundra area then maybe somebody would say something. Keep things compact and simple and no one will care.

Bob Safay January 11th, 2006 07:17 AM

Ronan, what parks are you planing on visiting this summer? Perhaps some of us can fill you in on great places to stop and see. Also, if you plan on camping in Yellowstone this summer you better get a reservation. And, Mesa Verde NP only has one hotel in the park (no air conditioners either), plus it is a good 45 minute drive to any real store. At mesa verde you really need a tripod to get shots across the mesa to the cliff dwellings and, you have to sign up in advance to get on one of the guided tours into the dwellings. Remember to check on getting in for free by showing your passport. Bob

Ronan Fournier January 12th, 2006 06:51 AM

Well I'm not quite sure to do this project yet (yo ho, budget, are you here ?)
But if possible, I'd like to go before the tourism rush, maybe during the spring... Do you think that May is a good month to do so (crowds, weather) or what is the latest moment before it becomes too populated? Thanks!

Meryem Ersoz January 12th, 2006 10:33 AM

may is an awesome time to be in the desert (mesa verde, arches national park, grand canyon, etc.). it gets hot during the day by june. for high-altitude mountain footage, optimum time is july, when the wildflowers are blooming, and the thaw creates the nicest river/creek/stream footage. it all depends on what you're seeking from the colorado/arizona/utah area, mountain or desert.

Ronan Fournier January 12th, 2006 12:20 PM

Thank you Meryem,
I've got to complete my last summer movie (Grand Canyon, Bryce, Mesa verde, Arches) so I'm looking for something different now. As you said, Rocky Mountains could be a great idea, with Yosemite and Yellowstone too... Do you think these areas' weather is fine in May ?

Meryem Ersoz January 12th, 2006 06:52 PM

may is still ski/snowshoeing season in the rockies. if you're looking for snowscapes, it's a great time. you might want to wait until july if you want springtime in the high country. many of the best access points--wilderness areas, rocky mountain national park roads, etc.--aren't even officially open until late june-early july, depending on the snowpack. i don't know how this applies to yosemite and yellowstone. someone more local to those regions might want to weigh in.

Steven Gotz January 12th, 2006 08:12 PM

Consider a movie about the fresh water springs in Florida. Shoot some footage of manatees and crocs.

Dave Stiles January 12th, 2006 09:56 PM

May in Yellowstone
 
The end of May still has snow in the high country, yet the animals have started to have their young. Last May I was fortunate enough to find a coyote den in Yellowstone right along the road. Obtained some awesome footage of the young pups nursing and fighting over a piece of elk .... a short quicktime video of them is on my website.

Also got footage of bears and a cougar at Tower Falls ... but have yet to prep them for the web.

Most of the park roads will be open in late May, but not all of the services in the park will be available until June

Ronan Fournier January 13th, 2006 01:52 AM

Many thanks for these information. So I've got to think about June now, and if I go to the Rockies, it have to be at the end of the trip. I could arrive in San Francisco and take off from Denver...

Dave, the coyote puppies are very cute, congratulations!
What kind of camecorder and lenses have you got ? How long did you wait until you could approach them close enough ?
You also take pictures of a grizzli mama with her babies, this should have been dangerous isn't ?

Jacques Mersereau January 13th, 2006 03:32 PM

If you shoot and plan to broadcast footage from a National Park or
any other location you should acquire a signed release form from
the proper authority. If you do not and you sign paper (for say
PBS) stating that you have acquired all the proper release forms
(which you must do before they will air anything)
you could find yourself in trouble as you will have 'indemnified'
PBS from being sued. That means whomever will sue YOU.

Rodney Compton January 13th, 2006 03:56 PM

Closer to home
 
Bonjour Ronan

I was working in the Les Cevennes last year with and without a tripod with no thought to the consequences. What is the legislation in France - I am going again this year. Is it to do with commissioned work only.

Rod Compton
England

Dave Stiles January 13th, 2006 03:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ronan Fournier
Dave, the coyote puppies are very cute, congratulations!

What kind of camcorder and lenses have you got ? How long did you wait until you could approach them close enough ?
You also take pictures of a grizzly mama with her babies, this should have been dangerous isn't ?

The coyotes were done with a Nikon 82mm field scope with their camera attachment running to a Canon ZR75MC. I never approached them, the scope brought them up and close. I now have an XL2 to play with...

As for the grizz photo's ... I was downwind with a Canon 20D using the 100-400 Image stabilizing lens. Effective focal length was 640mm and the distance was approximately 1/8 mile. The truck was running and I was standing next to the open door, just in case.

Pete Bauer January 13th, 2006 04:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jacques Mersereau
If you shoot and plan to broadcast footage from a National Park or
any other location you should acquire a signed release form from
the proper authority. If you do not and you sign paper (for say
PBS) stating that you have acquired all the proper release forms
(which you must do before they will air anything)
you could find yourself in trouble as you will have 'indemnified'
PBS from being sued. That means whomever will sue YOU.

Hey Jacques, I would have no doubt that yours is very sound general advice. But as a practical matter, unless one is taking pictures of celebrity tourists or perhaps an ill-tempered park ranger, who's going to sue you for pictures of the great outdoors?

After all, irate grizzly bears and rutting bull moose rarely avail themselves of judicial process, being a bit more direct in their settlement of claims.
;-)

Sorry, very weak humor...it's been a tough week for the Wranglers and I'm still very impatiently awaiting the opportunity to sample my Friday evening frosty beverage.

Ronan Fournier January 14th, 2006 02:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rodney Compton
Bonjour Ronan
I was working in the Les Cevennes last year with and without a tripod with no thought to the consequences. What is the legislation in France - I am going again this year. Is it to do with commissioned work only.
Rod Compton
England

Good morning Rodney,

Herre you'll find the Park's regulations :
http://www.bsi.fr/pnc/English/english.htm

I think that you shouldn't have any problem if you stay on the trails, ar every few people with a light material (DV cam or so).
In France it's in the cities that you may have problem if you use a tripod, even a very small one.
For exemple, many years I shoot a short film in the garden in front of Notre Dame de Paris and I needed the autorizations of the clergy, of the City of Paris and of the Parks and Garden Administration! And that was only for a creaw of 6 person on a Super 8 movie!

Doug Boze January 14th, 2006 03:16 AM

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pete Bauer
After all, irate grizzly bears and rutting bull moose rarely avail themselves of judicial process, being a bit more direct in their settlement of claims. ;-)[/i]

Well, if they hassle you just say, "Bite me!"

Then run like hell... :-p

Doug Boze January 14th, 2006 03:31 AM

Also consider a National Parks Pass
 
Ronan,

You might consider as well getting a National Parks Pass which will let you into any national park in the nation. There is also a Golden Eagle Pass sticker which, for an additional fee, can be obtained and affixed to the NPP and will allow free access to any site managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management.

I have a Golden Eagle pass obtained through my home state of Washington. I can enter any national park, any site managed by the agencies mentioned above, as well as any state parks in Washington and Oregon without paying an access fee for a year.

Really handy! Be sure to check out the National Parks website for more info.

Pete Bauer January 14th, 2006 08:03 AM

The Park Pass would undoubtedly be a good deal for someone wanting to visit multiple parks, but (without reading the fine print), I doubt that the Pass would include, or be a subsititute for, a commercial filming permit. Suspect that's an entirely separate issue.

The "right thing to do" is to check and get any required permissions or permits, yet I have to agree with the majority here that if you're a relatively unobtrusive, one-man show and being respectful, I can't imagine that you'd have hassles in a US National Park. Cameras on tripods are everywhere; that's nothing to the park officials. It is just the ones -- with permits or not -- who go out of their way to be idiots that are going to have problems with the officials.

Rodney Compton January 14th, 2006 10:49 AM

Filming in Paris
 
Bonsoir Ronan

I like your site, the stills are very lyrical - I would not expect less from a Frenchman. Do you have an interest in mainstream classical French cinema, Traufaut, Chabrol, etc.,

Rod Compton

p.s The camera in the picture is a Sony 450 with wideangle ?

Ronan Fournier January 14th, 2006 11:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jacques Mersereau
If you shoot and plan to broadcast footage from a National Park or
any other location you should acquire a signed release form from
the proper authority.

All right Jaques, you're right. The safer way is to phone to the park administration, even if it's a bit difficult with my horrible french accent!

Ronan Fournier January 14th, 2006 11:29 AM

-> Pete, thanks a lot, yes I will buy the Golden Eagle Pass. I've got one from my last journey, but it's expired now.

-> Rodney, thank you for the compliment about my work, it's very kind of you.
Yes I love old french movies. I've got a master in cinema from Sorbonne University. My favorite director of the sixties is Jean-Pierre Melville, who made "l'armée des ombres", the best movie, IMO, on the french resistance during the WWII. I love Marcel Carné too, and, more recently, Jean-Jaques Annaud. Are you a fan of french cinema, too ?

The camera on the homepage of my site is an Aaton Super 16mm which I used some years ago. On the movie page, it's the Sony FX1 wich is above goosenecks in Utah, near Monument Valley...

Robert J. Wolff January 16th, 2006 04:00 PM

Ronan, Good Evening.

You will be stopped from shooting if you:
Slow down a tour of the site.
They don't want you to hold up 20 to 200 people. Suggestion: Take the tour. (It will give you and idea as to what you want to shoot.) Hand hold what you can. Go back, on your own, and shoot with your TP. If the same personel are on duty, they will recognize you. That helps!

If you try this in a cave (Mammoth, Black Hills, etc.), most probably you will be treated with slightly less courtesry, than if you did the same at the White House. You know, blocking emergency exits; Distruction of enviornment/antiques, what ever.

The best time to visit the NP's of the US, is "off season". Before, June, and, after August. The NP personel are much more relaxed after the "Season Crush"!

Come on over! They are well worth the effort!

Alan Craven February 1st, 2006 11:27 AM

I am amused by the suggestion that damage to the ground by tripod legs is a problem - presumably trekking poles do not cause a problem??

Tripod use if frowned upon or banned in cities in several European countries, including Sweden. It was this that prompted the invention of the late, lamented, Duopod. The rights to this were purchased by the UK company Uniloc who manufactured two versions for some years. Presumably they did not sell well enough, as they are no longer available.

Steven Gotz February 1st, 2006 11:53 AM

I was told by a guide on the island of Crete that the reason that they did not allow tripods was that it made it possible for tourists to take much better pictures. That ruins the postcard and souvenir business.

I thought about that for a while and realized that could be a pretty compelling reason.

Pete Bauer February 1st, 2006 12:11 PM

Alan,

Of course, in most places where one is allowed to hike in a US park, damage to the ground by a tripod isn't really an issue.

HOWEVER, it is a very serious matter in certain parks such as Arches or Zion, for example, where there is an extremely fragile cryptobiotic crust that can be damaged for generations by a single footstep, treking pole, or tripod poking into it. If caught damaging these delicate crusts by not restraining themselves to the marked paths, people are likely to be ejected from the park. It isn't a matter of sensitivity to tripods per se as it seems to be in some parts of the world, but simply a protection of unique environments.

Alan Craven February 1st, 2006 01:28 PM

Pete,

I was not suggesting that surface dmage is not a problem! Just that from what I have seen in Europe, N. America and New Zealand, trekking poles present a far greater problem.

It is possible to find paths in popular places with two lines of small holes lining the edges. I have not noticed sets of three holes!

David Bird February 2nd, 2006 11:23 AM

Beware of shooting with a tripod in Washington, DC and at the St. Louis Arch, irrespective of your intended "use" of what you shoot (still or video). Apparently the guys that wear the park service uniforms in both locations went to the same training school. Tripod = pro=ya gotta have a permit. I don't have any idea why the Rangers in St. Louis would care....I assume that the Washington guys are afraid you might capture some lobbyist passing out cash in the background :)
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