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Questions about filming in Italy


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#1 Nick Meissner

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 04:39 PM

Hi,
I am working on a small-scale documentary project, part of which will involve covering some historical events and places. Some of those are in Italy (Rome and Vatican City in particular). I am not being payed for this, it is something I would like to do for educational purposes. Kind of a hobby as well. It should just be myself and a friend who will be speaking to the camera at some of the historic locations. I'll be using a small prosumer camcorder (leaning towards Panasonic AG-HVX200). I do understand that using a tripod can sometimes change one's status, necessitating a filming permit, but I would like to use at least a compact tripod at some of the locations, so long as it didn't cause any traffic problems, if they will allow me to without a major hassle. If a tripod is out (or limited to someone who has a $$ permit), could possibly use a monopod. What I was wondering about is:

1.Would I fall under the catagory of professional film crew or would I be considered a tourist filming while on vacation?
2.If I were to be classified as an ordinary tourist, how should I deal with any inquiries by local authorities regarding my filming activities?
3.If I would need to obtain permits, etc, how much money is this going to run? And where to obtain these permits (any way other than the Italian language website for the Rome Film Commission)?
4.Is there a local contact anyone knows about that could help "grease the wheels" for me (for a fee, of course) where I would come out ahead in the end?

Any info would be much appreciated--especially from someone who is or has worked in Italy.

Thanks!
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#2 Francesco Bonomo

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 12:30 PM

1.Would I fall under the catagory of professional film crew or would I be considered a tourist filming while on vacation?


it depends: a guy with a HVX200 could be a tourist, a guy with a tripod shooting another guy in front of the camera can be considered a film crew.

2.If I were to be classified as an ordinary tourist, how should I deal with any inquiries by local authorities regarding my filming activities?


the only place where they could be picky is within Vatican City, there should be no problem at all everywhere else, even inside the Coliseum. If they ask you about what you're doing, you just say you're a tourist, but you have to keep a very low profile. As I said before, a guy in front of the camera is not the best way to look like a tourist.

3.If I would need to obtain permits, etc, how much money is this going to run? And where to obtain these permits (any way other than the Italian language website for the Rome Film Commission)?


I've downloaded the documents from the Rome Film Commission website, and here's a very quick translation of the basic facts: if you don't fall into the tourist type (one guy, one camera, no or small tripod), you need a permit.

You can get a permit in 5 days upon request, and you have to pay a fixed fee for the request, which is around 20 euros. There's another fee you have to pay if you plan of occupying public soil and that's pretty high (around 500 euros per day in the archaelogical area, which is HUGE). Plus, you have to pay about 50 euros per shot, although the document is not pretty clear about that. If you're a student or a tourist, you don't have to pay anything, but then again you wouldn't be able to sell your documentary because you would have to pay for the authorization anyway afterwards. if you want, I can call them next week and find out more about it.
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#3 Nick Meissner

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 01:51 PM

Hi Francesco,

Many many thanks for your informative reply. I do appreciate getting your take as a local in Rome. If it isn't too much trouble, it would be helpful to see what the film commission says regarding what criteria makes someone a tourist or a pro film crew, as well as anything else that might be helpful in figuring out which route to go and how to do it.


One other thing...If I did fall under the catagory of a Pro Film Crew, would I have to obtain the 500 euro permit for occupying public ground in the archeological area in order to get some footage at the Colisium, Pantheon, Roman Forum, etc? And would it be a seperate permit for each site? Or is that where the 50 euros per shot comes in? And any suggestions you have regarding Vatican City would be much appreciated.

Thanks again
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#4 Francesco Bonomo

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 03:43 PM

Many many thanks for your informative reply. I do appreciate getting your take as a local in Rome. If it isn't too much trouble, it would be helpful to see what the film commission says regarding what criteria makes someone a tourist or a pro film crew, as well as anything else that might be helpful in figuring out which route to go and how to do it.


i will try to call them this week and i'll send you a private message with all the info i can get.

One other thing...If I did fall under the catagory of a Pro Film Crew, would I have to obtain the 500 euro permit for occupying public ground in the archeological area in order to get some footage at the Colisium, Pantheon, Roman Forum, etc? And would it be a seperate permit for each site? Or is that where the 50 euros per shot comes in?


if i understand the papers correctly (they're complicated even for an Italian :D ), the two fees are independent from one another, i.e. you would have to pay them both. The 500 euros fee is a daily fee (24 hours) and once you pay it you can access any archeological site. Then, you pay an hourly fee for each building or monument, which is around 2 euros per hour.

I think the Forum and the Pantheon are ok even without a fee, there are so many people and if you keep a lower profile you could get amazing footage without having to pay any money, at least not until you sell your documentary (for instance, you could sit at one of the many bars and restaraunts in the little piazza in front of the Pantheon and get your footage from there).

And any suggestions you have regarding Vatican City would be much appreciated.


Vatican State rules are different and I don't know them, but I know a priest who works in an embassy and i'm positive he could give me more information.
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Broadcast Solutions Inc

Metropolis Post

Paralinx LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

Glidecam

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Visual Products

The Slider

Ritter Battery

CineTape

Willys Widgets

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio

Opal