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shooting the public / clearances


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#1 Michael Jasen

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 07:36 PM

Can anyone shed some light, or point me in the proper direction about clearing footage taken of other people?

I'll be shooting a s16mm short in Detroit next month and would like to get some "real people" shots. I want them to be candid and random.

What should I be doing about clearances? Where is that line drawn? I've seen some films lately that obviously were able to get these kinds of shots. On the "Vanilla Sky" commentary track Cameron Crowe even says while we see some shots outside of the car he says "we just pointed the camera out the window and stole these shots"

When should I get people to sign something? When shouldn't I?

-mike
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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 12:21 PM

Typically if some one is part of a crowd scene you can get away with it, if they are in a public space. Also, you need to ensure that the person is not being shown in a bad light in some way. Even caught picking their nose could be an issue. Mass crowd shots of cities shot by second unit for example obviously don't get a release from every person seen.

If you want to get a tight shot of some one that you use as a cut away, most E&O policies will require a release for this. People in these situations are usually extras any way, hired by the production. I would not "steal" a bunch of candid shots of individuals framed tightly and use them in your movie without a release.

FYI, the only place on earth that E&O even matters is the USA. European broadcasters don't ask for E&O insurance. In Canada they ask for E&O, except there has never been a successful E&O lawsuit in Canadian history where an insurance company had to pay out. E&O is really only to cover your butt in the USA.

If I was shooting a documentary in some far off place and I wanted to use some candid shots of people, would I use the shots without a release? Yes, I would, and this has been done dozens of times for feature films shown in the USA.

Would I do this if I was shooting in Los Angeles, no, not a good idea.

R,
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#3 Michele Peterson

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 12:22 AM

It depends where people are. I'm certainly not a lawyer, but my understanding is that anyone who goes out in public view is fair game to be photographed.

The standard practice, in my experience at least, when shooting people at a place that is open to the public but privately owned, is to get permission of the owners and then make a properly worded legal release in the form of a sign, that is clearly visible at ALL the entrances of this area. This sign informs people that entering the area constitutes their agreement to be photographed. I always get a quick shot to document the release sign. Now if you are trying to do this on a public street or something, it might not be practical to control all entrances or feasible when working with government red tape, but if you are in a building, or mall or such, it might.
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