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Permits, filming in the woods, beaches.


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#1 Vadim Joy

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 08:08 AM

Hello everyone, is it legal to film in the woods or beaches without obtaining permission and spending tons of money? I heard some people say if your crew is under 5 you can do it, some say you can't. 

How is the law in USA, UK and Canada? 


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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 08:34 AM

Depends on where. Permitting is normally set on the city/county level, and sometimes state. Also depends on what forest or beach.

Example, back in Philadelphia, no permits were required for any small production on public property which covered a few wooded areas. However, Fairmount Park (big urban bark, largest landscaped in the world) did require a permit which was around $50~$150, depending.

Now, here in LA, you really need a permit for all filming, no matter where you are as I understand it.

Shooting without one can be a problem , and i've known several people who were shut down w/o them.

 

Basic logic is the further away you get from a major production center, the more the novelty of a film shoot, in the US, trumps the legality. What I mean by that is the more likely people are to find it really cool you're shooting a film and therefore are more willing to help out or at least not bother you too much so long as you're respectful to them and their property/area.

 

You can do it on private property as well which would only really require permission of the property owner for the most part (depending on what equipment you may need there may be certain rules/regs you have to follow).

Most area have a film office, at least in the US, either on a local or state level which you can contact which will have all the needs and can answer all your questions based on what you're doing.  I'm sure Canada and the UK have similar points of contact.


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#3 Vadim Joy

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 10:07 AM

Depends on where. Permitting is normally set on the city/county level, and sometimes state. Also depends on what forest or beach.

Example, back in Philadelphia, no permits were required for any small production on public property which covered a few wooded areas. However, Fairmount Park (big urban bark, largest landscaped in the world) did require a permit which was around $50~$150, depending.

Now, here in LA, you really need a permit for all filming, no matter where you are as I understand it.

Shooting without one can be a problem , and i've known several people who were shut down w/o them.

 

Basic logic is the further away you get from a major production center, the more the novelty of a film shoot, in the US, trumps the legality. What I mean by that is the more likely people are to find it really cool you're shooting a film and therefore are more willing to help out or at least not bother you too much so long as you're respectful to them and their property/area.

 

You can do it on private property as well which would only really require permission of the property owner for the most part (depending on what equipment you may need there may be certain rules/regs you have to follow).

Most area have a film office, at least in the US, either on a local or state level which you can contact which will have all the needs and can answer all your questions based on what you're doing.  I'm sure Canada and the UK have similar points of contact.

 

 

Thanks for the info, Adrian. I remember few months ago I went to UK and friend of mine was making a short film. Corporation of London (if I remember well) said he needs a public liability insurance that covers 2+ millions to film in the woods or any park in London. We called few companies to find out that insurance costs 500 and above, which is about $800. That's crazy! Eventually we shot everything without permits. 

 

I plan to shoot film here in LA next summer and really have no idea how to avoid permits. I think I'll go gorilla style. 


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#4 Vadim Joy

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 10:14 AM

I'm new to Los Angeles, are there any woods and beaches that might be used "quietly"?


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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 10:50 AM

As I understand it, if you drive outside the area that's considered to be "Los Angeles", the rules change entirely. If you need non-urban environments, that could be a workable solution, although I don't know the specifics of the rules or where they apply.

 

P


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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 02:35 AM

I think it's a county-based thing, but don't quote me on that. I'm new here. I know up in the national forests you also need some permitting.

Same with beaches. I haven't found any super quiet ones yet; but Newport Beach had some coves which were very pretty and I think is easier to permit for.

You will need insurance here just like anywhere else to pull a permit. It's highly recommended you have it anyway as then it opens you up to renting equipment ect.

If you really wanted beaches I'd go northernly -v- southernly; but I don't get down to the beach much from my Pasadena perch-- too much traffic for my tastes.

How likely you are to be shut down will depend a lot on how much of an impact you make. We did newport beach without a permit; but it was super run and gun and the whole film suffered as a result, rather substantially.


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#7 Vadim Joy

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 10:37 AM

Thanks for the info guys. 


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#8 Freya Black

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 05:54 AM

 

 

Thanks for the info, Adrian. I remember few months ago I went to UK and friend of mine was making a short film. Corporation of London (if I remember well) said he needs a public liability insurance that covers 2+ millions to film in the woods or any park in London. We called few companies to find out that insurance costs 500 and above, which is about $800. That's crazy! Eventually we shot everything without permits. 

 

I plan to shoot film here in LA next summer and really have no idea how to avoid permits. I think I'll go gorilla style. 

 

The corporation of London is a non democratic institution elected by large companies. It covers a part of London sometimes called "the square mile", so only a very small amount of London. I'm surprised to hear there are any woods in that area!

 

Here's some more about the corporation of London:

 

http://www.theguardi...n-city-medieval

 

Freya


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#9 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 12:10 PM

 

You will need insurance here just like anywhere else to pull a permit. It's highly recommended you have it anyway as then it opens you up to renting equipment ect.

 

I love you, Adrian, but you and I have butted heads on this issue. I find it most interesting that you pimp insurance for production but don't insure your own gear (like I have heard Brian Dzyak recommend doing). Not trying to flame you, buddy, but we haven't had a good head to head in awhile. ;)


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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 12:00 PM

I do insure my own gear, at least in my own house. When on a shoot it should fall under productions insurance, but I am not all too worried about that for smaller things like a C stand or a Par Can than I am when I pull out the SR3 ect. It all comes down,for me,to who, what, when, where, and how as to whether I'd get crotchety about being a loss payee or not.


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#11 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 12:04 PM

I do insure my own gear, at least in my own house. When on a shoot it should fall under productions insurance, 

So if you slip on a banana peel because you weren't paying attention, should production pay out worker's comp too? :D

 

I'm just teasing but I have worked with boneheads who make mistakes and then blame "working conditions."


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#12 Freya Black

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 12:12 PM

So if you slip on a banana peel because you weren't paying attention, should production pay out worker's comp too? :D

 

I'm just teasing but I have worked with boneheads who make mistakes and then blame "working conditions."

 

I'm sorry but if there are pointless banana peels laying about the set that aren't a part of the mise en scene then that is dangerous working conditions! ;)

 

In any case to get back to your point I think it's probably less important to have insurance for equipment.

 

Freya


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#13 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 01:19 PM

 

I'm sorry but if there are pointless banana peels laying about the set that aren't a part of the mise en scene then that is dangerous working conditions! ;)

 

In any case to get back to your point I think it's probably less important to have insurance for equipment.

 

Freya

You are savvy, Freya, I'll give you that. 

 

I have a personal policy of refusing to insure the gear of the operators. If it is their gear and they get to operate it then it is their problem. I do not know what the industry standard is on it but to me it is absurd. It is akin to a plumber coming in to fix my sink and then trying to get me to pay for it if he breaks a tool. Absolute nonsense.

 

Edit: One could argue that making the Producer (hate to say "production" because it makes it sound like the money isnt coming out of someones pocket, but some faceless entity) pay for camera rentals of an ops gear is like the Plumber asking you to pay for his service and the rental of his tools.


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#14 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 01:42 PM

Difference is you won't have a plumber trusting someone else on the crew who he may or may not have hired to rig his roto-rooter onto the side of a care with some of their kit.


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#15 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 01:46 PM

Difference is you won't have a plumber trusting someone else on the crew who he may or may not have hired to rig his roto-rooter onto the side of a care with some of their kit.

 

When it's your gear, you have a right to say "no." If they don't like it then they can insure it or piss off. The bracket of filmmaker that will ask you for deals isnt generally the branch that is going to be demanding and disrespectful of you when you are essentially doing them a favor.

 

I think that was a weak argument and has an "all or nothing " approach. Just because Douchey director A might say what you said doesnt mean every filmmaker should pay to insure your kit if they are only asking for dolly, tripod, and hand held shots. It isn't fair and may lose you work you could otherwise get.


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#16 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 01:51 PM

Sadly, that's not the case most of the time. But your point is taken. However, the thing with filming is there is basically zero situation where you are 100% certain your gear won't be damaged. You can be reasonably sure, maybe 90% sure, but it is a highly dangerous business for crew and kit almost all the time-- and unless you are supplying 100% of all the gear, you have 0% chance of being certain someone else's kit, or negligence won't damage your gear.

I respectfully, really 100%, suggest just stepping back and looking at the insanity which is a film shoot-- from putting lights over people's heads, to a camera on the top of a staircase, or filming in the desert with wind, and dust, or a bathroom scene with steam-- if we said no to everything which could break a this or that, we'd be stuck with rather boring and underlit scenes.


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#17 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 02:02 PM

Adrian, who is going to pay me when my stuff is damaged? If you are set worker A and you knock over my light and break it, should set worker A have to pay for it? Or should they get immunity because they are "working for me?" I am becoming more and more like Richard Boddington everyday in that I see how the crew wants to wank about this or that but they seldom want "skin in the game."

 

I once heard you say that no one has the right to have their film made. I agree but also feel that no worker should feel they are entitled to work with ridiculous demands and special consideration. I think you will find that the downsizing of the industry will begin to weed out people who have an unrealistic take on things. And money will determine that outlook.


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#18 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 02:09 PM

well if you had insurance, insurance would pay for it and depending upon your labor laws, and the circumstances, either you would, or the worker would (gross negligence). The thing is, a a producer you assume all risk, and all reward. Here in California, as far as I know, film employees are just that, employees, and as such unless there is gross negligence, production pays. I forget the exact code number for that, but i read up on it a few months back. check out their site: http://www.labor.ca.gov/


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#19 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 02:13 PM

That's what I thought you would say. I hope you never Produce anything because I am sure your attitude would change.

 

Edit: Thanks for quoting CA law to me since I've only lived here all my life. But I guess a PA migrant knows more :D


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#20 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 02:17 PM

Don't worry, I never would. If I did though, well I'd play by the rules and laws which are on the books at the time I do the gig.


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