Jump to content


Photo

Have you ever feared that Police would mistake your camera for a gun?


  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 Samuel Berger

Samuel Berger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 663 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Seattle

Posted 07 December 2017 - 12:08 AM

I'm serious. It has occurred to me that most people have no idea what my Eclair NPR is. When I lived in L.A. there was a case of a woman calling the cops when she mistook a rack on his car for an "assault rifle". Now it has come to this.
 
News Photographer Shot by Cop Who Mistook Camera and Tripod for Gun
 
Oh and then there's this great little story:
 
Indiana police shoot at actor playing 'bank robber' in movie

Over here in damp, wet, sunless Seattle, film permits are dirt cheap ($25) and prevent that second scenario. What really costs money is the obligatory retired cop at $70 an hour, 8 hour minimum, sitting around while you film. But if your scenes contain weapons of any kind, that on-set cop is mandatory.
  • 0

#2 Landon D. Parks

Landon D. Parks
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1735 posts
  • Producer
  • Cincinnati, Ohio

Posted 07 December 2017 - 01:25 AM

Even with permits, you should ALWAYS call the non-emergency phone number of the local PD and the Sheriffs office, alerting them to any use of fake weaponry and when you plan to use it. Here in Cincinnati, many of the towns (including city proper) does not require any permits at all - in which case it's doubly important to make your intent to use fake weapons known. Likewise, anytime you are using pyro or fire, you need to alert the fire departments to such usage, even if permits are not required. Ideally, you'd even alert these places if you don't have weapons in your production - just so they know you're going to be there.

Making sure these places know about this will usually prevent any issues in the first place. As for a cop randomly shooting me, not really.

 

PS) The Eclair really does look like a gun.... lol. My fully-rigged GH4 is plainly a camera, given the monitor, follow focus and matte box hanging off of it.


Edited by Landon D. Parks, 07 December 2017 - 01:34 AM.

  • 0

#3 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5070 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 07 December 2017 - 03:54 AM

Small lightweight tripods are more likely to be mistaken for a gun, compared to say a Sachtler video 18.

 

This may come down to the police expectations when they arrive on a scene, although there does seem to be cases of under trained police officers.

 

I know of one case where a man painting a mural in a nationalist/republican area of Belfast was killed because the police man thought the paintbrush in his hand was a gun


  • 0

#4 aapo lettinen

aapo lettinen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1022 posts
  • Other
  • Finland

Posted 07 December 2017 - 06:44 AM

idiots + guns is never a good combination...more training for the police would be needed  :unsure:  

 

the Finnish police officers have different training than the US ones + generally less handguns around (carrying one 24/7 for self defence purposes needs special permits which are very difficult to get, normally a gun licence is granted only for either hunting purposes or shooting practicing or collecting purposes) so their first assumption is not that an unknown object is a gun when they first see it. if you would attack them aggressively with a tripod they might taze you however if talking would not help  :rolleyes:

 

The biggest risk here would probably be that someone accidentally drives over you when you are shooting on the street and the police thinks that the accident was your fault so you would need to pay for the car repair in addition with your medical expences, very annoying  :o

 

there is also always lots of people who think that everything which looks like "CHEMICALS!!" is primarily meant for making bombs (the normal film developing chemicals for example) and one always needs to explain them what stuff they are and how it is NOT possible to make high explosives from Vitamin C or Hydroquinone or Sodium Carbonate  :blink:

so an suspicious looking tripod would be very safe to carry here without risk of being shot accidentally but if you would publicly carry an empty chemical bottle looking thing or an erlenmeyer bottle or other lab stuff someone would definitely be interested and you would soon have all kinds of security personnel around you asking questions  :lol:


  • 1

#5 Chris Steel

Chris Steel
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 21 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • London

Posted 08 December 2017 - 12:53 PM

I've heard that big Shoulder supported cameras are "items of special interest" on the London Underground as they might be disguised weapons / explosives.

 

I occasionally have to travel with a built camera on the Underground and this is a concern but not a major one. UK armed police are fairly good at reading situations and having talked with a few are well aware of what an actual camera looks like.

 

What's more of a concern is getting a fine for filming without a permit and not being able to get home because TFL has banned me or something. Needless to say, I advise productions not to travel Cinema cameras on the Underground without a TFL escort. It's just asking for trouble.


  • 0

#6 Mark Dunn

Mark Dunn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2431 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 08 December 2017 - 01:00 PM

You can't be summarily banned from travelling- you might be arrested if you really kicked off but then it would be the BTP stopping you from travelling, not TfL.

  • 0

#7 Samuel Berger

Samuel Berger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 663 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Seattle

Posted 08 December 2017 - 01:05 PM

Well over here, crying can be mistaken for a gun.

 


  • 0

#8 Chris Steel

Chris Steel
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 21 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • London

Posted 08 December 2017 - 01:53 PM

 

You can't be summarily banned from travelling- you might be arrested if you really kicked off but then it would be the BTP stopping you from travelling, not TfL.

 

Good to know.

I knew TFL could cancel your ticket for breaking a bylaw then promptly arrest you for tress-pass. Though I have no idea how often that actually happens.


  • 0

#9 Mark Dunn

Mark Dunn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2431 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 08 December 2017 - 02:03 PM

I think you're mistaken about cancelling tickets. There's nothing about it in the byelaws. They don't need to do it, anyway. You wouldn't be trespassing unless you refused to leave the station, and you can't be arrested for simple trespass as it's not a criminal offence in England. Anyway TfL can't arrest you for anything, it would be done by a constable.


  • 0


Ritter Battery

Wooden Camera

Paralinx LLC

Opal

CineLab

Technodolly

Visual Products

FJS International, LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

rebotnix Technologies

The Slider

Aerial Filmworks

Metropolis Post

Tai Audio

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

Abel Cine

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

Glidecam

Abel Cine

Ritter Battery

Rig Wheels Passport

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

rebotnix Technologies

FJS International, LLC

Wooden Camera

Visual Products

Metropolis Post

Opal

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineTape

The Slider

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio

Technodolly