Is it okay to shoot video everywhere?

So today we are going to talk about a very interesting topic that concerns most (if not all) video professionals and amateurs out there. Many times, you can not limit yourself to a studio: either because you don’t have a good enough studio or want something from the outdoors. So when you are trying say to shoot a short film that you are planning to show for a project of yours, or a company promotion and you need that picture that includes people passing by, or the tree’s branches moving around because of the wind etc, many times you are actually not allowed to film.

First and foremost, you are not allowed to film in public without a permit. So even when the Hollywood crews go out in public to do their stunts, they first need to get special filming permits. Doing that, will save you from many fines and headaches. Also, certain public places may not allow cameras and such video technology entering the building. For instance, you can’t go into a school and start filming students and teachers: it’s illegal. The good thing is, most of these make sense, and you ain’t going to find yourself in the middle of a problem saying “I didn’t know.”

So use your brain and don’t film things or people you shouldn’t be. On the other hand though, there are some grey spots. Now, I know how all of you are looking for that exclusive footage to record. Like a building a few seconds it explodes etc. So there you need to be a little bit sneaky. I mean, you can still get in trouble, but there are a lot more ways you can avoid it than the common – known by all – illegal filming spots. If you aren’t sure about a specific area in the US, shoot me a message.

Because today you don’t need to spend money on high tech camera equipment and everyone pretty much owns a smartphone or some device with a camera attached to it, it gets a little bit more complicated. For example: someone is riding his bicycle down the street and you see that he trips and falls. Are you allowed to film that? I mean you ain’t doing any harm to anyone (you should of helped him avoid the fall, but that’s a different story.) So are you allowed to film a funny incident like that? Well…yes and no. If it captured and described by the people as an exposure of identity and getting that person on the Internet in many different places, then you may have a problem. But then again, if you use the blur trick and cover that guy’s eyes you are good to go. What about a street artist that is performing some cool tricks and you want to show your children once you get home. In that case I would say: look at what everyone else is doing. I mean frankly, most of the times people pull out their cameras (on smart phones) anyway. So if you see other people filming, you know it is probably okay for you to film. But if you see that everyone is strict with the whole concept of it and doesn’t want to draw any attention on them, then I would suggest you put that smartphone back in your pocket. I mean one extra funny trick ain’t going to save you and your children from a lack of happy times. So just stick to the general rule and you should be fine.

Now, assuming that something happens and you need to explain the situation to government officials who brought you in to talk to you about it, you will need to state your case wisely. You basically want to explain what was happening and the reason you did what you did. If you are an amateur then you probably don’t have something to worry about. Just make sure you mention it. If you are a professional then again, that doesn’t mean there is an issue 100% but there is a good chance that they will pick on you and try and stick your back to the wall. For some reason, when it comes to monetizing things, people get sensitive and annoying. If you think you need some legal assistance on the issue, make sure you speak with your attorney also. It would be a shame to get some kind of bad legal result, because you considered this problem to not be so important. So make sure that you treat it with the respect it requires. Depending on which state you are in, and how annoying and bureaucratic your law enforcement is, you will have a completely different treatment. For example, I’m pretty sure you will be treated like a dog in California. But say Texas, they will probably ask you to join you on the video you are preparing. Two different worlds and many different types of people. So make sure you don’t irritate anyone,  and you make the most of your situation.

Hopefully you found some valuable advice here and you won’t find your tail in prison. When you feel bored, come visit my blog again.