Saturday, August 18, 2007

Rules governing shooting video online

For professional broadcasters these rules are quite stringent and can result in huge penalities by broadcasting regulatory bodies, but with video cameras and shooting becoming prevalent by the day what are the rules governing video shooting.

We'll call this "STREET RULES - our guide to a peaceful life filming"

This isn't a guide on shooting great video, but one on the ethics of filming, that should keep you as a video blogger etc nice and clean and morally outstanding. I'll go through these in some detail over the comiing weeks.

1. Risk Assessment and public liability - Know your surroundings and be careful. If you're filming a building site, the foreman WILL ask you to wear protective gear. Watch the bus and where you're placing your interviewee. "Phew that was a close shave". Don't fudge it. If a slate shoud fall on you without due care or you cause an accident it could make the difference in claims.

2. Are you insured for shooting on the streets/public places? Should you cause an accident are you indemnified? I have a policy with BECTU which is reassuring. Shooting the odd video may cause you to think, it's not needed, which is why look up the word "accident".

In Central London, in a bid to curb "loose shooters"; these aren't tourists but content providers, not neccesarily broadcasters, the authorities require you to have a permit. And if you don't under various rules including the terrorism act, they will ask you to stop. It's actually amazing you can't find a police wo/man when you want one, but take out a camera and "Doh, nooo!@".

3. Deception - Whoah that's a biggie, if you've been reading the British Press about cousin television.

Make it clear what the progs about and that ethically you don't doctor or alter the sense of the video to suit a different cause. This is all very well you may say in comedy progs. Yeah sometimes the victims see the funny side as well, but could cause all manner of defamatory proceedings if you get it heinously wrong.

If you're in the UK and you get a letter which is headed "Carter Ruck". Be afraid, be very afraid. In fact leave the country.

4 If you're filming for investigative purposes you may see fit to use deception as your way in. Ethically once you've got what you want give the body/figure a right to reply by letting them know what you have.

This could also help you as well as you'll likely glean new information, or have some corrected: "Oh that wasn't you in the car with my wife cus you have a cinema ticket saying you were at the movies!@" "OK". If you're subject disagreess then you'll pick up new video footage of that which you can dump into your film.

The indelible Roger Cook - TV's investigative reporters' reporter made a career of filming reight to replies and often getting thumped for it, despite being a big man.

Did you see the prog where he's in the car by his lonesome taking two alleged IRA men to task? Owwww you don't wanna get it wrong here.

5. The minefield area, labelled in the BBC handbook as "Access Agreements and Consent"
What are the terms of agreements you entered in making the film?

I once made a film inside Wormwood Scrub prisons on Lifers -Prison Inmate spending around 10 years plus. It was an interesting film of them talking about Art. They asked all the right questions e.g. where it would be shown? I was at a cable station at the time and said I'd try and get them a copy.

Well you know what daily broadcasting is like, so I lost track and a month later got a nice letter in the post saying:
"Since we never signed anything, we're pulling our consent for you ever showing the prog and will SUE if you do. We've consulted our lawyers".

I believed them and duely dispatched copies of the prog with T-Shirts and the matter cooled.

Oh and did I tell you the one when filming somone living on the street at a shelter for the Christmas and he mumbed in my ear: Do you like hospital food?

I'll come back to this, the intricate laws of libel, and how doc makers work around the law with the police when they don't have hard facts.

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