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Thread: Need advice on Location Release forms

  1. #1

    Default Need advice on Location Release forms

    I am working on a 1 minute film project that is to be created using stills photographs. I have to submit talent and location release forms with the final film and I understand the use of location release forms for shooting on private property. For me it gets a bit hazy around the need for release forms when filming outside. The issue is I want to take a photograph in a city centre street that will show an office entrance door (no people in shot). I do not plan to photograph any distinguishing company logos that would identify businesses using the building. Would I still need to get permission to photograph the building? I would take the picture anyway but guerilla shooting/filming is not allowed on the course I am doing.

  2. #2


    I'm not so hot at location releases either, but there are issues with putting a tripod down anywhere that might be obstructive, such as main pedestrian footpaths, if you have to cause people to walk out into the road that can be an issue. If that particular door is a fire exit and you intend to block it if only for a brief period, that could also be an issue.
    and there are a number of buildings you shouldn't go near with a camera, such as airports and train stations as its a national security hazard.

    The best thing to do though, is to talk to your course leader, you won't be the only student who has filmed in your city centre and they will have a better knowledge of the area you intend to film as well as relevant paperwork and possibly contacts with the local council regarding filming.
    Ask the building wether they would mind, in these situations it is Always best to ask, be polite and keep people on your side, be honest and explain your a student, if they seem unsure, offer to film at a convenient time - day break before office workers are due to arrive is a good time and local councils usually prefer those hours too as the streets are emptier and there are less hazards.

    Alternatively, does it have to be that particular door? perhaps you know someone who runs a business or has a job somewhere quieter that would give you permission and will allow you to avoid shooting in the middle of a city centre.
    Go on a door hunt, you might have a friend with a very similar back/front door you can dress a little or frame tightly.
    Even if that city centre door is stuck in your head as 'the one', pull back and think about the viewer, are they going to know? will it really impact the overall story if its a different door?
    Film and drama switch entrances all the time

  3. #3


    So long as you are not on private property and you are not causing an obstruction and you are in the UK you can take photos without it being a problem. It is ok to put it in your video without a release form so long as there isn't a company logo in it. There can be local bylaws but these are few and far between. To be honest if you are just taking a photo of a door just do it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    The bottom line is that (in the UK) the self-made image of a building (and many other objects) is not a violation of copyright but other aspects can be. The most famous example being the London Eye. You can film and photograph the wheel to your heart's content during the day but the light show at night is copyrighted. logos and images on the building can be copyrighted and so the visible name of the building and any logos on it would be subject to copyright law.

    There are aspects about using a building's image for advertising or commercial gain but your case doesn't seem to fall in that category. I suspect that the course tutor wants to see that you're aware of the issues regarding using images and wants to see that you can deal with it.

    Edit. There is also the provider that the building itself does not become part of the subject. So someone walking past the London eye is not a copyright issue but someone seen to get onto the London Eye (in the context of a non-factual or advertising production) would be. In the same way a shot of the London Eye followed by a studio shot inferring that the actors were inside the actual Eye would require a release.

    Bear in mind that none of these are criminal offences and nobody can stop you filming or photographing in a public place but they can take civil action to prevent you using the image. Highly unlikely but, in a teaching scenario this is probably what the tutor wants to get across.
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 12-15-2011 at 11:01 AM.

  5. #5


    Thanks for the advice.

    Rembrandt Rob - you are correct when you say that my tutor wants us to be aware of copyright issues and learning how to deal with it as we would need to do in the industry. He is also reluctant to give advice as he wants us to use our initiative. I am in the process of contacting Southwark Film Office to get their advice and to discuss the use of location release forms.

  6. Default

    Actually yes you do need permission - that is if you are going by the numbers and I guess that is the point of the exercise. If the property is privately owned you have to ask, simple as that. Of course in reality you can do what ever you like and get away with it. The point of the exercise is all about liabilty and insurance, if their is any outsatanding liability, as, in therory can the owner of the building sue the movie, did the person that walked in shot sign a realease form can they technically sue, therefore meaning possibly an expensive reshoot with the money coming from where exactly?
    You can easlily judge the scale and expectation of a film project by seeing how seriously those involved take the actual real business of making a film. If everything is water tight every i dotted evert t crossed then the producers expect the film to be a sucsess. That doesn't mean that you can't cut corners - by say using a dolly on a flat bed truck rather than closing down the pavement - The real lesson is not oh wow look at the great gerilla shot I got. It is about owning the shot and selling the shot, leagally.
    If we shoot an indie or a wedding video, nobody gives a monkey's what we get in shot. Logo's, people building, public, private no problems. The minute there is a budget of sorts there is a 5 to 10 person producing squad, with clipboards and forms and 3 Blackberry's each, nothing slips everything is nailed. Same as a reality show, every person has signed a release form, every location has a health and safty and a location/fixer manger. If you shoot a promo or music video the whole world seems only to be made of phone calls and forms.

    Anyway I hope that helps a bit

    wedding video London

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