Permissions for filming – what you need to know

So in today’s world of YouTube, filming anything anywhere is fair game right? We’ll actually no….

Setting up your camera can result in a wide variety of audience reactions, ranging from wannabes desperate to be get their 15 seconds of fame, to people who instantly run a mile when they see a camera.

Recording images and sounds can come with a whole set of complex rules covering permissions for filming. With a little commonsense though, hopefully any potential issues can be averted.

A few general guidelines include:

Locations – some locations will require permission to be granted, often in advance. This will be very likely for filming on private land, and regardless of the location it’s a courtesy to ask for permission anyway. In some situations it may be necessary to sign in / sign out, and to discuss your plans when you arrive before you get the camera out.

People – reactions and attitudes to cameras vary, and again it’s common sense and a courtesy to ask permission where possible. Filming in public places such as a street scene or public event should not normally cause issues. However using a suitable media consent form for anyone appearing prominently in the film, particularly someone named / interviewed, is definitely recommended to avoid possible issues later.

Particular care is needed when seeking to film with children or vulnerable people, ensuring appropriate permissions (usually in writing) are granted from parents, schools etc. before you get started.

Aside from undercover investigative journalism, whatever the situation it’s generally never a good idea to use clandestine methods such as hidden cameras or microphones!

Media such as music, logos, graphics, and other imagery are generally all owned by somebody, so generally permission will also be needed.

Capturing wild track audio of a non-professional band (for example street entertainment) playing in a public place may well be permissible, but again it’s a courtesy to ask permission and credit the players by name in your video project.

Ultimately every situation is different and it’s best to always check whenever possible, of course still without missing capturing that crucial shot!