Filming interviews in the street - can you help?

4 replies [Last post]
Joined: Jun 21 2005

I need to film a series of interviews in the street with joe public for an information video.
I have not done this before and wondered what I will need and what are the pitfalls.
I will be working with an interviewer and possibly a sound operator.
After a successful interview I would have the interviewer ask the respondent to sign a waiver form giving their permission to use the material.
Do I need police permission and or a license from the local authority?
All hints and tips greatly appreciated.

Joined: Feb 28 2004

You do need permission, but sometimes if the final audience is not mainstream (i.e. no one with local knowledge is likely to spot it) people just go out and do it. Personally I wouldn't recommend this. Normally each council has a film/video unit (or manager) and these are the guys you need to get in touch with. They will ask you to fill out a questionnaire and provide a copy of your public liability insurance. Depending on what you have in mind they may require you to notify the police.

Just a word of warning do make sure you are fully insured (check also if you need 'employers liability', depending on who is employing who). God forbid that anything happens, but if it did it could quite literally bankrupt you. I speak from the perspective of having spent a whole other life in the insurance business.

Dave R Smith
Joined: May 10 2005

Hi Filmaker,
If it is normal joe public street (not entrance etc to some othe rpublic building or privately owned shopping centre complex), then best to get OK from local council.

Rules/consent varies from councils, some wish to encourage film crews (revenue) others are bureacratic pains. Common criteria is not to obstruct footpaths - including gawpers - and to have mobile gear - no cables across the area, dolly tracks etc (tripod is considered mobile). Written consent not required from some councils if rules re free moving non-obstruction are adhered to.
Public liability insurance obviously.

Pitfalls - leaving your support kit to hand where it won't get nicked.
Usual sound concerns in busy/traffic environment.

Joined: May 26 1999

As the others have said, insurance is vital... Public Liability, Employers Liability & Professional Indemnity are all needed in these circumstances, otherwise you are leaving yourself open to possible ruin due to todays compensation culture. Many areas have film commissions or town managers who give permission, they will vet you then issue a permit to allow you to film.

Get a good release/waiver form (copies on a clipboard) that can be easily signed at the interview time. Ensure it does not have too much jargon and small-print/clauses, so the signee can easily understand what they are signing... something too complicated or detailed wil simply make potential interviewees apprehensive.

Joined: Jun 21 2005

Thanks for all your input.