How can I Legally Videotape the Happiest Place on Earth?
I have a question for your legal experts. I am producing a documentary that is essentially a video tour of my favorite theme park. I've included clips of the rides, shows, and other attractions. I plan to market the video as a sort of "Unofficial Guide" to the park. I won't include any audio from the shows and will avoid using any copyrighted logos in the video. Is this enough to avoid running into legal issues with the park management?
It all depends on the way you plan to use the video, Ron. See the response from our legal expert, Mark Levy.
"Ron Burtz left out what could be an important factoid: his purpose for making the video. Does he intend to sell it, broadcast it on a TV station or cable TV, or use it to advertise some product? If the answer to any part of that question about commercial use is "yes," Ron should ask for written permission of the theme park's management.
"On the other hand, if Ron intends to make a movie only for his personal use, to show family and friends at no charge, he need not ask permission, since the park is accessible to the public and many people take cameras to theme parks.
"Be aware, however, that regardless of the purpose of the movie, Ron cannot invade people's privacy. If he lets the camera linger on a member of the public for more than 2 or 3 seconds and, especially, if that person is doing something that subjects him or her to ridicule, Ron shouldn't use that shot without a photo release from the subject, or he risks being sued for invasion of privacy."
Mark Levy, Attorney at Law
Editor's Note: Many readers have legal questions that can't be answered in the pages of our magazine, but we invite you to go to our forums to inquire from our vast Videomaker Community as to how they learned the ropes to staying within the law or how they had to work around some obstacles. As always, it's best to seek professional legal help in fair use and copyright issues, to help you sleep at night and to keep your video from a forced retirement on the closet shelf. We've all been there.
Dymo Printer Questions
I read your article about the DYMO DiscPainter (Test Bench, May 2008 issue). Will it print on any brand of DVD or only on DYMO discs specially made for it? Approximately how many discs can be printed with one ink cartridge? What is the typical cost of replacing an ink cartridge and is it normally available at most printer supply stores? Has the software installation problem you mentioned in the article been addressed by DYMO and corrected?
Avid Reader of Videomaker
We received a few letters regarding the DYMO printer, all asking similar questions, and we passed them on to Jeff Neu, our PR rep for the DYMO company. He says the DYMO will print on inkjet-printable discs, and you can print about 100 discs per cartridge, depending on the design and settings used. Replacement cartridges run $40 and are sold wherever the printer is available, as well as on the DYMO site at dymo.com and other online retailers like amazon.com, cdw.com and tigerdirect.com. You can also purchase the printer and cartridges at retailers such as Fry's Electronics, B&H and J&R.
Regarding your other query, DYMO tells us that the installation problems that the review mentions have been addressed and corrected.
YouTube vs. Video Mail
I read with interest the YouTube Step by Step article in the April 2008 Basic Training column. The part stating everyone can see your video is true enough and for some can be a bummer. But there is an alternative, VIDEO MAIL!! My Internet Service Provider, Juno, provides Video Mail free of charge. I can send my videos to anyone in my address book just like e-mail, and no one but those addressed can see it. A little research shows that most ISPs offer similar services, or say they do. Video Mail can be used three ways:
- With a web cam you can record right at your computer - not my favorite but can be used to enhance or instead of e-mail.
- Upload a video. There are restrictions on size. Juno allows me ten minutes; other Video Mail may not be so limited.
- Real time Video Chat. I've never been able to coordinate a time for this, because I live in Hawaii and my families are on the Mainland and in Japan.
There is at least one Video Mail site that is free, www.freegabmail.com, that allows recording from web cam and send to anyone. At this time, Free Gab Mail does not allow upload of video. Both Juno and Free Gab Mail allow anyone to see the video and reply to yours via web cam or just audio. Both are easy to use and allow anyone to video mail. I hope that a future article will talk about Video Mail.
Pearl City, HI
The Wedding Biz
Regarding the wedding article in the June 2008 issue of Videomaker . I felt it was a good article, as I shoot wed videos myself. Probably the most important point you missed, though, is, if you can get an invite to the wedding rehearsal, go. From that, you can figure out camera placement, audio problems, etc. I learned this from a wedding where the invite was available, but I didn't use it. After setup, the groomsmen lined up in front of my camera shot, and moving the tripod and cables at that moment was not fun, especially during a live ceremony.
Not only that, talk to the presiding person who is performing the wedding to get the rules of that church. If it's at a hall, talk to the manager about the rules of engagement... i.e., lighting, sound, etc. Some of the halls I have dealt with are somewhat, ahem... well, I can't use the language I want to, but, hard to work with.
Thanks Herb, it's always a good idea to shoot the rehearsal if you can, even if you've shot at that location a number of times. Nowadays with the bride and groom wanting to personalize parts of the ceremony, they might come up with a different game plan than that which you've always depended on. And every serious wedding videographer should talk with the person in charge of the locale, and not just trust that the person who hired them knows the clearance rules. This also lets the hall director know you respect his business as well. You may need his assistance at a later date and it's always good to make a good impression the first time.
Listening to the Young Voices
Hello Mr. York, I was happy that you wrote about the future of video production in your Viewfinder column in the June issue, and I thought I would share a few of my own ideas. I believe that in the near future, we will begin to use panoramic, OLED, multi-touch screens (flat, curved screens, intended to fill your field of view,) for editing and other computer tasks.
Someday, in the distant future, I think that all we will have to do is create a story and characters, then sit back and wait as the computer uses photo-realistic 3D animation and sets of movie and music creation rules to create our film. I don't think this is that far away - all we need is powerful computers (probably Quantum computers), powerful software and enough rules, written by experts, telling the computer how to create a good film. With all the coming automation, I fear that someday, the only jobs left for us content creators will be writing the software that will create the films.
I am only 14 years old, but I have been interested in content creation ever since my father allowed me to use his tape recorder many years ago. I am now doing video directing/editing, music creation, 3D animation, image editing and compositing (it's not impossible). I am also the owner and founder of a small media production startup, known as HE (Hasbrouck Entertainment). Thank you for such a great magazine; I find it very helpful.
I am dumbfounded at your approach to your Subscriber Alert that lists a couple of dozen companies that you tell me that I, as a subscriber to your magazine, should contact you "immediately" if they contact me about renewing my membership. You do not list an email address that I can let you know what is happening. Instead, it is a PO box. Great, I write a note immediately and spend 42 cents or whatever the cost of a stamp is, and you get it five days later. So much for immediate.
If this is such a problem that you put this notice in almost every issue, you should rethink the preferred method of immediate communication. I know you guys are better than this. Take a look at page 61 on the June issue and see if this is how you want to handle these situations.
Thank you, Michael, for pointing this out. Our customer service email is posted elsewhere in our magazine, but not on that subscriber alert. We are going to add the email to that alert beginning with this issue. For your future reference, here it is: email@example.com.
Yes, indeed, we DO print that ad in every issue because there are hundreds of people getting scammed every year from false agencies. We're doing everything we can to get the word out to our readers to trust our company and our advertisers. We wish our readers to contact us directly and not to send money to agencies trying to get your money.
So many people have so many subscriptions to so many different magazines that they often don't realize when their subscriptions are up or not and are easy prey to these rather aggressive advertisers. Especially when they offer a discount that's less than what we sell our subscriptions for. Unlike many other publication companies, we are not on lists of multiple packages. If you see us there, assume that the company is out to get your money without providing you the service you paid for. We can't refund money that was sent to another agency nor can we give "free" subscriptions to people who say they've paid and have been scammed. Their only recourse is to aggressively follow through and contact the agency they made the purchase from and perhaps contact a consumer rights group to help.
We are doing what we can to find them out, and we do follow through on our own to put these companies out of business, but, besides those we listed on our Customer Alert ad, there may be many others out there that we don't know about. They change their names and resurface often, and we can only ask our subscribers to help by providing us the names and circumstances when a scam does happen.
While we are at it, we should add that we also screen our advertisers, both in the magazine and on the web, so that our readers can trust what they read anywhere within our company.
Thank you for your comments. We hope all of our readers follow the alert.