Filming in a Restaurant / Public Business

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    • #88938

      I’ve been wanting to get into promo videos for businesses and later this month I have a b-roll shoot scheduled with a local bar/restaurant. We plan to post a sign on the front door saying that we are filming and by entering you agree to be recorded for promotional material.
      Is this enough to hold up legally or do we have to get a release signed by every patron? What have you done in this situation?

      Thank you in advanced!

    • #213225

      Well, you already know the *best* protection is individual, signed releases. Since in our society anybody can sue anybody for any reason (though not necessarily win), any “what we would do” response here is no absolute guarantee to you.

      However, as a practical matter, lots of footage is shot after posting clear, conspicuous signage at entrances to public places. And that includes organizations like NBC, which has signs posted at the entrances to its studios in Burbank.

      Here’s one example of a publicly posted consent and release notice:

      Crowd Notice Consent and Release

      Keep in mind that the degree of “fair use” protection afforded incidental footage used for informational purposes is greater than that of footage used for advertising. Particularly where implied endorsement could be construed, or someone might find the association objectionable, or there is an issue over “name and likeness.”

      So, what to do? Prominent signage at all entrances, definitely. And when possible – especially for advertising/promo footage – signed releases (including employees) is a very good idea. It’s a hassle, sure. But it’s the best assurance you can get.

      Or, you could chance it and forego the individual releases. Lots of people would. I might even do that. But realize you would be choosing convenience over risk. (Obligatory “I am not a lawyer…”)

    • #213229

      In addition to gcarpenter’s suggestions, which are great, you might have the restaurant provide a section for seating people who absolutely do not want to be video taped, somewhere you’re sure you can shoot around. This will make the owner happy, insuring that camera shy people aren’t turned away by your shooting.

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