Remote Helicopter Cam

by Grace

I am a college student doing an exchange in London. I have been filming a lot of what I've been up to, with consent forms and so forth. I have a remote controlled helicopter with a camera. I want to use it to shoot wide area and scenic shots.

Naturally, there will be people in the areas I am filming. Do you think I need to get all of their permissions before/after filming them? I am particularly worried about my Halloween shots...I have forms from individuals I spoke to, but not from the overhead crowd pans, saw it was impractical to try to get a consent form from everyone.

No one is easily identifiable, as it is shot from about 50ft up just to get a feel for the size and energy of the crowd, but several people are in outfits they probably wouldn't show their grandparents.

That said, I am vaguely worried that if I use this footage, I could open myself up for lawsuits or the like.

Comments for Remote Helicopter Cam

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Mar 17, 2011
"If in doubt, leave it out"
by: Webmaster

Hi Grace,

Thanks for your question. Wow, that is such a cool idea to use a remote controlled helicopter to shoot footage! You are smart to consider the legal issues. A couple of questions:

1) Is the party in a public location or private property? (If private property, you will need to get a signed release from the owner to shoot)

2) Are the people at the party your friends or a bunch of strangers? How large is the crowd? If it's a large crowd of strangers, and it's impractical to get permissions from all of them, seems to me it would be okay to go ahead and shoot the footage, but in editing, only use the shots where you can't notice anyone you don't have permissions from. If there are some wildly exotic people at the party that would stand-out in an aerial shot, you could specifically seek them out and let them know what you're doing and ask them if it's okay if they end up in one of the shots. If they say yes, ask them to sign a release. If they say no, you'll just need to "blur" them out if they end up in a shot you want to use.

Does that make sense?

Keep in mind that I am not a lawyer, so please take my advice as a guide. I've been shooting videos and documentaries for twenty years, so I am simply giving you my feedback based on my personal experience.

Good luck!

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