Filming Children

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John Roberts
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Filming Children

Post by John Roberts » Thu May 23, 2019 6:10 pm

Hi to everyone on the forum :D Sorry I couldn't make it down to BIAFF this year, unfortunately family health issues are taking priority.

Had I made it down, I would've liked to have discussed the following with the knowledgeable filmmakers of the IAC and beyond:

As part of an ongoing documentary I would like to film some reactions on 'Trick or Treat' night at the end of October, but I realise that the majority of reactions will naturally come from children. The plan is not to have anyone around on the night, so explaining to parents what the filming might be used for is not going to be easy. As I see it there are three options:

A) Surreptitiously film reactions whilst ensuring no faces or other means of identification end up in the final edit
B) Leave a sign at the entrance explaining briefly that filming might take place etc
C) Don't film anything at all

Obviously C is the least desirable, whereas A is a little too devious for my liking, which leaves B. At one of the Whitby Goth Festivals the BBC were filming for a documentary, and outside one of the venues a sign was placed explaining that filming was taking place and anyone entering the venue will be assumed to have given their permission to be filmed. Obviously the BBC needs little explaining to the general public, however in my case most people who would visit on Trick or Treat night have no idea I make films. I wouldn't want a 'War and Peace' length sign either. Maybe a short explanatory leaflet visitors can take away with a contact email and phone number? I have no idea who will turn up (if anyone) and therefore cannot chat to or gain written permission prior to the event... :shock:

I'm sure there are a number of fellow filmmakers on the forum who have dealt with such a thorny issue, and any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated :)

Best wishes - John

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TimStannard
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Re: Filming Children

Post by TimStannard » Sat May 25, 2019 2:14 pm

Can of worms, John. If it's on your land and if you put up a clear sign I'm confident that you will be technically OK, but it only takes one parent to get shirty about it to ruin the whole evening for all the kids in the street and ruin your documentary scene.

I would bust a gut to get someone there to explain to parents and get their consent before you film them.

You missed option D: Stage it. Set it up with a few parents who are in the know. The kids don't have to know so you can get genuine reactions.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

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John Roberts
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Re: Filming Children

Post by John Roberts » Sat May 25, 2019 5:33 pm

Hi Tim, can of worms indeed and thanks for your thoughts!

I was thinking about the 'private land' issue, but it was pointed out to me by an ex-teacher that children could be seen to be being enticed onto the land, as opposed to wandering on uninvited as might be the case with CCTV footage of visitors. The original idea was to have an attraction that was 'self-service' and unsupervised, and although it might be possible to organise a staging, if the best option would be for me to be there then that would be what it takes.

Another variation could be just to film during the course of an hour, and inform parents that after a certain time, no filming would be done - that would then give all the kids the opportunity to be involved, even those who did not wish to be filmed, by returning later.

It would also mean I'd get a comfort break after an hour :lol: :lol: :lol:

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TimStannard
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Re: Filming Children

Post by TimStannard » Sun May 26, 2019 7:43 am

John Roberts wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 5:33 pm
it was pointed out to me by an ex-teacher that children could be seen to be being enticed onto the land,
I'm sure lawyers could have a field day arguing that one, assuming you're doing it on a day when it is expected children visit strangers' houses. But we don't want to be paying lawyers - we want to make a film!
John Roberts wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 5:33 pm
Another variation could be just to film during the course of an hour, and inform parents that after a certain time, no filming would be done - that would then give all the kids the opportunity to be involved, even those who did not wish to be filmed, by returning later.
I think this is an imaginitive solution and overcomes the need to put too much on the sign.

On the other side of the coin, there will be plenty of parents who are excited at the prospect of little johnny appearing in a documentary by an international award winning film maker so you might be able to use this to your advanatge. Presumably you don't wnat to put it on local Facebook groups as you won't won't to attract all sorts of weirdos (and camera theives) to you house.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

Michael Slowe
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Re: Filming Children

Post by Michael Slowe » Mon May 27, 2019 4:31 pm

John, I don't think that any of these solutions would satisfy those people who make it their business to be difficult. Legally you would be in the wrong in filming children without WRITTEN clearance from parents or guardians. I don't think that your Notice is nearly adequate. It is for adults, I've often seen such notices on entering premises and obviously this must be sufficient. I've had arguments with awkward people in the public streets when filming. We are perfectly entitled to do this and I have in my camera bag a notice from the Met Police to this effect, we can even film Police doing their job, although if asked to desist I would of course comply. Private Property is very different, even with adults.

As to your project; if you very often include children in you r films why not obtain the Special Clearance that can be obtained for dealing with children. With that I imagine you would have better cover but I still fancy you would need specific clearance in respect of every child.

As Tim so rightly indicates, this is a thorny problem, and it's getting more problematic year by year. I suggest that you should consult a Lawyer, or the Police, or Local Social Services or even a school Head for advice. Big Chief Dave might have some sage words to impart on this topic!

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Dave Watterson
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Re: Filming Children

Post by Dave Watterson » Mon May 27, 2019 9:32 pm

I don't have expertise in this area, but:
There is no law against photographing or filming children, provided the images are decent in nature. It is still wise to obtain permission, if possible from the parents. When you ask for permission to film children it can often be useful to keep the camera running when that permission is granted. You then have a record, in the event that your filming is challenged again later.
That comes from https://www.theiac.org.uk/resourcesnew/ ... ublic.html

Wikipeda says
There is no law prohibiting photographing children in public spaces.
The Guardian (23 June 2012)
Schools often invoke the Data Protection Act 1998, or the Children Act 2004 as the reason for photography bans. "But there is nothing in the Children Act that says 'Thou shalt not photograph children'," says Eleanor Coner, information officer at the Scottish Parent Teacher Council. The Information Commissioner's Office has taken to putting out bi-annual statements refuting the myth that the Data Protection Act prohibits photography.
But reality is that many adults act as if any picture of children is a danger to them. It may be nonsense - but you do not want to be mobbed by unhappy parents and spoil the evening for youngsters having fun.

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John Roberts
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Re: Filming Children

Post by John Roberts » Wed May 29, 2019 3:44 pm

Yikes - what a minefield! :shock:

You're right Tim, I don't want to be consulting lawyers or creating so much work for myself that I don't have any time or money left to make the film! I can see all sides to the issue, but common sense must prevail in the end. My (current) solution would be to film only for the first hour or so of the evening and to be on-hand to explain to anyone venturing onto the property, exactly what was happening and what it might be used for. I'll also have my 'business cards' and a more detailed leaflet available should anyone want more information. I will even offer, after the event, a link to a near-final edit for anyone who took part and who requests it via my email etc so that they can check they are happy with the 'final' result.

After the first hour, or earlier if I feel I have sufficient footage, I'll remove the cameras and therefore the need to worry about the issue.

I feel I can do no more than this, and I'm fairly certain it's a lot more than most might do. Sometimes ignorance is bliss! :?

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TimStannard
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Re: Filming Children

Post by TimStannard » Thu May 30, 2019 3:56 pm

Dave Watterson wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 9:32 pm
I don't have expertise in this area, but:
There is no law against photographing or filming children, provided the images are decent in nature. It is still wise to obtain permission, if possible from the parents. When you ask for permission to film children it can often be useful to keep the camera running when that permission is granted. You then have a record, in the event that your filming is challenged again later.
That comes from https://www.theiac.org.uk/resourcesnew/ ... ublic.html

Wikipeda says
There is no law prohibiting photographing children in public spaces.
The guidance is great as far as it goes but, as already recognised, it won't prevent some awkward person ruining the shoot and/or evening for the kids by kicking up a fuss. (Or even a policeman doing so - we've all seen the footage of misinformed policemen).

But - just to point out how lawyers might make their money and why John is right to be concerned - both guidelines are about filming children in public.***

1. It's argualbly irrelevant. John is not planning to film on private land, not public land.
2. They cover filming and not publication/broadcasting or even showing at BIAFF.

It would be really useful to have some proper legal advice as to what we can use the footage for. It may be (and I hope it is) assumed that filming = broadcasting (eg publishing on YouTube) but then the BBC nearly always blur out the faces of children unles that child is a "featured" character (in which case I assume they have signed appropriate release forms)

*** The IAC page does cover filming in private, but that is only with regard to permission of the land owner, not the subject.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

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John Roberts
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Re: Filming Children

Post by John Roberts » Mon Jun 03, 2019 1:20 pm

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! :shock:

At this rate I think it's best to play safe and not bother at all :(

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TimStannard
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Re: Filming Children

Post by TimStannard » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:08 pm

John, whilst I wouldn't encourage you to fall foul of the law or enrage an awkward parent, I'd failry certain you'll be fine if you go with your "filming for an hour" idea and have a leflet or whatever available explaining what it will be used for.

The spirit of the law is to protect children - I don't believe it's there to prevent a pervert obtaining images - it's not really going to have much effect. But there is good reason:

I'd strongly advise you to consider this - it's as much to do with GDPR as anything - unless you have explicit permission from the parents, do not allow anything in the film which may identify or help identify the children - their name, address, school uniform etc. As you may know I regulary film school productions, but the films are available to the cast & crew and parents thereof only with warnings that they may not be copied or broadcast (including and especial on social media).

Whilst these regulations may have limited effect against Mr Pervert (who could simply turn up outside any school with a camera on his phone), it can help where a protection order is in place and the child removed from dodgy relatives for their own safety. (We liaise with staff to ensure children in this category are not filled or filmed in such a way they cannot be identified).

So, it goes back to getting permission from parets, preferably on film or a signed document.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

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