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After Public Outrage, NYC To Lighten Up on Shooting Permits for Filmmakers

After Public Outrage, NYC To Lighten Up on Shooting Permits for Filmmakers

After the outcry over NYC’s draconian proposal on film permits for filmmaker and photographers this past August, the city has relented and drawn up a new set of proposed rules that seem entirely reasonable (and even generous) to this DIY filmmaker:

From the New York Times:

The rules, to be released on Tuesday for public comment, would generally allow people using hand-held equipment, including tripods, to shoot for any length of time on sidewalks and in parks as long as they leave sufficient room for pedestrians.

The new rules, which officials said reflect longstanding practice by the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting, are meant to distinguish between photographers and filmmakers who generally do not create congestion or unsafe conditions and those from major television, film and print productions that generally do. But instead of basing permit requirements on the number of people and the length of time involved in the shoot, the new proposal focuses on the level of sidewalk obstruction.

The proposal would allow photographers and filmmakers who are not using vehicles or equipment like dolly tracks, lights and cables to proceed without permits on public property as long as they stay out of traffic and their activities do not prevent public use. The rules would also allow photographers and filmmakers to commandeer a portion of a public walkway without a permit, as long as they leave open at least half of its width, or eight feet, whichever is greater.

Under the new proposal for city streets, the use of obtrusive equipment is what “triggers a permit,” said Mr. Dunn of the civil liberties union. Productions that block traffic or leave less than eight feet of open walkway would require permits and a minimum of $1 million in insurance, as would those using vehicles and equipment that is not hand-held. Officials can waive the insurance requirement if an applicant can show that it would create a financial hardship.

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