I had an idea that we would branch out into filming kids parties. Basically something along the lines of siting a kid down at the party and asking them questions like 'what is your favourite toy' etc etc
Would then be edited into a flashy graphic end product and once the structure if right, very little post production would need to be done.
But what are the legalities of filming kids? The parents should always be present of course.
I am in the UK and mentioned it to another business owner who seemed to think there is 'no law' as such that you need to adhere to.
In the US, especially in California there are strict child labor laws. You need to look at your local laws or consult an attorney, not a friend or another business owner.
In California if I want to bring a child on set I have to have a studio teacher involved plus other red tape, unless it is on a non-school day and no more than once per year per child, and the shoot is limited to 4 hours. It also depends on what you are doing with it. If it's just home video, no one will care. If you're making something for mass distribution, it gets very strict here.
Thanks for your reply.
It's just going to be for the parents use in whatever way they see fit. But we will keep a master copy.
I don't think there is a law requiring permission, but then again I am still not clear as to whether I need (legally) signed permission to film anyone...
If I were doing video for their parents, I would not get any permission. I would also use this for my demo reel if I saw fit. In fact I do this; one of my clients is a ballet dance company and twice a year they want us to produce DVDs for their performances. The students are 5 through college age.
However if I were to take footage of one of those girls and use it in a broadcast commercial, a widely spread commercial web video, or a film, then I would be exposing myself to risk if I didn't have the proper paperwork and someone had it in mind to dig for something.
There was a court case about this kin dof thing, where Virgin Mobile got sued for lifting an open source photo of a young lady and using it in a campaign that played around with the word play on the "virgin" theme. I don't recall all of it but I do think I remember there was an expensive settlement paid out.
Frankly, I don't see your interview idea working out as profitable, for a couple of reasons. One is, kids below a cetain age are very hard to interview, even if you're good at that kind of thing. You will take longer than you expect to shoot it and edit something good.
Another is that only more well-off people are going to hire a cameraman to do this kind of thing and it adds a wierd vibe to a party to bring in an outsider as a paparazzo for this kind of thing.
Third, in this safety-crazy era, especially over in Britain which seems to be in a nanny-state tizzy if you only go by the papers, you will be considered some kind of pervert with an agenda, until you prove otherwise, just for suggesting the idea.
I think maybe the better way to approach this idea is to teach the parents of these kids the skills to do the interviewing themselves, and you just leverage the editing jobs out of it. The parents already have the necessary access and trust established, and can be more spontaneous with the time spent than you can.
Getting clean enough audio is the biggest technical challenge; you might want to market a kit of tools specific to this kind of work that will appeal to young dads and moms who are really fascinated with their first kid and want to document every waking moment.
Yeah, your probably right. Just trying to think up a quick and easy weekend and evening money maker using my equipment. EX1 and all the kit. Don't really want to get into weddings...too stressful.
Corporate stuff I do is going very well, but very time consuming. I thought the kids party idea would be a quick shoot and hardly any editing as they probably want to see the vid with warts and all (probably the ONLY video where the client wants this :)
Sorry to bring you down like that, let me make it up to you and suggest something at the other end of the scale that is becoming ever more important, and possibly lucrative.
Interview old people.
Document living oral history from people that lived it. These folks have the time and patience to sit and yap all day if you want to. And you'll find more and more families that see a value in recording a bunch of their family history this way to preserve their heritage. And there isn't much time left to get this info, so there is some urgency.
We do this kind of stuff locally as part of a government preservation project, and it is fascinating to hear the WW II vets tell their stories. We interviewed a guy that made his full tour in B-17's... his first day on the job in europe he was piloting a B-17 into Schwinefurt. Age 19 and a half. Said he could walk home on the flak, it was so thick. One third of his group came home. Talked to a gal who shipped into Pearl Harbor as a nurse, Dec. 5th. 1941. Telephone lineman on Guadalcanal, stringing phone wires thru the tops of trees, with Japanese patrols right below. A recently deceased Polish Intelligence officer, who was a POW of both the Germans and the Soviets and escaped from both. Twice. The guy who fought in Bastogne and they created a special helmet-shaped beer mug to remember him by, as he was using his helmet to ferry sips of beer to his wounded brothers in the hospital.
We also interviewed farmers who's families have held the same land for a century or better. Fascinating information about the changing nature of agriculture and family life, that I hope someone will some day use for a book or a documentary.
Anyhow, I think you could make a weekend job of this sort of thing. Way easier than kid's parties, less chasing around and noise, for one thing. You roll into the home on a Saturday morning, set up the lights and mic, put the kettle on, and go to it for two, four, six hours, as long as they want to go. To do this right, you should have pre-interviewed them a little bit and established a list of dates and occasions to cover, with some leading questions, so as to stay more or less on topic and on time and not wander too far afield (unless you stumble on a great bit that was unexpected). Then burn DVD's and backup copies they and the family can keep forever. Charge an extra bit to edit it down into a greatest hits montage thing. Scan and add stills from their photo albums.
In europe it seems everybody has some kind of connection to aristocracy, so this could be a high-dollar operation... but it is just as fun and useful for everyday folks to have, as a way for the older generation to ensure its wisdom is passed on to the next generation, in a way that's accesible and will be appreciated.
It's ok. I'd rather someone was honest :)
I thought of exactly they idea before. Someone is doing it in Cambridge, but there work is awful and should not see the light of day. I cannot believe she actually charged people.
I even went to a bowls club and interviewed lots of older people. They loved the idea, but were put off by the price. I was pitching at around £700-£1,500 Inc old video, pictures, fully designed DVD and cover in a wooden case with an old photo engraved on the front.
But for many it was too expensive, so I never pursued it. The person doing it in the next town said it was too time consuming, but I'm not convinced she was planning it out properly.
I was thinking of picking a few valued memories, get some images/footage to go with it and then end up with a product that is no longer then 20 mins.
Maybe I should look into it again.
Simplify. You don't need so much razzle-dazzle, just get the stories down. Make a templated main title that's common to every recording, don't edit unless they want to do an enhanced version. You can record to a DVD recorder and make nearly instant dubs cheaply.
You can offer terms for payment in installments. Or, this could be a club project using pooled funds, or something worked on thru a local historical society or library, or something done at a nursing home, and your end comes out of the monthly billing from the rest home. Point is, you can think of various schemes for how to structure the payments to make them affordable. And if you structure how you do it to keep the costs low, it can still be both personally satisfying and modestly profitable. Or you can just work the rich people, add all the production value you want on the high end stuff. There are plenty of them out there if you spend some effort to network and make the right contacts.
Really, like any such enterprise, it comes down to you and how hard you want to work at it.
Good advice. Thank you. Although I have many high end corporate vids now on my site, the hardest thing is convincing people to go ahead without a sample,
However, if I get my 'sales pitch' right, I'm sure they will buy into it.
So were you thinking more like £300-£400 for an almost straight cut? Can't see it would be too difficult to layer some images in there for a bit of added effect.
The nature of oral history recording is generally not to mess with the narrative and leave it as pure as possible, not to "tart it up" with montages and such, except a bare minimum if it helps identify a place or object being talked about. You're creating a "first original source document" with this recording, and hopefully trying to make it as impartial and un-directed as possible. This lets future generations of viewers and users draw their own fair conclusions without being overtly influenced by editorial decisions. This is less about creating artificial drama, and more about simple straight-forward fact-gathering. The drama you get out of THAT can be just as powerful as a "constructed" narrative. As in my earlier example of the WW II vet stories.
What you do to make it visually easier to follow. is to carefully change camera angles in between the questions, or, in our case, we live-switch 3 cameras so I can visually add some "punctuation" to the narrative, just by when I choose to go for the tighter shots versus wider ones. I go one further than this, in fact, at my operation. We not only live-switch the three cameras, we also retain in-camera iso recordings of the close-up and wide shot camera, so that some future historian or documentarian, wanting to use my footage, can make their own editorial choices if they didn't like mine. That's taking it to an extreme, which you might do for academia. For a commercial enterprise, probably not so much.
But single-camera, meat-and-potatoes simple recording with a good video format, well-lit, with good sound, i.e. everything you already have the "kit" for... for 2 to 3 hours of directed interview... 300-400 pounds sounds reasonable to me. Really, whatever you day rate is, and you should already know that figure. It isn't technically or aesthetically hard work at all, but it *does* require preparation of the questions and outline, and a really good interviewer to direct the questioning, getting just enough details, following up the most promising leads as they come up, but to always keep the thing flowing and going in more or less chronological order.
As a demo to show people what you offer, go do a short version of this with a relative or elderly friend. Everybody, I mean everybody, has *some* kind of interesting story angle in their life, if you dig enough. Ask about their reactions to major news events, how they interpreted what was going on, how it changed their life or outlook on life. Or ask them about how their opinions about something changed over time, like music or art. Really, anything. Ask questions that can't be answered in one word. Ask what it was like, ask for the story.
Thank you for your very detailed response. Much appreciated.
Well I have £12,000 of kit and have produced some very good work I'm the past, so confident I can get a good interview.
I've also had a lot of practice at interviews and people feel relaxed, but obviously the most important part is getting the story to flow. Normally I would direct people to answer the question as though they were simply telling someone about it, rather then respond directly to the question. That way the viewer is led seamlessly into the answer without needing to know the question.
I presume you don't hear the interviewers question off camera? Or is it set-up as an interview? Although I only have 1 EX1, I could look to take some close ups of hands and some near focused shots with the client out focus in the background. I can take these after and meld them into the production to make it more engaging. I wish I had two cameras.
Our oral history documentation operation has two modes: in-studio, where we do the 3-camera live switch, as described, and in the field, we do a 2-camera version, where both cameras are trained on the subject and locked off, one medium, one tight. We run a clapper at the beginning to create a synch point, then roll without stopping. The two angles are to give a future editor maximum flexibility in the edit, as well as for the security of a back-up recording. The interviewer is mic'd, but never seen usually. The A camera keeps the two mics split on individual channels, the B camera takes a mix of the A camera's two mics, and the second channel of the B camera stays on the on-board shotgun as a backup and ambiance source.
The field interview, of say, one of our centennial farmers, consists of the 2-camera sit-down segment, generally an hour, though sometimes two, and a "walk-and-talk" tour, shot single-camera. We hang a wireless on the farmer and a hardwired stick mic for the interviewer, who stays close by the camera at all times and out of shot. We follow the farmer on his tour and he describes details of certain aspects of the operation that might relate back to the sit-down interview. It may be equipment, or a process, or actual livestock. The walk and talk is usually 30 minutes to an hour.
I'm not saying this is how you need to do it for your version. Just that this is what we find works well for us and our specific purpose.
Really useful info. It's sounds facinating.
So do you hear the interviewers questions on the end product?
On ours, yes. The studio 3- cam shoot includes short shots of the interviewer, but few as possible. For your version, if you ask the questions right, you could cut the questions out and the guest's narrative self-assembles into a cohesive story on its own. Or you can leave it all in, it won't hurt.
And where would you target?
Depends on which market you want to work. On the high end, work thru the people involved with the peerage and all that, to find the folks that want to document the family history in a peerage context.
On the lower end, get the word out thru outreach to historical societies, preservation groups, honor societies, football clubs, reach out to military support organizations. You know your market better than I can.
"Oh, you wanted to RECORD that?"
Here, the parent or guardian just has to sign a release. I don't know in the UK. It's as easy as asking you lawyer though. He may wanna draw one up for you for an hour's worth of billing but you can write your own or just grab a template after a quick google search and reword as needed.