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Burbank Film Permit Ordinance - seeking public comment

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Eric Michael CapBurbank Film Permit Ordinance - seeking public comment
by on Dec 5, 2008 at 2:03:08 am

The Burbank City Council is considering revisions to the City’s Film Permit Ordinance that will allow the use of hand held cameras without a permit and waiver of fees for non-profit organizations and student productions, as well as other updates to address changes in technology. The City Council will be considering the proposed ordinance at its next meeting on Tuesday, December 9 @ 6pm.

LINKS:
http://burbank.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=2&event_id=34&meta_id=35... (Staff Report)
http://burbank.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=2&event_id=34&meta_id=35... (FAQ)
Burbank City Council Email Address for Public Comment: BurbankCouncil@ci.burbank.ca.us

MY OPINION (FWIW): This update is long overdue and I support these changes wholeheartedly, but in my opinion they don’t go far enough. It is still illegal for an individual to film on private property without a permit, whether that’s their own home or place of business, if they use ancillary lighting &/or audio equipment. This whole matter came to head when then Mayor Marsha Ramos was told by the City Attorney’s Office that she could not film a time-sensitive endorsement for a Presidential Candidate she supported on her own property without a permit & insurance. The reason we have restrictions according to Staff is to “protect the public from the safety hazards and disruption which can be associated with filming activities”. I totally understand this with respect to major Film/TV production on public property, which is what the original ordinance was created to address, but to restrict individuals & freelancers from filming on private property that does not pose a threat to public safety is unreasonable and overbearing. An individual setting up a few lights poses no more a fire threat than someone using a 1000w Lowes work light in their home or garage. A small 1-3 person crew setting up a few lights for a low budget indie film, music video, commercial, wedding ceremony/reception or interview on private property is not going to negatively impact the public or create a nuisance re noise/traffic etc. I hope common sense will prevail and the necessary changes made to allow freelancers and semi-pro photographers, videographers and filmmakers to shoot in their own homes or other private property without a time consuming, bureaucratic and costly ($350) permit process, whether for private, educational, political, commercial or non-commercial purposes. Burbank is after all suppose to be the “media capital of the world”!



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Steve WargoRe: Burbank Film Permit Ordinance - seeking public comment
by on Dec 5, 2008 at 2:09:48 am

I'd hate to see the permit charge for an act of procreation.



Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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John BaumchenRe: Burbank Film Permit Ordinance - seeking public comment
by on Dec 8, 2008 at 3:48:21 pm

Whatever happened to the concept of 'Private Property' in the USA?


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Ron LindeboomRe: Burbank Film Permit Ordinance - seeking public comment
by on Dec 8, 2008 at 5:06:13 pm

[John Baumchen] "Whatever happened to the concept of 'Private Property' in the USA?"

It takes a village to own a private property in the USA.

:)

Did you miss the memo?

Ron Lindeboom


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John BaumchenRe: Burbank Film Permit Ordinance - seeking public comment
by on Dec 9, 2008 at 2:14:03 pm

Spent the last 25 of 28 years in Canada, missed a lot of memos.


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Eric Michael CapRe: Burbank Film Permit Ordinance - seeking public comment
by on Dec 9, 2008 at 5:57:00 pm

FWIW: Here's a copy of an email I sent the entire City Council this morning on this issue. If you live/work in the Burbank area and can make it out to speak in support of these changes, please come by. Meeting starts at 6pm. Cheers! EMC


Further to my previous correspondence on this matter; I’d like to share some additional final thoughts on the proposed ordinance before tonight’s vote. Let me begin by re-stating my support for these long overdue changes...it’s a great start! That being said, in my opinion the proposed amendments don’t go far enough as they do not allow an individual or small crew to film with ancillary lighting &/or audio equipment on private property without a $350 permit, even though in my professional opinion such filming does not pose a real threat to public safety. I believe these restrictions are unfair and unreasonable.

Accordingly, I would ask that you consider the following amendments and actions:

1. Allow such filming of small-scale productions on private property with a crew of 1-3 people without a permit and waiver the $350 fee.

2. Charge a reduced fee of no more than 50% of the current fee for medium-scale productions with a crew of 3-10 or 3-15 people. (Note: Pasadena & Beverly Hills have a reduced permit fee for small-scale productions with crews under 10-15 people, that’s about 50% of their normal permit fee. Glendale’s regular permit fee is only $150).

3. Require the regular permit and fee for large-scale productions with crews of more than 10 or 15 people.

Note: You could even stipulate a maximum power usage of say 2,000 Watts for lighting, which must be split on at least 2 circuits ($1k max/circuit) if your concerned about a premises electrical infrastructure. If this is really about safety and not revenue, then lets waiver or reduce the fees.

Finally, in 2006 the Council adopted a zone text amendment to allow Music Lessons as a Home Occupation and I think it’s time we amend that ordinance to allow home audio/video/web type “studio” usages also, given the advancements in current technology, the traffic gridlock in the media district and current economic crisis that’s resulted in hundreds of employees being laid off at NBC/Universal, Paramount-MTV-BET, Avid, Adobe, Yahoo etc. I would ask that the Council bring this back as a separate urgency agenda item to encourage & enable more people to work-at-home in arts/media related areas such as motion graphic design & animation, video editing, audio, catering, as well as other business professions (financial, legal, real estate, consulting etc.); to allow the types of home businesses that already exist to operate legally (Ebay, MLM); to allow those who’ve been laid-off or had their hours dramatically reduced to freelance from home in order to feed their families and pay their mortgages & bills. This shouldn’t take a year, we don’t need to form a blue-ribbon committee, we just need to borrow what’s applicable & appropriate from the Music Lesson ZTA re parking, noise etc., and apply it in a manner that allows a broader usage without all the red tape. You should be allowed to do whatever you want to in your own home (within reason), as long as it doesn’t disturb or present a nuisance to the neighborhood.

Given these challenging & tough economic times, I hope the Council will tackle this issue with a reasonable, flexible & common-sense approach, and make the necessary compromises to ensure a business-friendly climate and a win/win situation for everyone; media freelancers, business owners, residential neighborhoods and the City; that people can shoot whatever they want in their own homes or business without a time consuming, bureaucratic and costly permit process, whether for private, educational, political, news, commercial or entertainment purposes. Burbank is after all the “media capital of the world”! Let’s keep it that way. Cheers!



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John BaumchenRe: Burbank Film Permit Ordinance - seeking public comment
by on Dec 9, 2008 at 6:11:08 pm

Well said.


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John DavidsonRe: Burbank Film Permit Ordinance - seeking public comment
by on Dec 10, 2008 at 4:48:11 am

Hey Eric, how did it go?

John
Magic Feather Inc.


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Eric Michael CapRe: Burbank Film Permit Ordinance - seeking public comment
by on Dec 10, 2008 at 7:14:40 pm

Thanks for your interest John! The good news is the Burbank City Council did pass the proposed ordinance (5-0) with some minor language tweaks. That means you can now legally shoot on most private & public property (with some exceptions) with a hand-held camera, along with a tripod and on-camera light, as long as you're not taking over an area i.e. blocking pedestrian traffic etc.

Also, at least 2 Council members (Marsha Ramos, Dr. David Gordon) expressed support for updating our Home Occupation ordinance to be more flexible & accommodating to media usages (audio, video, web, graphics etc.) That's going to come back as a separate agenda item later and I'll keep everyone posted.

Unfortunately despite my best efforts the Council did not grant a permit/fee waiver for small-scale productions, either a single Videographer or small crew if they use external lights and audio gear. I am very disappointed but haven’t given up! I’ll be back to make one more appeal @ the 2nd reading. I will post some video links in the next few days for those interested in hearing the public comment and Council discussions & rationale...it was very interesting to say the least. Cheers!



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John DavidsonRe: Burbank Film Permit Ordinance - seeking public comment
by on Dec 10, 2008 at 10:58:11 pm

Well that's some good news at least. It's very telling that they don't do anything that results in lower taxes or fees, isn't it?

I'm still astounded you can't edit from home in burbank. With all the layoffs and foreclosures going on it's really asinine to cripple your citizens even further.

Good luck man!

John
PROUDLY editing from home in XXXXXXX Ranch, CA.

John
Magic Feather Inc.


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Eric Michael CapRe: Burbank Film Permit Ordinance - seeking public comment
by on Dec 13, 2008 at 6:58:46 pm

Thanks John. As promised, below is a link to some video of the Council discussions on this matter, as well as an article and letter that appeared in today's local newspaper (Burbank Leader). I've also posted an old video re Burbank home businesses. Re Editing from home; you can do that providing you get a business license and pay the $70 "tax", however you cannot have clients present while you cut. This is what I'll be trying to change. I realize this might not be a big deal for some with ftp approvals & iChat "virtual editing" conferences. Same goes for ISDN & Source-Connect VO sessions. That said, there are times when meeting with a client to discuss an upcoming project &/or having them present while you finish a project in your home studio/suite is necessary and for a City to prohibit that because of the extra "vehicular traffic" is ridiculous. As someone who lives/works opposite a middle school, having a handful of visits during any given week is not going to negatively impact my neighborhood. Anyway, I'll keep everyone posted re the final outcome on the fee waiver/reduction for small-scale production. It's not too late to email the Council your thoughts @ CityCouncil@ci.burbank.ca.us . Cheers!

http://www.youtube.com/user/burbankhomebiz

http://www.burbankleader.com/articles/2008/12/13/politics/blr-film13.txt

http://www.goldstreet.net/press/Leader_FilmPermits.jpg


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