The Perils of Location Filming. Or… People! Bah!

I swore blind that as the years passed, I would not morph into a grumpy old man.

And I haven’t. I’m not old.

But right now, I am bloody grumpy! And I am grumpy because of a number of things all transpired together to cause a job to be aborted for no REAL valid reason.

Imagine the scenario; a licenced entertainment venue that is playing host for a booking for an end of year party. There is wine, beer and spirits flowing, and the food – a set down do – is plentiful and very good (I have partaken at the particular location numerous times).

Someone whips out an iPhone to take some video or piccies for Facebook or Instagram – whatever – and no-one bats an eyelid. Others follow suit.

I am there to get some footage for promo purposes, legitimately asked by the owner / manager. But ONE person, rolls up to me and demands me to explain what I am doing with a camera. When I explain briefly, I am told in no uncertain terms that “I do not want my photo taken”. And they were in no mood to listen to what I consider “common sense”.

Well that’s fine, I am not taking your photo. Off they hoof, to come back in 5 minutes to state they have checked all the people on their table and nor does anyone else.

This is escalating to level “silly”. I point to the owner / manager to air the beef to and keep shooting – a discreet Ricoh Theta V 360˚ camera by the way, not a shoulder mounted ENG beast. And I am hidden in the background, not wandering around among the punters or anything.

15 minutes later, the owner / manager tells me to desist. And that is that.

It appears the complaint escalated up the line to the manager (I’ll refrain from the correct title as that will immediately give away more than I want. Suffice to say they are public servants).

Suggesting this is between the devil and the deep blue sea is an understatement. To the owner, they are very good clients and he doesn’t want to upset them. A crowd of 50+ people is not to be sneezed at.

Fair enough. They are his premises and he can technically do what he wishes, but I understand the “hand that feeds” angle of this.

What I do not understand, is why people react like this?

I don’t want to be identified” is the usual retort. For goodness sake, in this case it is a public front line servant in a country bloody town! Everyone knows who they are!

I don’t know what you are going to do with the footage”, is the other common one. What do they think? If I do ANYTHING that is nefarious with that footage, then I have committed a criminal offence and I’ll accept the consequences. But I am not going to do any such thing. A crowd of people – where it is hard to pick out individuals anyway – at an event is hardly material that could be used for any sort of funny business.

Has this attitude been caused by media frenzy whipped up paranoia that has invaded us? Or simply that we are all too precious these days? All this stuff about “privacy” has gone overboard it would appear, as has our reactions and attitudes to normal sedate circumstances.

And good old fashioned logic and common sense.

I mean, apart from the plethora of smartphones taking pictures and video all around you all day long, there are CCTV cameras, dashcams and more covering you just about everywhere you go.

I wonder too, if I said I was from the local newspaper doing the “social scene” column, or from the local TV station doing a puff piece for the local TV news, would I have had the same reaction? Experience tells me no. In fact, experience tells me they would downright chuffed to be on the telly or in the paper.

So much for being recognised!

Perhaps I should wear a Jimmy Olsen trilby with a “PRESS” sticker on it? Would that help?

So, I have two questions: if you are the public, are you worried about others taking video or stills of you inadvertently or as part of a crowd, and if so, why?

Or if you are a pro cammo put in this situation all the time, how do you handle it? Tell ‘em to sod off, you are just doing your job? Try and explain? Or just sigh, pack up, have a beer and go home?

Next time, I am going to use a miniature camera hidden under a discreet full-length black plastic raincoat and wear a hat over my eyes with sunglasses, a wig and a false nose.

I bet no-one notices.

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