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Max Field

How Illegal Is It To Shoot @ a Cemetary?

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I had to steal a couple shots at one last week. Are there more laws or permits which come with a place like that?

 

Thanks for any input.

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I wouldn't advise it.. I did ..well dir idea.. and they will bust you pretty quick .. as we were.. and I cant tell you how embarrassing it was to be calmly given a dressing down.. and all the reasons explained why we should have just asked.. its a bit different from other locations were I would say go for it..

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In LA we just rent them, were I back in Philadelphia and the east coast, I'd just kindly go in and ask permission. I really don't see why it's that hard? There are plenty of cemetary's around and it's pretty easy to ask permission like a responsible adult.

There are no more permits or laws for it, generally, though you really don't want to feature headstones without permission. If you were to just "go for it" you'd be trespassing on private property with all the intended fines and fees if anyone decided to call the police.

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In LA we just rent them, were I back in Philadelphia and the east coast, I'd just kindly go in and ask permission. I really don't see why it's that hard?

I don't think they'd sign off for the shooting of a satirical music video entitled "F-ck You B-tch (I F-ck Yo B-tch)" on a grave site.

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I don't know about U.S laws but featuring the headstones with names and all without having permission would be illegal in pretty much every part of the world I think.

 

here where I live the cemetery itself is "publicly accessible private property" but normally they are legally pretty similar to public park areas EXCEPT the actual graves and headstones which are considered private property (the small marked land area rented from the cemetery owner by the relatives for the actual grave of the individual buried there, that is considered private property separate of the "public" cemetery area as far as I know" ) and the headstone is sole property of the relatives of the deceased buried there. Basically one could shoot on a cemetery here without permission but it would be legally very difficult to feature the actual graves and headstones. with shooting permission one could show the general cemetery area but not show any identifiable names etc. on the headstones (if one would want to show them one would need to ask for a permission from the living relatives of that person buried there, the cemetery owner can't give permission for that)

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well, probably because its trespassing for one. Even if its public it can be trespassing, as the usual underlying reason for film permits in public spaces is because you're using publicly supported property for a for profit endeavor and as such the public should be compensated in some manner.

 

Also if the headstones and such constitute an additional form of private property then you'd need permission from both the overall property owner AND the headstone owners, lest again you're just trespassing.

I had to steal a couple shots at one last week. Are there more laws or permits which come with a place like that?

 

Thanks for any input.

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I don't know about U.S laws but featuring the headstones with names and all without having permission would be illegal in pretty much every part of the world I think.

 

here where I live the cemetery itself is "publicly accessible private property" but normally they are legally pretty similar to public park areas EXCEPT the actual graves and headstones which are considered private property (the small marked land area rented from the cemetery owner by the relatives for the actual grave of the individual buried there, that is considered private property separate of the "public" cemetery area as far as I know" ) and the headstone is sole property of the relatives of the deceased buried there. Basically one could shoot on a cemetery here without permission but it would be legally very difficult to feature the actual graves and headstones. with shooting permission one could show the general cemetery area but not show any identifiable names etc. on the headstones (if one would want to show them one would need to ask for a permission from the living relatives of that person buried there, the cemetery owner can't give permission for that)

 

I don't recall having to do that when shooting documentaries.

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either me.. after getting kicked out of one.. we did get permission and shot in another.. it was somewhere in LA.. and we could shoot any grave stone we wanted.. I really don't think grave stone names are considered private property .. same in the UK,France and Japan ..as far as my grave site shooting experience goes..

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Pretty sure they are. I have the "deeds" to my own headstone and grave (long story), but the overriding ownership is the cemetery itself, and generally they'll set the rules-- but they could try to prohibit you. Though in truth I think it's just good manners to be respectful.

As for the name of the project you shot, that's often why you work under a shooting name and when they cemetery asks, if they do, you tell them you're shooting a music video.

There are times when it's better to ask forgiveness over permission, but I don't think a cemetery is generally one of those times.

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Pretty sure they are. I have the "deeds" to my own headstone and grave (long story),.

 

I'm glad I'll be buried at sea. I'll be even happier if that can wait some 50 years or so.

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As for the name of the project you shot, that's often why you work under a shooting name and when they cemetery asks, if they do, you tell them you're shooting a music video.

If everything is official though, isn't someone involved with the place going to possibly show up to see what's going on?

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If you're stealing grabs of an actor at a stone alone then you should probably be allright. If you're doing business with 2 or more actors in a walk and talk type scene I'd suggest permits. Even when you have location permits, always check in with the person working that day, the night before the shoot and make sure that individual working their that day knows you are coming.

Most people uninvolved in your shoot have no idea who you are and what you're doing and always assume that people outside your shoot are clueless and can't be trusted to relay logistical information to their own people.

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What sucks most of all when shooting on location in smaller towns is every idiot and their grandmother comes up to you like "HEY THERE WHATCHA SHOOTIN??"

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That's what the producer is for if they want to to come out on location, answering questions and keeping the locals sweet.

I just hire the muscle. Give the homeless guy at 711 20 bucks to stand guard.

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I haven't read all the above advice but mine is don't have the camera/lights etc set up or even someone standing on any grave as that's considered hallowed ground by many and disrespectful to stand there. Even apparently vacant plots might have a body in them, and the public might consider it disrespectful and unprofessional if they gear or crew there. Put people and gear on the pathways. Gingerly walking along the border between graves is fine. That's my view.

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Larger cemeteries tend to have staff on site for daily maintenance and dig new graves. The regulations may vary from area to area, but unless in a major city with a film industry, a quick courtesy call to the department that deals with the cemetery usually clears it and you have a name to drop to the staff.

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If everything is official though, isn't someone involved with the place going to possibly show up to see what's going on?

Possibly. Though rarely have I had this happen to me even with permits. Normally we'd have to get on the horn to locations if/when anything went wrong. But if they already approved the project, what's the worry?

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I haven't read all the above advice but mine is don't have the camera/lights etc set up or even someone standing on any grave as that's considered hallowed ground by many and disrespectful to stand there. Even apparently vacant plots might have a body in them, and the public might consider it disrespectful and unprofessional if they gear or crew there.

...Uh oh..

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