NYC Photography Now Means “Filming”

The new permit rules for NYC took effect in mid-August, and in some ways they are a bit more draconian than they were before. Pretty much anything that creates and image of any kind is classified under the blanket of “film” and therefore has the same requirements for permits and insurance as a film crew. If you use any kind of vehicle, lights, or cables (or any other equipment) you are required to have a permit and insurance.

A couple of things that I noted that are good to know:

1) You can cry poverty and get a waiver from the city for the $1 million liability insurance in the event that you do get a permit. This opens up the market a bit for indy film makers and students, which is good.

2) You do not need a permit for use of a handheld device as long as it does not mean “exclusive use of City property.” There are some complicated definitions of what “exclusive use of City property” means, but the gist of it is that if you’re not blocking more than half of the sidewalk, you’re good. Furthermore, handheld devices includes tripods. This is a big deal – I don’t know how many times I’ve been (or seen other photogs) chased away from public areas for using tripods. Next time I go out in the city I’m taking my tripod and a print out of the permit rules.

The question I have is this: For handheld devices, do you think that includes handheld, small format flash units held by an assistant? There are no cords, no stands, no vehicles….something to think about.

You can get the full skinny at the NYC MOFTB site.

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