Archive for the ‘Burbank Film Permits’ Category

New Year – New 2015 Promo Video

January 21, 2015

Eric Michael Cap @ GOLD STREET – Creative Media

Audio + Visuals | Sound + Pictures | Burbank / Los Angeles | 818.567.1911

Film Permits & Home Occupations comments

October 20, 2009

Dear Burbank City Council,

Thank you for your reconsideration of the latest set of revisions to our Film Permit Ordinance. A few final comments:

I’m glad to see Tripods are back as a permitted use and to see the added definition of “camera stabilization equipment”. Last meeting I asked a specific question about the use of stabilizers such as Steadicams, Varizooms, Glidecams etc., and Staff clearly stated that they we’re allowed as they’re attached to the body, held in the hand and carried by the videographer. That said, there still appears to be some confusion in the community on this and I think it would behoove Staff to clearly re-state this for the record tonight.

I am disappointed that we still don’t have a reasonable and safe allowance for low-watt lighting such as a 1000W permit-free lighting cap; I know several people submitted comments in support of this idea but there was no such mention in Staff’s report. It appeared a few Council members were willing to consider it last meeting but were talked out of it by Staff who said something to the effect of “it’s not the wattage but how it’s used”. Well you can say that about anything right…cutlery, power tools, vehicles etc. I would ask that a poll be taken prior to your final vote to see if there is support (3 votes) to add this exemption.

I still have major concerns re the definition of “Commercial Use” to include “Advertising on YouTube”. This is going to hurt small businesses who use the web for viral marketing, realtors who advertise properties via virtual tours etc., and should be removed. Previously we made no distinction between personal vs. commercial use, as the end-use has no bearing on public safety. To require our local small businesses to pay $350 to produce short videos that advertise their products & services in this economic climate seems counter-productive to previous stated Council goals re economic development. I’m glad we will be considering a reduced 1-Day Film Permit for 2010/11, but I made that request with ample time for consideration during this budget cycle and fear that whatever reduction is made for 2010/11 may be too little too late.

Finally, a few recent events have come to my attention that concern me. I’ve just learned of a situation where an out-of-town Film Director was told he needed a permit and Police & Fire staff on site to film a small scene in a house for his reel. Now I have no idea of how many people or how much equipment was going to be used but on the surface this seems unreasonable to me. I also read in the Burbank Leader of a BPD raid on a local film maker shooting a scene in a friends front yard that lead to a $700 citation. Then there’s the prosecution of Kevin Muldoon, an unemployed local car enthusiast prosecuted for filming a car show at Bob’s Big Boy without a permit. These incidents coupled with the City’s failure to grasp the pertinent issues & technology have caused irrevocable harm to our image and reputation as the “media capital of the world”. Considering the current economic crisis and rampant runaway production, you are not helping but hurting local media production companies that are the lifeblood of this City. I have also learned of a potential conflict-of-interest re Police & Fire Dept. personnel involved in the drafting of the ordinance who benefit financially from working on local film shoots, and find that very disconcerting.

One more thing re the Home Occupation Ordinance Staff Report; All I asked is you consider making a small allowance for low volume client visits i.e. A handful of people each week and Staff comes up with this? Think about it; one of the primary goals of the HOO is to encourage less vehicular traffic by allowing folks to work from home. So if someone works from home and does not make 2 peak-hour trips each day but has 2-3 clients visits per week which are off-peak who park on their premises, isn’t that a net reduction? How can Staff claim such a person is creating additional vehicular traffic? Let’s say I have a few people come over to play cards, or watch the game, or do a bible study or sit-in while I edit a video for them…what’s the difference? A lot of people who film now edit themselves and are also impacted by these inflexible rules & regulations but this HOO effects more than just film makers, it effects musicians/composers with home studios, graphic/web designers, people who do bookkeeping/taxes etc. The HOO is over 10 years old and can be improved by making a few simple changes that don’t require a task force or a lot of Staff time IMO. Please use your common sense when considering this item.

Lights, Camera… oh, wait a second…

September 25, 2009

MAILBAG – Published in Burbank Leader 09/25/2009

I want to thank the Burbank City Council for its approval of our revised film permit ordinance Tuesday evening. There are many additional exemptions that I’m very pleased with, as well as the expanded hand-held devices definition that allows stabilizers like steadicams, reflectors and the like to be used without a permit.

I’m also happy that external lighting will now be permitted in some cases without a permit, subject to Burbank Fire Department review. I think it’s imperative we maintain an up-to-date list of FAQs on the city’s film permit Web page and believe it would be a good idea to consider the formation of some type of ad-hoc Film Advisory Committee to review the ordinance’s effectiveness and report back to the council on an annual basis.

That said, I was shocked to learn during council discussions that tripod use, which was previously permitted under the revised 2008 ordinance, may now be precluded with respect to video camera usage. I believe this is a giant step backward and will cause a lot of unnecessary public confusion.

While there are other things I’d like to see changed — such as a one-day film permit at a reduced fee and a 1,000-watt permit-free lighting cap — I’m willing to wait for a year to discuss those issues again once we’ve had a chance to see how this works.

However, I ask that the City Council please allow tripods at the second reading of the ordinance. I believe the existing language still gives Burbank police the ability to control situations where foot traffic is being hindered or the equipment is being used in a manner that unreasonably interferes with public safety. I hope we can correct this oversight.



Burbank Film Permit Ordinance – Op-Ed

December 12, 2008

MAILBAG – Published in Burbank Leader 12/12/2008

I’m glad the Burbank City Council unanimously passed a new Film Permit Ordinance; It’s a great 1st step and much better than what we had previously. We can now all shoot legally on most private & public property with a hand-held camera, along with a tripod and on-camera light. I’m also very happy that at least 2 Council members (Ramos & Gordon) expressed support for revisiting & updating our 10 year old Home Occupation ordinance to be more flexible & accommodating to media freelancers working from home (studios) in areas such as audio post, video editing, web/graphic design, animation, as well as other business professions.

This update is long overdue but in my opinion doesn’t go far enough. It’s still illegal to film on private property without a $350 permit, whether that’s your own home or place of business, if you use ancillary/external lighting &/or audio equipment. The reason we have restrictions 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 in most cases does not pose a real threat to public safety, is unreasonable and overbearing. Someone setting up a couple of low-wattage photo/video lights to photograph/film a subject, scene or event generally poses no more a fire threat than someone using a 1000w Lowes work light in their home or garage. Christmas lights and smoking in the home pose far greater risks. Moreover, a small 1-3 person crew shooting a low budget indie film, music video, commercial, corporate/industrial video, wedding or news/documentary interview on private property, is generally not going to negatively impact the public or create a nuisance re noise or traffic.

Therefore, I’m disappointed the Council did not grant a permit exception &/or fee waiver for Videographers using external lights and audio gear. While the $350 film permit fee could be revised/reduced next May as part of the Budget discussions, I’m not sure we can afford to wait that long given the worsening economy and the threat of a catastrophic SAG strike. We need our leaders to act now! This is not a bail-out, it’s a concession that in all likelihood will have very little impact on City revenue. How much would it really cost the City to waiver or reduce permit fees for single-operators & small 2-3 person crews? Burbank has always been sensitive and generous with respect to providing financial help to those on a low/fixed income & our non-profit service providers, as well as incentives to attract businesses to our community, but seems unwilling to give indie film/documentary makers & videographers, who are already struggling as companies go out of business and cut back on advertising, a break. (BTW: indie films are mostly a labor of love & not money-making commercial extravaganzas).  In all honesty, unless we put our money where our mouths are, our so-called “support” for media related pursuits is mere lip service. The Council will have one final opportunity to correct this wrong and re-consider their position on the fee waiver/reduction at the ordinances 2nd reading this coming Tuesday night. I hope someone steps up to the plate and at least puts an amendment on the table for a vote. Burbank is after all suppose to be the “media capital of the world”; let’s make sure it stays that way!

Useful Links:

Eric Michael Cap speaks on Film Permit Ordinance @ Council meeting

Videos of Council discussion on Film Permits 

Burbank Leader Article – 12/14/08

Burbank Leader Article – 12/17/08

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