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Ambient recordings in public places
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rZtipping
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#1
25th April 2013
Old 25th April 2013
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Ambient recordings in public places

Hi, Was just wondering if any one knows if you need to ask for permission to record in public places. i want to go to some local train stations to get some ambient recordings. should i contact the train company for permission.
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25th April 2013
Old 25th April 2013
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What country?

Every country has different laws and a question like this cannot be answered without knowing the jurisdiction you come under.
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rZtipping
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25th April 2013
Old 25th April 2013
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Currently in California, America, but im also in the U.K. and canada alot so if any one knows for any of them that would be great.
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25th April 2013
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i figure it its legal to take photos (papparazzi) it should be legal to record sound. but i agree its better to know beforehand.
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25th April 2013
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Train stations are not always public places
They are private places and need permission in some Western Countries.
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25th April 2013
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In the UK it's certainly legal to take photos in a public place.

So if you are recording ambient sounds and not any copyright music, I think it should be OK.

Certainly nobody said anything when I was on a Chiltern Line train with a Neumann dummy head recording ambient train sounds a few years ago.
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26th April 2013
Old 26th April 2013
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Ambient recording in most places is OK, even in California.

In California you may record audio and video in public places where persons cannot reasonably expect privacy. Persons who speak out in public places have no reasonable expectation of privacy and may be recorded.

Recording private conversations between two or more parties is not legal without prior consent of the parties.

Recording on private property may be subject to the property owner's rules and, therefore, prior consent may be required.
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26th April 2013
Old 26th April 2013
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mic stand use?

And what are your experiences with mic stands (or tripods) in public? I can see some security clowns to take this as a signal to interrupt because somebody could stumble over the whole thing?
What about idiots yelling or talking close up for 'fun'? I ask, because I get interrupted as a photographer sometimes when using my high end cameras and people asking silly things or make me aware of 'great' subjects I should photograph. Of course I block these morons but the interruption is done. Usually I now take a friend as my 'firewall' with me. I could kick them myself but I'm in the mood of doing my art.
I ask because I plan to make more recordings in public with a surround setup.
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26th April 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nkf View Post
And what are your experiences with mic stands (or tripods) in public? I can see some security clowns to take this as a signal to interrupt because somebody could stumble over the whole thing?
What about idiots yelling or talking close up for 'fun'? I ask, because I get interrupted as a photographer sometimes when using my high end cameras and people asking silly things or make me aware of 'great' subjects I should photograph. Of course I block these morons but the interruption is done. Usually I now take a friend as my 'firewall' with me. I could kick them myself but I'm in the mood of doing my art.
I ask because I plan to make more recordings in public with a surround setup.
On rare occasions when I do this kind of recording I use a long pole and hold it myself with the base sitting on the ground to support the weight. To topple the pole a person must topple me first!

Of course this method isn't good for long periods of time but it works OK for recordings up to an hour or so when my legs will tire.
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26th April 2013
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In addition to the military's rule of 6Ps (Perfect Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance) I add six more of my own for recording in circumstances like this: Permission, Politeness, Persistence, Patience, Publicity & Payment. Basically, always ask permission first. At best, it gets you a bit of preferential treatment; at worst, it prevents you from being shot. See the Pinter link at the end of this.

Most station concourses are not, strictly speaking, public places, they are privately managed areas. (In the UK, all railway stations are owned by Network Rail and, with the exception of the busiest stations which are also operated by Network Rail, managed by the primary train companies that operate from them.) There will be a station manager who, unless you're using stealth equipment, you should contact before you undertake a recording and he/she may allow you to make recordings on a verbal agreement, or may require you to apply in writing. In the case of London Underground, for example, you need to apply in advance, fill out a form and pay a fee. The use of tripods, stands, etc., needs special permission in most cases and is not recommended at peak times. If someone does trip over your kit, you'd better have good public liability insurance, especially in today's over-litigious society.

The smaller and more unobtrusive the kit is, the less likely you are to be bothered by the "hello mum" brigade, but it really is part of the job to deal with this.

I've written about some of my experiences for various magazines and lectures:

Searching For The Perfect Wave: A Life Recording Sound Effects | Once upon a time, I was involved in a small and vastly underfunded theatre company's production... | Sept 2008 | Theatre content from Live Design Magazine

“Who’s Breathing?” Asked Director Harold Pinter | Theatre content from Live Design Magazine

Writing
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Last edited by johnsound; 26th April 2013 at 04:23 PM.. Reason: Corrected for grammar and punctuation.
#11
27th April 2013
Old 27th April 2013
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Using in-ear mics with a pocket recorder can avoid a lot of practical problems when recording in public places. To most people it looks like you are just listening to an mp3 player and they don't give you a second glance.
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27th April 2013
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27th April 2013
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Thanks for all your help.
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27th April 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozpeter View Post
Using in-ear mics with a pocket recorder can avoid a lot of practical problems when recording in public places. To most people it looks like you are just listening to an mp3 player and they don't give you a second glance.
In Ears can be good for binaural recording
Head moves sound weird on LS though
They are difficult to wind gag,a fleece hat over the ears helps.

Ive done hundreds of hours of wild track atmos all over the planet, unobtrusive is the answer.
Or if encumbered by gear, looking in one direction and recording in another (ie over your shoulder) most people can't tell one end of a Rycote blimp from another, including some boom ops...
Spaced omni radios can be very effective, but expensive and need hiding from prying eyes.
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