Under the draft proposal, those gathering footage on hand-held devices or for noncommercial or personal use are exempt from having to obtain a permit, provided their activities don’t cause a safety hazard. Wireless microphones, hand-held light diffusers and related filming equipment carried throughout the course of filming are also exempt. Tripods were removed as an explicit exemption.
Film permits, the current rules of which became effective Jan. 16, are intended to protect the public from safety hazards and disruption, Burbank police Lt. J.J. Puglisi said.
But those in the movie-making and television industry turned out again Tuesday, this time arguing that standard tripods pose little danger and are essential to capturing certain shots.
Actor and producer Stuart G. Bennett addressed the council this week carrying along a tripod fitted with a muzzle as well as handcuffs binding two of its arms.
“It’s never bitten anybody,” he deadpanned.
Bennett recently attended the Strasbourg International Film Festival for the film “Eugene,” where he said he met filmmakers from the Netherlands, Japan and Australia.
“Many of them shared stories about how their communities had helped facilitate their ability to make films,” Bennett said. “I would just ask you to use good judgment in these times of economic hardship and please do not place additional financial burdens on artists.”
The council agreed, but has asked police and fire officials to hold off on looking into lowering the $350 permit fee until next year’s budget process.
“Occasionally you cast your vote and read a couple of e-mails and reconsider things,” Councilman Dave Golonski said. “Frankly, that’s where I am on the tripod.”
Gordon called on the council to solicit input from industry professionals, particularly for language about noncommercial and commercial use, defined as filming done for or with the expectation of receiving compensation.
The distinction has left some foggy on whether they could be cited or shut down by police and fire officials for filming a project, said director and editor Erik C. Andersen.
Other industry professionals said they’re skeptical of promises made at City Hall not to fine people shooting some activities, maintaining that officials will be held to the letter of the law.
“Don’t make it so confusing that you have to be a scholar to figure it out,” Gordon said. “Make it clean, make it simple.”