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Guerrilla filming Black Swan??

I read an article about shooting guerrilla style that said the subway scenes in ‘Black swan’ were all shot without permits as were scenes from ‘The French Connection’.
Anyone know if this is true and did they not incur any sort of retrospective fines, fees or legal action?

  • I've heard this story about Black Swan. However it was shot on Super 16 so I don't see how you can shoot like that with a 16mm camera. Size wise and you won't get a usable exposure without lighting and, even if you did, it would look crap. So not sure how true it is.

    I do know that the desert scenes in the original Terminator scene were shot without permits (remember, it was a low budget movie).

    8 months ago
  • Film permits are about control and revenue. In the UK at least it's my understanding that you can pretty much shoot in any public place without permits.

    However, what you can't do is cause an obstruction. What's an obstruction? Something prevents other people being able to move normally.

    Want to film a chase in a quiet North London park? No probs. Want to do the same at Piccadilly Circus, and that's an obstruction.

    A permit however basically allows you to cause an agreed amount of obstruction and annoyance :-)

    8 months ago
    • There's as yet untested law as to the legal status of a number of 'public domains'. Railways, public transport entities, Crown properties and other publicly owned entities are currently deemed to not enjoy the standard freedoms of the public. It's usually asserted that creating a corporate status from a public domain ends public freedom. It's a modern version of the Enclosures Act when large tracts of Common land were literally stolen through corrupt government. An Act that would never be tolerated today.

      8 months ago
  • Well, just looked in up. Subway scenes shot with a 7D while the rest was Super 16 on an Arri 416. Don't know if they had permission though. The location manager at a shoot I was on recently was telling me of locations getting films pulled from festivals as a result of finding out people had been filming on them without permission. Don't know how true that is though. That was just a conversation.

    8 months ago
  • Would that private property that they'd shot on without permission then for it to get pulled from film festivals? Do films not have to have all locations signed off to get distribution?

    8 months ago
    • That's what I'm saying. The location manager was talking about a short that shot at the location we were at but did not obtain the license to film there. The location got the film pulled once it saw footage in the film of their location.

      8 months ago
  • Just to flag - if you work in the UK with the council film offices they can steer you towards what's private and public territory and you generally for public land you don't have to pay a penny - just be insured and film responsibly. It's sometimes hard to know which land is private and which public - people often get it very wrong.

    8 months ago
  • Interestingly, you cannot cordon off Trafalgar Square for filming. When the gunfight was being filmed there for the Ray Winston "Sweeny" it was done through an uncordoned off Trafalgar Square. Alghough the only gun shots were the 1st AD saying 'bang' alot as the gunshots were added in post. I believe some members of the public thought it was real...

    8 months ago
  • So as long as it's not private property and you aren't causing obstructions etc you don't need permission and it can't come back to bite you? Shorts, Features, music videos, anything?

    8 months ago
  • It's true that the famous car scene from the French Connection was done without permits of any kind. But a couple of things: that was 1971 and William Friedkin was friends with a bunch of cops.

    8 months ago
  • The subway scenes on Black Swan were shot on a 5D

    8 months ago
    • According to the American Cinematographer interview the rehearsals were shot with a 6d. The subway scenes were shot with a mix of 7d and 1d Mk IV.

      8 months ago
    • @Mark Wiggins
      Rehearsals shot with 5d. Typo

      8 months ago