Lights, Camera, You’re nicked!

I went yesterday to meet Steve Fisher from KPIT Cummins at the Frontline Club near Paddington station.

Steve has asked me to speak at a corporate event he is organising later this month and so he wanted to quickly record a 2-3 minute piece on video camera where I just talk to the camera about what will be in my forthcoming speech.

It should have been easy…

The background noise in the Member’s room at the Frontline was too much, so we tried the private events room. No go, as they wanted cash for us to film in there – even a 2min piece to a video camera. We had the same problem when we tried filming in their restaurant… payment required for filming.

We took a walk down the road to the Hilton hotel at Paddington. They wanted £100 an hour for a meeting room. So we decided that was not going to be the answer either. We scouted the station itself for locations, but they were all too noisy, with the background din of train announcements.

Then we decided to try an outdoor location. The canal runs next to Paddington station, so we could stand on the edge of the canal talking…

The moment we found a good location and setup the tripod, two security guards asked us to move on as we were a ‘security threat’ to the local offices… which included the HQ of Marks & Spencer just across from where we were filming.

We tried to find another spot on the canal, once the guards were not looking, but the work on Span 4 of Paddington station was causing a huge noise – constant pneumatic drills going off – so that was completely out of the question.

After walking some way up the canal, we eventually found some nice looking offices that could serve as a backdrop for the outdoor film. We quickly shot the video just using the camera held by hand, rather than taking the time to setup the tripod. That was a good move in the end, because as soon as we had finished, a security guard came over to check what we were up to…

How difficult can it be to shoot a short film in London? Walking around Paddington we were probably photographed hundreds of times by CCTV, yet it seems it’s illegal to pull out your own camera and shoot a short film yourself. Where did all these bye-laws come from?

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One response to “Lights, Camera, You’re nicked!

  1. Its not illegal at all and “security guards” have no right at all to move you on from a public place. The police have recently got into trouble repeatedly by trying to stop people taking photos or video.

    If you are on a public footpath or right of way then just being near an “important” building doesn’t make you a threat, they have to have a reasonable suspicion that you are engaging in a terrorist or terrorism supporting activity and then it is only the police who are able to stop you.

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