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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinematour Discussion   » Questions about proper way to take theater pictures (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Questions about proper way to take theater pictures
Daniel Fuentz
Member

Posts: 212
From: Cleveland, Ohio
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted April 11, 2003 01:12 AM      Profile for Daniel Fuentz   Email Daniel Fuentz         Edit/Delete Post 
As I mentioned on the metaphors thread, I took some pictures of a local theater. I was wondering what is the proper etiquette for doing this? Do you normally just go in and snap away after the show, or do you ask theater staff first? Have any of you ever gotten static from theater staff when taking pictures without permission? Also, do you know of any chains that have policies against this?

I just unobtrusively snapped my photos after the other 4 patrons had left the auditorium, and there were no employees in the lobby, so there was no problem there. (I did startle an employee changing posters while I was taking exterior shots -- but I was outside so I didnt feel there was a need to ask at that point. Besides, I didn't think the flash would be noticeable from my spot in the middle of the paking lot!) Also, would it be acceptable if I asked permission first, explaining that I wanted picures of the theater for this website? That was one reason I didn't ask on this trip, I didn't want to create the assumption I was an "official" representative of this site, since I'm not. (Obviously, I wouldn't mention this site if I was hassled about taking pictures without permission, as that could possibly give the site a bad rep.)

Anyways, sorry to ask so many questions in one post, but I do want to contribute to the site, and I want to make sure I go about it the right way. As we all know, it takes a few inconsiderate/thoughtless people to spoil it for everyone!

[ April 11, 2003, 02:40 AM: Message edited by: Daniel Fuentz ]

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Roger Katz
Member

Posts: 339
From: Thomaston, CT
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted April 11, 2003 03:23 AM      Profile for Roger Katz   Email Roger Katz         Edit/Delete Post 
My policy for taking photos of currently operating cinemas is the following:

If I want to take any photos from the inside of the building I always ask the management. Usually they are thrilled and offer to give a tour of the booth and everything.

If I just take a photo of the exterior (or maybe also the inside via the outside windows) I do not ask. This has been a problem just once when a manager for a Hoyts fourplex came sprinting out and asked me what I was doing and proceeded to lecture me on asking permission. Once he found out I was from CinemaTour, though, he invited me inside and upstairs to photograph the entire cinema. [Smile]

I have been told that National Amusements has a strict no photos policy, but I've never tried to take interior photos at any of their theatres.

My policy for taking photos of abandoned, non-operating cinemas is this: If no police are in sight I try to find a way to sneak into the building. I will not break a window or remove boards or smash a lock, but if one of these things has already been done by someone else I will use it to get it.

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Daniel Fuentz
Member

Posts: 212
From: Cleveland, Ohio
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted April 11, 2003 04:44 AM      Profile for Daniel Fuentz   Email Daniel Fuentz         Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for your advice. I probably would've asked on this trip if there was an employee anywhere in sight. [Smile] Well, I won't commit this faux pas (sp?) on future picture taking trips.

(BTW, all the theaters in this area are Regal Entertainment theaters apart from the one Signature theater, so I am mainly interested if those chains have no-photo policies.)

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Daryl C. W. O'Shea
Administrator

Posts: 181
From: Midland, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted April 11, 2003 10:01 AM      Profile for Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Email Daryl C. W. O'Shea         Edit/Delete Post 
Bring a spotter! And remember that flashes attract attention and are generally useless for the areas involved.

Plan an escape route too!

Don't forget your cyanide capsule for incase you get captured.

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Adam Martin
Administrator

Posts: 1090
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted April 11, 2003 12:10 PM      Profile for Adam Martin   Author's Homepage   Email Adam Martin         Edit/Delete Post 
Most of the larger circuits have no-photo policies because of ongoing lawsuits. It's a stupid reason, but the one they're using nonetheless.

Whatever you do, please do not photograph the manager's office, the cash/safe room, security devices, or an armored car delivery. These photos will not be published on the site, as they may endanger the safety of patrons and staff.

Whether I ask to take photos or not really depends on the individual situation. Sometimes, I'll walk in and just start shooting (especially if I'm paying to see a movie). Other times, I'll strike up a conversation with the manager. I have even been chased off of a parking lot for taking exterior photos! I guess it all depends on how the theater "feels". I almost never use a flash (see camera description below).

I am in contact with a few people in corporate positions that keep me up to date on new theaters and photos, etc., and hope to expand that contact base further in the future.

My current digital camera of choice is a $350 Kodak EasyShare DX-4900. It has an adjustable everything, including the ability to keep the shutter open for up to 16 seconds. With the right tools, I could probably get some pretty good drive-in photos at night. [Eek!] The battery door on it is broken, so I'll probably upgrade when I take it in for the 2-year no-questions-asked warranty I bought at CompUSA.

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Scott D. Neff
Tour Guide

Posts: 661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted April 12, 2003 12:34 AM      Profile for Scott D. Neff   Email Scott D. Neff         Edit/Delete Post 
I tend to be a little on the timid side when it comes to taking pictures while there are employees around. I don't like drawing attention to myself or making the theatre staff feel uncomfortable so I'll tend not to take pictures unless the place is desserted. This is mostly so I don't have to explain WHY I would possibly want a picture of a movie theatre because most managers, especially CORPORATE managers can't understand why anybody would want a picture of their building. The other reason for this is that I've had too many managers freak out thinking I was taking pictures to case out the joint or for some sort of corporate espionage. As if taking a picture of somebody's lobby or auditorium isn't something that ANYBODY can see on a regular basis by simply buying a ticket.

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Daniel Fuentz
Member

Posts: 212
From: Cleveland, Ohio
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted April 12, 2003 12:48 AM      Profile for Daniel Fuentz   Email Daniel Fuentz         Edit/Delete Post 
Scott, you and I are a lot alike when it comes to picturetaking! [Smile] Your talking of paranoid managers reminds me of a story one of the photogs at work told me. A local fast food place was robbed, and he was sent out to get exterior shots of the building. As he was almost finished, the manager comes running out yelling "YOU CAN'T FILM HERE!!!! YOU CAN'T FILM HERE!!!". She then proceeded to stand in front of the camera and threaten to get one of the nearby police officers to have him "taken away". The photog calmly says "Lady, first off I'm on the SIDEWALK, which is public property. Second, I'm already done getting my shots!" She didn't know what to say to that. [Smile]

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Daniel Fuentz
Member

Posts: 212
From: Cleveland, Ohio
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted April 14, 2003 07:30 PM      Profile for Daniel Fuentz   Email Daniel Fuentz         Edit/Delete Post 
Well, I got the photos back from the developer and only the lobby photos turned out. [Frown] I'll have to go back and re-take the exterior shots during the daytime. I suppose I'll not be able to get auditorium shots until I can afford a good camera... Ah, well, this roll wasn't a complete loss as I did get some good exterior shots of the Regency in Clovis as well as the Crest in downtown Fresno. The Crest is on my "wish list" -- if I had a lot of money I would buy it and restore it, especially the marquee. Most of the marquee's neon is broken and some letters are being held on with duct tape. [Frown]

Scott, I had an idea -- if it's a theater you're not known at you could always say you're from out of town which is why you wanted pictures of this "lovely theater". Unless, of course, the "lovely theater" is a dump. I doubt many managers would be very friendly if you said "your theater is such a dump I just had to have pictures..." [Big Grin]

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Scott D. Neff
Tour Guide

Posts: 661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted April 14, 2003 07:49 PM      Profile for Scott D. Neff   Email Scott D. Neff         Edit/Delete Post 
Actually playing the tourist bit helps a lot... but many managers just look at you like you should be committed.

Hey wait... I need to be committed don't I?

[ April 16, 2003, 10:20 AM: Message edited by: Scott D. Neff ]

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Adam Martin
Administrator

Posts: 1090
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted April 14, 2003 08:19 PM      Profile for Adam Martin   Author's Homepage   Email Adam Martin         Edit/Delete Post 
Actually, Scott you need to be committed. Preferably to an institution where they can teach you how to spell. [Razz]

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Scott D. Neff
Tour Guide

Posts: 661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted April 16, 2003 10:20 AM      Profile for Scott D. Neff   Email Scott D. Neff         Edit/Delete Post 
I don't know what you're talking about... [Cool]

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Dan Wright
New Member

Posts: 23
From: Yakima, WA
Registered: Apr 2003


 - posted April 16, 2003 04:40 PM      Profile for Dan Wright   Email Dan Wright         Edit/Delete Post 
I got chewed out by a cop when I took the pictures of the Camelot theatre in Boise City Oklahoma that I sent to this site.
Boise City is a tiny little town in the middle of nowhere. So small in fact the officer was concerned that I was standing next to cars that were not mine. The town is that small. I explained what I was doing and why and let me keep takeing photos. I think the honest approach is best.

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Roger Katz
Member

Posts: 339
From: Thomaston, CT
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted April 16, 2003 07:04 PM      Profile for Roger Katz   Email Roger Katz         Edit/Delete Post 
I've never been approached by a cop, although if I was on public property when taking the pictures I do not think I would find it necessary to justify what I was doing.

I have, however, been questioned a few times by people dealing drugs or getting drunk in an alley about what I was doing taking photographs. I always assure them that I am only taking pictures of a former movie theatre for the internet, that I am not a cop, and that I have made sure not to accidentally photograph any of them.

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Adam Martin
Administrator

Posts: 1090
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted April 17, 2003 01:31 AM      Profile for Adam Martin   Author's Homepage   Email Adam Martin         Edit/Delete Post 
Ha! I can't begin to count the number of times someone has yelled to me from across the street, "Yo! Po-lice-man!" [Rolling on Floor Laughing]

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Scott D. Neff
Tour Guide

Posts: 661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted April 17, 2003 10:53 AM      Profile for Scott D. Neff   Email Scott D. Neff         Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah -- but how many times have they tried to sell you drugs?

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