Scott D. Neff
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Feb 2003
posted October 24, 2010 10:45 AM
Matthew I just re-read this thread and realize that I never responded to your post about getting interior shots. Sometimes I check the forums on my phone and it's a pain to post so I always say I'll do it later and never do.
In general though there are a few things you can try if you're not wanting to ask management or know that they are going to say no or look at you like you have three horns coming out of your eyes. This applies mainly to modern multi/megaplexes because usually at the older theatres they're independent and usually more friendly. When it comes to older ornate places they'll usually just let you in if you gush over the architecture because you're not the first person to ask.
The key in all situations is to be respectful and polite. If somebody asks you to stop, apologize and stop. They can ask you to delete the photos you took but you as a photographer are under no obligation to do so. Just leave. I often act like I just got my camera and am simply playing with it out of novelty, usually nobody approaches me.
Another thing that worked when I looked college aged was "Can I take some pictures for a project I'm working on?" I never said it was for college but people would assume (especially if it was in a college town.)
For simple lobby/hallway photos we'll often just press the camera up against the glass. Sometimes it requires an extra hand to cover the lense to block reflections but usually gets something decent. Yeah it's just a lobby or hallway shot and not an auditorium shot but it's better than just a series of exterior photos (imo anyway). Remember at some multiplexes the exit doors away from the lobby are often glass so you can walk down to them and get a shot of the hallway and perhaps the satellite concession stand.
Some companies have "open lobby" where the ticket takers aren't posted at the front door but instead at the sides of the lobby so you can at least wander inside, sit down on a bench and take some discreet photos of the lobby.
When they don't have open lobby simply asking to use the bathroom can be enough to get past the ticket taker and down the hallways. Sometimes you can sneak into an empty auditorium and get a decent photo by resting the camera on a ledge somewhere and setting the camera for time delay.
Nothing though beats having permission. Then you can setup the camera on a tri-pod and get decent photos of the entire complex. It's a shame more chains aren't cooperative with us because I really do hate taking crappy photos of their theatres. It doesn't do anybody any good. Often we'll visit a theatre that is somewhat run down and the pictures we take with a tripod will make the theatre look magnificent. That same theatre w/o permission comes out dark, grainy and sometimes out of focus.
Can you tell I'm itching for another cinematour trip?? I need more money.
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