Guerrilla Style Video NYC
Possibly one of the most rigorous types of shoot for any filmmaker is guerrilla style shooting. Guerrilla style is very fast paced and often requires very little setup, since the goal is to successfully complete the shot in as little time as possible. Independent filmmakers and amateur filmmakers alike often prefer to shoot guerrilla style, especially in large urban areas, because shooting can be achieved using skeleton crews.
Some of the benefits of shooting guerrilla style in New York are: permits aren’t necessary as long as traffic is not blocked and damage to property or harm to people is not caused. Only a small camera crew size is needed, little to no money is spent, setup does not take a lot of time, and production value is elevated in terms of the scenery. While these benefits are very appealing, it is important to understand that there are many pitfalls to shooting guerrilla style in New York.
Perhaps one of the most common mistakes is not allocating enough time to planning each shot. The director and DP should remember that shooting outside without the aid of any artificial lights means dealing with volatile natural lighting. It is imperative that each shot be planned according to the position of the sun through blocking, which should be planned out ahead of time.
Although the resulting shots may not be blocked exactly as planned, it is still helpful to have an idea where the camera and subject will be. It is also important to note the level of foot traffic present at the location where you are shooting. While it may seem to be a more viable option in terms of production value, avoiding larger areas with popular landmarks will lower the chance of being asked to stop filming and the scene can be shot without interruption by other people walking through.
In New York the rule of thumb for shooting guerrilla style is that a filming permit isn’t necessary. However, if filming outside a residence or a certain federal building, the police can ask the crew to cease filming and move on. For most other situations though, as long as the camera crew and the subjects being filmed do not obstruct traffic (foot traffic as well), do damage to property or harm any person, the crew is permitted to film without having to obtain pertinent paperwork.