Filming? You’re going to need permission for that!

Taking a quick video to send home to Mom and Dad? Filming an interview for a class project? Taking some photos for your MSU club?

Great! BUT

Did you know you need to get permission to film in Innis, Mills or Thode Libraries?

Why? There are legalities and ethical issues to consider. What if you get someone in the background who doesn’t want to be filmed? Are you sure you’re not filming in an area that might  need extra caution because of privacy issues? How are you representing the Library to the great big world out there? Are you taking liberties with the Library’s property or space that you really shouldn’t? Are you risking damage to Library property or worse: damage to yourself and those in your group?

All of these sorts of concerns are every day concerns to the folks who work in the McMaster University Library. There is actually a process in place to take care of these issues and to inform the necessary parties ahead of time that filming will be happening in their area, while still allowing you to get your filming done.

On the Library’s request forms webpage, there is a link under Lobby Displays / Charity Drop Boxes / Advertising on Digital Signage / Permission to Film in Libraries for the form you need to fill out. For your convenience, we’re providing the link check out the form to request permission to film in the libraries. This pulls up a Word document which you can fill out and send to the email address at the top of the form.

It should be noted that if you’re filming in the classroom with the green screen in Lyons New Media Centre, you do not need permission. It’s one of the few (maybe only) spots in the Library you can film but be sure that you have everyone’s permission in that room before filming. For photo shoots and scheduled filming sessions, it’s generally implied, but if you whip out your camera in the middle of class, it’s only polite to ask everyone first, including the instructor!

For filming in the rest of Lyons, you need permission from the Manager (Rhonda Moore) or in her absence, the Library Media Specialist (Kelly Penfold). Ask at the Lyons Help Desk as to how to get in touch with them.

Sure, this probably seems like a lot of silly hoops to jump through just to film a quick Vine video for twitter or take some quick pictures for your class project, but it’s all about covering your backside, while at the same time, being respectful of others around you. The truth of the matter is, many people who frequent these buildings don’t like to be on video, especially when it’s on someone else’s video. Many people are camera shy!

Also consider that many areas around campus deal with private information. Private information can include the identities of people using various campus services. Imagine how horrible it would be if someone found themselves inadvertently “outed” to their peers and/or family by a mis-timed video showing them entering a particular service office.

Remember that you share the space with others on campus and that not everyone might share your enthusiasm for being behind or in front of the camera’s lens. This permission form has been set up so that a conversation can happen between the library staff and yourself, to ensure that the rights of others around you don’t get trod upon and that filming is done right and without a hitch. Happy filming!

An image of a camera sits on an image that says you need permission to film in the libraries


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