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Making Films & Videos/Video Shooting for Live Performances in Plays.



Is it Possible to Video shoot the complete Live Performances of Artists in Plays without the audience coming to know that the video shoot is going on in background ?.

As a example, Play of 2 1/2 hours duration.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Hello,

If the cameras are set up on tripods at the side and the back, the audience may see the cameras before the show or during intermission, but it will not distract anyone from the actual performance.  This is the standard way of shooting a play.  Does that answer your question?

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Thank you.

1. Is it possible to setup CCTV Systems, Video Cameras and other video recording equipment in Auditorium, Amphitheaters for capturing Live Footage of Plays ?.

2. Is it legally allowed to shoot a Live Play by the Play Director, Producer, Publisher and show the same play in Theater or Television in the future ?.

As a Example : "The Merchant of Venice" - William Shakespeare Play was organised and Played many times in a Auditorium / Amphitheater where there were live performances by stage artists. The Play Director / producer /
Publisher of the Play Shoot a Live Video of the same.

Now After specific time period, Can the Play Director/Producer show it on Television and Theaters ?.

Here in theater and television media, now the audiences will be watching the same play but not live performances, but the one which were recorded.

Is it legal to produce and distribute medias viz films, videos of the Original Play to the Audiences ?.

i.e. Live Play -> Auditorium, Amphitheater -> Converted Video, Films Media -> Television, Theater.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

A lot of this really depends on the level of what you are filmimg.  Recording a high school or elementary play to make DVD's for parents to buy is one thing, while filming a Broadway play in a large auditorium in hopes to broadcast the play on TV is completely different.

1.  Yes, you can do CCTV if you have the money to do it.  You will also need a control room where a Director and probably and audio person will run the Video Switcher, audio recording and other production procedures.  

The most common way to record theater on a small scale is to have 3-4 cameras/camerapeople recording the whole production on each camera and then editing it after the show is over using footage from all the cameras. You could also use a portable video switcher at the event, but that will require cabling, mixing audio, etc.

2.  If it is filmed by the play's producer, then they have the right to do whatever they want with it as long as they secure any rights they don't currently possess such as the copyrights to the screenplay, music, etc.  If they own the rights to the material, they can do whatever they want with it.  If they don't own the rights, then they certainly need to look into obtaining them for what they want to do.  If it's just created to sell DVD's to local people, it's probably not a big deal (they do it all the time in my community and no one has ever had a problem).

So basically, small, local productions can film their theater and sell a few DVD's without much of a problem.  Anything larger than that, you will need to check into what the producer's copyrights will allow.  Legally speaking, you can't do anything that you don't have copyright permission to do, but it is up to you to assess the risk you are willing to take if you choose to go against copyright to produce a DVD or TV show.

As usual, I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, so please check with a lawyer if you choose to move forward in this for your own protection  :)

Hope this helps, Prashant

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Troy Smith


I am a professional filmmaker (since 1995) and a professional film instructor (since 2000). I am the co-owner of Imminent Entertainment LLC. I have worked on several low-budget feature films as well as hundreds of other projects including TV commercials, concert videos, live sports for TV, sports highlights, broadcast news, faith productions, large multi-media multi-camera productions, weddings, educational, corporate, promotional, short films, documentaries and more. I have written a book called "The New Filmmaker's Adventure" that will be more widely distributed in the near future. My expertise is in writing, shooting and editing. I can answer questions on Final Cut Pro, lighting, sound recording, scriptwriting, storytelling, directing, producing, editing, multi-camera productions, shooting sports, picture to video, using DTE hard drives, using video cameras. I am NOT an expert on how to sell scripts or movies, how to finance them, how to distribute them or how to get an agent. See my WEB PAGES: and


I have been a professional filmmaker since 1995 and a film teacher since 2000. I am publishing a textbook for beginning filmmakers called "the New Filmmaker's Adventure". I have experience in the area of low-budget feature filmmaking, I am the co-owner of the production company called Imminent Entertainment, I have worked on hundreds of videos, TV shows, multi-camera events and low budget, professional productions, corporate and consumer videos, Final Cut Pro, scriptwriting, directing, videography and cinematography, sound, lighting, editing, and some producing.

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I wrote "The New Filmmaker's Adventure" book that I use in my classes and will be publishing it abroad soon

Western Michigan University - Magna cum Laude BS in film/video/TV Maine Media Workshops ('02-'07)- Film Editor Master, Directing Actors for the Camera, Independent Filmmaking, Acting for the Camera, Camera in Motion, The Directors Craft

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Audience Choice Runner-Up award for Best Picture at the Muskegon Film Festival in 2009 for Producer/editor on "Coffee Shop Kings." Excellence in Education Teaching award. Winner of 12 grants.

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Kellogg, Covance, Cytec, WWMT, Ralston, many, many more

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