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  • Tripods outside the U.S. Capitol

  • Bob Cole

    January 9, 2021 at 6:52 pm

    I offer this up for greater minds to consider: one small data point related to the coverage of the law enforcement debacle at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

    If you want to meet a member of the U.S. Capitol police force, here’s how you can do that: Set your camera on a tripod anywhere in the Capitol Grounds. It won’t take two minutes for at least two members of the force to appear and let you know that you need special permission to do that.

    I certainly am not impugning the members of the U.S. Capitol police force; they’re doing what they’ve been told to do (though the rule seems ridiculous when it’s one guy with a DSLR on a tripod). They have a very tough job, and try to do it with grace – and one paid with his life.

    Bob C

  • Mark Raudonis

    January 10, 2021 at 12:54 am

    Bob, I’m sure you know that there are designated spots on the capitol grounds where anyone can set up a tripod and NOT be questioned. These spots have been negotiated with the media and offer “classic” dome background angles. Having lived in DC in another life, the “no tripod” rule applies to just about EVERY public space in DC. The mall. The monuments. The museums. I’d also add that here in Los Angeles, you’re going to get the same response: Tripod? Where’s your permit?

  • Tony West

    January 12, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    Hi Bob, having shot on federal land for years, I can share with you, how the tripod rule and its history came about, as it was explained to me. Years ago I wanted to shoot inside The Old Courthouse (famous for the Dred Scott case) in St. Louis. I knew about the permit rule as I have shot on the Arch grounds that sit near by, for years. My plan was to just walk in there and get a quick shot of the incredible dome and then get out before anyone even noticed : ). To my surprise, as soon as the tripod’s feet hit the floor, “Poof”!!! A woman appeared seemingly out of no where and said, “ You need to speak with Ms. so and so before you record in here”. OK, I said, let’s talk with her. She led me to her office and Ms so and so was very nice and presented me with a letter from Congress. It essentially said that, a member of Congress (I don’t know who) had noticed that production companies had been doing full productions on federal land for free. The member said, “if they were filming on private land they would have to pay, so they should have to pay the government also.” Not as much, but I think they arrived around 300 bucks. They then would have to of course determine who was a Pro and who was a tourist, and they kind of seem to use the tripod as the marker. They haven’t really kept up with the changing technology over the years, as this was passed long before people were shooting video with phones and DSLRs on stabilizers for professional jobs. So there you have it. I thought you guys might find that history interesting, I know I did that day.

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