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From Albania to Zaire, there's a whole world out there.
183

Movie in the park
Topic by: PurpleJesus
Posted: August 24, 2004 - 12:32 PM PDT
Last Reply: September 4, 2004 - 12:46 PM PDT

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author topic: Movie in the park
PurpleJesus
post #1  on August 24, 2004 - 12:32 PM PDT  
I've been thinking about starting up something to show movies in the park. We could show foreign films with subtitles or use closed captioning. I'm not sure the logistics of bringing in sound, might be difficult. I can get a projector we could use to show DVDs.

Anyone have any ideas about something like this? I've heard of this type of thing happening in San Francisco before. Have you been to one?
Cinenaut
post #2  on August 25, 2004 - 10:44 AM PDT  
A lot of cities do this. I've never been to one, but it really sounds like fun. I suppose the sound could be tricky if you have a large crowd, but it shouldn't be too big of a deal for a smaller group.
woozy
post #3  on August 25, 2004 - 11:23 AM PDT  
> On August 25, 2004 - 10:44 AM PDT Cinenaut wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> A lot of cities do this. I've never been to one, but it really sounds like fun. I suppose the sound could be tricky if you have a large crowd, but it shouldn't be too big of a deal for a smaller group.
> ---------------------------------

I know nothing about electronics but my college had this for a large group in an open field. Sound was handled the same way I've seen it handled for concerts in the park, plays in the park, etc. with electrical wires running from the stage (only with a movie the sound doesn't eminate from the stage) to a guy with a sound box on a table and some remote speakers. Don't know how those work but I assume most theater techies do. Bigger concern, I'd assume, is setting up a large enough screen.

underdog
post #4  on August 25, 2004 - 12:24 PM PDT  
A couple of places I believe they do this in San Francisco currently: in the Presidio (I think they were planning on showing a monster movie, or maybe it happened already), and in Washington Square park in North Beach. They also do this at the Pyramid Brewery in Berkeley, I think...

I don't have the contact info for any of these handy but you could do a search in Google or on Craigslist.org. Only mention these so that a) you can check them out to see how other people are logistically doing outdoor screenings and b) go to screenings for fun before you can organize your own.

Other possibilities, besides parks, which might require lots of permit red tape because they are public spaces, would be at a bar or restaurant with an outdoor space/backyard, or some place that you can rent. Smaller spaces mean less hassle finding a humungous screen, as Woozy alluded. But you could contact the parks and rec dept in your area to check out what they will and won't allow...

Good luck! Let us know if you get something going; you can announce it here.

C
kamapuaa
post #5  on August 26, 2004 - 1:35 AM PDT  
They do it about a block from my apartment, renting a parking lot and projecting movies against the side of a building. I don't think it's that difficult to set up, I think the problem is, if it gets too popular, the MPAA sends you a cease-and-desist letter. There was a NY Times article about doing such a thing two weeks ago.


Sound? Easy! Speakers are cheap. AM radio transmission is cheap.

If this works out, please post the details to Greencine, I'd be interested.

underdog
post #6  on August 26, 2004 - 10:50 AM PDT  
Ah, I found one of the groups I was trying to remember.

Go here for Film Night in the Park schedule (here for the whole site). They have screenings in Marin county and in San Francisco. (Dark Passage plays in September)

Man, we should team up with them for something...

kolohe61
post #7  on August 26, 2004 - 8:59 PM PDT  
In Honolulu, on Waikiki Beach, they show a movie on the beach on Saturday nights. Usually a pretty recent one, too.
kamapuaa
post #8  on August 27, 2004 - 1:25 AM PDT  
> In Honolulu, on Waikiki Beach, they show a movie on the beach on Saturday nights. Usually a pretty recent one, too.

Yeah, but that's legit! There's also people who project in empty lots, without the express written consent of major league Baseball. I found a reprint of the NY Times article I was talking about, pretty cool stuff.

I went to something similar in Paris - to my surprise it was the B&W "Billy Budd." More to my surprise, it ended up being a very good movie despite some obvious corniness. More surprising, somehow the movie hasn't been released on DVD.
PurpleJesus
post #9  on August 27, 2004 - 8:05 PM PDT  
How can the MPAA have any say if no one charges anything to watch it? That's what I don't understand. The MPAA says they want to bring good films to the public, but when someone does, they file a lawsuit.

I've thought about the FM transmission for sound, but I need a transmitter. Need to figure out a way to power the projector also. I created a google group called FreeFilms if anyone is interested in joining the club.

Thanks for all the tips. I'm still researching logistics, but it sounds possible for sure.
lizzoqops
post #10  on August 27, 2004 - 9:34 PM PDT  
> On August 27, 2004 - 8:05 PM PDT PurpleJesus wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> How can the MPAA have any say if no one charges anything to watch it? That's what I don't understand. The MPAA says they want to bring good films to the public, but when someone does, they file a lawsuit.
>
> ---------------------------------

A Ha Ha Ha!

When did the MPAA say they wanted to "Bring" good movies to the public? They want to sell good movies to the public. And they want you to pay them to show the movies. It's just a business. Really, when you think about it, it's the same as downloading a movie. People are sharing it for free, but it's still piracy. In fact, I think I owe them money just for telling you this.
PurpleJesus
post #11  on August 28, 2004 - 12:41 AM PDT  
What if I invite everyone over to my house? Is it legal then?
lizzoqops
post #12  on August 28, 2004 - 7:43 AM PDT  
I think so, as long as you wipe their memories before they walk out the door.
woozy
post #13  on August 28, 2004 - 9:25 AM PDT  
> On August 28, 2004 - 12:41 AM PDT PurpleJesus wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> What if I invite everyone over to my house? Is it legal then?
> ---------------------------------

Good question. Forty years ago my father used to rent films and show them in our house. Back then the film rentals had a pricing structure based on the number of people being shown (based on honor system and maybe commercial cinema license) which my dad abused.

Be careful though. Do research and don't assume laws have anything to do with rational arguments. I have a hunch what you are thinking of doing will be viewed as illegal. Don't get me wrong, I wish you the best of luck. Just be careful.

"Home Viewing" may or may not have a top number of viewers or a practical space limitation.

PurpleJesus
post #14  on August 30, 2004 - 2:37 AM PDT  
Yep, seems from articles posted here that it might be illegal (according to the MPAA anyway, though I'm not sure a precedent has been set, i'll do more research), but so is speeding and I do that... well... not so much anymore, but I have, excessively so. There I admit it. Still though, I don't find anything morally reprehensible about watching movies with my friends, or even acquaintances or passers by, in a park. What about the fair use law?

Part of the idea is that before the movie, have a powerpoint of questions pertaining to the movie. For example, before "Jean de Florette" we might ask, "Have you ever considered changing your environment from urban to rural or vice versa? How might you expect your new community to accept you?" Something like that. Then, after the movie, ask more questions about say, "Who was ultimately responsible for [insert spoiler here]?"

Perhaps public park showings are illegal according to the MPAA, but I'm sure I could make a good argument in court for such an event as being valuable, not only to society, but to the MPAA as well. After all, laws are written such that they can be interpretted for either side right? I'd be willing to fight for this one. I'm not even suggesting copying it, just showing it, the original, as it was manufactured, using perfectly legal devices.

I mean... where do you draw the line, you know? If I take a stereo to the park and play a copyrighted CD, could I go to jail? I really can't imagine such a thing would land me a sentence or even a fine and if it does... wow... I really wouldn't want to live in a country like that.
lizzoqops
post #15  on August 30, 2004 - 5:43 AM PDT  
No you won't go to jail, but here's an example: Say I'm John Kerry, and before every event I have I want to blast Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Chuck Berry, and a couple of other songs. Over and over. To punish the workers and volunteers of said events : ) Anyway, I have to get permission from the artists and the RIAA to do this. And possibly pay royalties to do this. If I don't do this, I am fined. Big time. Now there may be variations to this when it comes to movies, but that's how it works. All hail the capitalist system. Amen.
dh22
post #16  on August 30, 2004 - 12:05 PM PDT  
> On August 30, 2004 - 5:43 AM PDT lizzoqops wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> No you won't go to jail, but here's an example: Say I'm John Kerry, and before every event I have I want to blast Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Chuck Berry, and a couple of other songs. Over and over. To punish the workers and volunteers of said events : ) Anyway, I have to get permission from the artists and the RIAA to do this. And possibly pay royalties to do this. If I don't do this, I am fined. Big time. Now there may be variations to this when it comes to movies, but that's how it works. All hail the capitalist system. Amen.
> ---------------------------------

This is different. Using the music during a political rally is not part of fair use. You need the approval of the artist because using their work can be construde as the artist giving their support for the candidate. The artist has the right to dictate how their music and voice are used.
lizzoqops
post #17  on August 30, 2004 - 3:02 PM PDT  
>
> This is different. Using the music during a political rally is not part of fair use. You need the approval of the artist because using their work can be construde as the artist giving their support for the candidate. The artist has the right to dictate how their music and voice are used.
> ---------------------------------

Yeah, I knew this was a bad example after I thought about it, but I still had to listen to this damn music over and over more than once in the last few weeks.

How about, I go to Starbucks and they play the same Bob Marley songs over and over? I don't hang out there, so I think it's cool, but the people who work there start to hate Bob Marley! And they have to pay the RIAA! Ok, this is probably a bad example, too.
oldkingcole
post #18  on August 30, 2004 - 4:56 PM PDT  
> On August 30, 2004 - 2:37 AM PDT PurpleJesus wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> What about the fair use law?

Purple,

Your plan runs afoul of clauses 3 and 4.

Clause 3 asks if you are using just a small, insubstantial excerpt, or if you are using substantial portions of the work. Fair use *might* come into play if you were giving a lecture analyzing the film and just showing clips to illustrate your points. But showing the entire film almost certainly doesn't fall under the umbrella of fair use as I understand it.

Clause 4 asks what the commercial effects of your proposed fair use of the material would be. In this case, the rental industry would likely claim that your free showing of their movie denies them rental income in direct proportion to the number of people who attend your screening.

There might be other legal arguments by which you could justify a public screening, but I don't think fair use is among them. Sorry.
oldkingcole
post #19  on August 30, 2004 - 5:06 PM PDT  
> On August 28, 2004 - 12:41 AM PDT PurpleJesus wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> What if I invite everyone over to my house? Is it legal then?
> ---------------------------------

It actually says so on most DVD packaging. For example, my copy of "Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe" positively asserts that

"The program contained in this DVD is authorized for private home use only. All other rights are retained by the copyright proprietor. The FBI investigates allegations of copyright infringement, and federal law provides severe criminal and civic penalties for those found to be in violation."

My "The Dick Van Dyke Show" DVD says,

"Warning: The copyright in this video will be infringed by unauthorised copying, broadcasting, transmitting to subscribers to a diffusion service and by causing it to be seen or heard in public." (emphasis mine)

But by implication, home viewing is OK.
PurpleJesus
post #20  on August 30, 2004 - 6:07 PM PDT  
That's it, I'm defecting.
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