Filming coffee shops is great because you catch people on a caffeine high and everyone wants to be on camera!
Usually, filming in certain venues requires some sort of permission grant signed by whoever is being filmed, like a release form, so they can’t turn around and sue you when the video ends up on the internet. Luckily, I’m very diligent with getting release forms signed.
But even with that, it’s always tricky filming the people on location because they are often suspicious of your intentions and can suddenly become quite alarmed.
How most places handle this uncomfortable issue is they put up a sign notifying the patrons there is a film shoot going on. Basically, such a sign puts them at ease by informing people on their way into the venue. It also waives any responsibility legally on behalf of the venue because it means anyone who is there has been ‘told’. And by being told, they’re indirectly giving their consent to be filmed. Unless they explicitly object, the venue assumes they are happy with it. If they’re not happy with it, it’s their responsibility to get out of the shot or ask the filmmaker to exclude them from the shot.
It’s a great way to get around the problem.
Though, for some reason, coffee shops are always less likely to be fussy.
Everyone is there meeting friends or having little business meetings or church gatherings, so it’s not like a Hollywood production. Putting up signs everywhere almost never has to happen because no one ever really has an issue (at least in my experience). And, if they do, it’s easy enough for them to come up and tell you.
I think today in general, people are becoming more relaxed anyway. I’m realizing this because with all the social media going on, there are so many people besides the professionals who are raising a camera for social reasons. The atmosphere is more personal and there’s a striking kind of trust fueled with adrenaline and excitement.
Skybok has filmed dozens of coffee shops in South Africa, here are some of my favorites below. Enjoy!