A Man With a Movie Camera explores filmmaking in a unique and raw way. Dziga Vertov films everything he sees and his camera follows him everywhere in order to depict a Soviet city as accurately as possible. It made me wonder about the concept of consent while filming. Obviously, this is something that has become much more prevalent in today’s media than it was back in 1920’s when Vertov made his film. Nowadays, filming someone requires clear permission, release forms, blurring faces of those who don’t agree to be filmed, etc. It’s become such a standard practice that basic release forms are available to download online. But back then, what were the rules of consent in terms of making films like A Man With a Movie Camera? Aria brought up a great point in her post about cameras becoming smaller, more discrete and easier to hide causing privacy to potentially be violated. But during the time A Man With a Movie Camera was made, there was no way the camera could have been hidden or made discrete in any way. So what did early filmmakers do in terms of consent from their subjects?

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3 responses »

  1. ariatung says:

    I tried to google the history of consent and recording, and I couldn’t really anything that explained the history behind it that well. But one idea I’m thinking that changed consent with filming is as with a lot of laws, someone recorded someone else without their consent, and this caused a problem for them, so the recorded person sued and then more consent laws were implemented?

  2. alicecmullin says:

    This is something I’m curious about too. The live birth and the image of the person in the open casket in particular really struck me while we were watching the film.

  3. palomapineda19 says:

    I’m glad that you brought consent up as the other commenters have noted this is a really interesting topic. It think consent and filmmaking became synonymous as the idea of an “online” and “offline” identity and public image came into fruition. Today, cinematography and capturing a scene is considered power, and the fact that this form of media can circulate in our cybernetic society in a matter of seconds proves how important it is to guard one’s online identity.

    Back when “A Man with a Movie Camera” was filmed, documentary cinema was still a relatively new concept. Vertov’s ability to film without consent, I believe, was a result of the society’s view of documentaries as new media, and thus did not warrant explicit permission from the public.

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