Permissions and Media Releases - Digital Promise

Permissions and Media Releases

If someone will have a significant role in front of the camera, you will need to get their permission (in the form of a media release) to film them or take photos of them. A “significant role” means a role where you clearly see the person’s face, or where they are distinct from a crowd. For example, you’ll need a release for your main actors who drive the storyline. You may not need releases for people who are just walking down the street at a distance from the camera. Just to be safe, if you’re in doubt about who needs a release or not, get a release!

  • Youth (younger than 18) at your school may already have a media released signed and on file with the school. Before filming your peers, ask them (or ask your teacher) if their parents or guardians have given the school permission for them to appear in video.
  • Youth (younger than 18) from outside your school need a parent or guardian to sign their media release. Adults (18 and older) can sign their own media release.

Here are two sample model release forms:

Tip for Educators: Media Releases

Since part of this project involves sharing student work, it’s important to make sure ALL people appearing in front of the camera have given their permission (or their guardian has, in the case of minors) to be featured.

  • Students: It is likely that your school has already facilitated the collection of student media releases from parents/guardians, so it’s a good idea to remind students without releases to opt out of being in front of the camera.
  • Non-students: When filming or taking photos outside the school community, students will need to get permission from anyone who appears in a significant way in front of the camera, including adult community members and children (which requires guardian consent). Discuss the importance of releases with your students, collect any releases that students gather, and keep them on file for each film your students produce.

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