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Flying: Birds

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MacGyverMagic
498945.  Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:32 am Reply with quote

Note: Maybe a good question to use when Rich Hall is on the show?

Preamble: Making movies isn't always as straightforward as it might seem.

Question: The film "The Crow" and the TV show "Six Feet Under" shared a common problem during production. What was it?

(If that doesn't ring any bells, Stephen can ask a follow up question: "What problem do American filmmakers face when they want to make a film involving crows?" - or he can ask this one straight away)

Forfeit:
- A bird shat on the camera.
- The lead actor died.
- It's illegal to film crows for commercial purposes.

Answer:
Contrary to popular belief, there is no specific law against filming crows. However, there is the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Its intent was to preserve the native birds of the Americas, many of which were facing possible extinction by the early 1900s because of hunting and the desirability of their feathers, eggs, and flesh.

Quote:
Unless and except as permitted by regulations ... it shall be unlawful at any time, by any means, or in any manner ... to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill ... possess, offer for sale, sell ... purchase, import ... any migratory bird, any part, nest, or eggs of any such bird...
Approximately 83% of all species of birds native to America are protected by the treaty, crows included. Basically, only game birds (pheasants, ducks) and exceedingly common pests (sparrows, pigeons) are exempt.


This has consequences for film makers. If a crow appears on screen, particularly in an artistic or "staged" setting, it implies that the the crow is operating under the influence of a trainer, which also implies that the crow is owned by a person - which is illegal.

So when studios need crows to do something particular which makes it impractical to wait around, they typically work around the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by using related species from outside the United States — birds that are not protected — as stand-ins. Often these foreign crows require "makeup" to remove white patches.

Funnily enough, the treaty also has an exemption. Many US states have a hunting season for crows. You can kill them (in season), but you can't use them in commercial movies (unless you're very patient and wait for a crow to do what you want without capturing or disturbing it).

Sources:
Yahoo! Answer Man: Can't film a crow
Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918
CrowBusters - "Regulations for Crows" by Doug Wigfield


Last edited by MacGyverMagic on Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:14 pm; edited 2 times in total

 
QiScorpion
498982.  Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:16 am Reply with quote

Obviously i'll be klaxoned if i mention birds

so I'll say that the problem was bad weather conditions... :P

 
soup
499117.  Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:12 pm Reply with quote

The star died.

 
Ion Zone
499257.  Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:21 pm Reply with quote

The blue-screen looked obvious.

 
MacGyverMagic
499352.  Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:14 pm Reply with quote

QiScorpion wrote:
Obviously i'll be klaxoned if i mention birds

so I'll say that the problem was bad weather conditions... :P
Actually, I didn't post it under birds for nothing. It's a clue...

 
MacGyverMagic
499354.  Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:15 pm Reply with quote

soup wrote:
The star died.
Really? I know of Brandon Lee, but who died in Six Feet Under (as in real dying)?

 
soup
499426.  Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:18 am Reply with quote

MacGyverMagic wrote:
soup wrote:
The star died.
Really? I know of Brandon Lee, but who died in Six Feet Under (as in real dying)?


I don't know if anyone did, the "famous" thing about the Crow was the star died so I just extrapolated from there .

 
misterchris
499579.  Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:18 am Reply with quote

hmmm

a bird shat on the camera?

 
MacGyverMagic
499727.  Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:50 am Reply with quote

If you consider that to be a serious problem, I'll have to klaxon you.

 
Ameena
499911.  Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:32 pm Reply with quote

You didn't say "serious" problem, you said "common" problem ;).

 
Posital
499935.  Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:46 pm Reply with quote

The birds got drunk on José Cuervo and simultaneously migrated to crowthorne (berks) in search of their nirvana.

 
misterchris
499989.  Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:55 pm Reply with quote

lots of birds simultaneously shat on the camera

that'd be serious :)

 
MacGyverMagic
500013.  Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:39 pm Reply with quote

Posital wrote:
The birds got drunk on José Cuervo and simultaneously migrated to crowthorne (berks) in search of their nirvana.
Not right, but if this was the only answer, you'd get points because you touched upon the answer I was looking for very briefly in a roundabout indirect way.

 
bobwilson
500016.  Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:43 pm Reply with quote

the film crow got drunk?

 
bobwilson
500018.  Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:44 pm Reply with quote

(decides not to edit the obvious typo and instead pretend it was deliberate)

 

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