Best practice: Signs to look out for

The earlier in a film’s release, the more valuable the film is to pirates

Always stay alert, but pay particular attention during new release periods.
Be extra vigilant on a film’s opening day – first show and last show.

Thieves favour cinemas with light crowds. The first and last shows, early in the release period, are ideal times for attempts to record a film illegally.

Observe customers entering the auditorium

Look for the unusual, such as someone wearing a long or unseasonably heavy coat in warm weather, odd shapes showing through in pockets, or customers carrying shopping bags.
If any of these are observed, discreetly take a closer look.

Begin monitoring the auditorium as customers arrive

Thieves frequently set up long before the film starts. Unless spotted during set up, thieves can be difficult to detect. Monitoring the auditorium in advance of the start time increases the likelihood of detecting or deterring a ‘camcord’ thief.

Consider all possible camera locations

Thieves sometimes use clamps or other devices attached to seats in front of them or beside them to improve the camera's line of sight and to steady the recording. Devices are sometimes placed in cup holders for the same purpose.

Be alert for possible camera concealment

Thieves are very ingenious when it comes to concealing their cameras.
It may be as simple as a coat or hat placed over the camera, or as innovative as a specially-designed concealment device. Pay special attention to clothing, packages or other possible concealment aids placed in line of sight with the screen.

Don't assume that the camcord thief will be alone

Thieves do not always come alone. They may have accomplices who aid in set-up or act as lookouts. The thieves can appear as a couple or even a family – sad to say some thieves have even brought small children with them to use as cover.

Look for glowing lights

Often thieves cannot fully conceal the small glowing light on the camera. If someone is seemingly on their mobile throughout the early part of the film, or if employees notice a small green or red glow in the dark, take a closer look.
‘Professional’ thieves will often also use a remote viewing device to check that the full screen is in the frame.

Pay attention to seating arrangements

Thieves often try to place themselves in the centre of the cinema, or to shield themselves by having accomplices sit on either side of them.

Be aware of ‘friends’ of staff

Does a member(s) of your staff frequently have ‘friends’ coming to the cinema at unusual times?
Look for non-employees, claiming to be friends of an employee or manager, frequenting the cinema at odd hours.

Pay attention to cinema hires

Has an apparently unlikely person approached you about hiring the cinema for a private showing of a new release? Maintain a record of those who seek to hire the cinema for their exclusive use.