Video contract question

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    • #95743

      Hi everyone.

      I recently started up my own video production company. I landed my first big client and agreed to do a one day shoot of their event. Our verbal agreement was that they would receive all of the raw footage of the event in return for the payment. My attorney who drafted our contract advised against giving away the raw footage because if they edited the video internally themselves and it came out poor it would reflect bad upon us.

      I re-drafted the contract to make sure we are able to use the video we shoot for promotional purposes and will edit a great looking version on my site for future clients to see. My questions is how do you deal with clients that want raw footage? I know most video deals are done where the production company is producing an actual video but want to know how to handle this going forward.

      Thank you all!


    • #277813

      There are two kinds of shooting involved. In one scenario you have a client who hires your camera, and you as the operator, to shoot some footage. You shoot, get paid and hand over the footage. You’ve been paid for your labor, expertise and artistry.

      The client is free to do anything with the footage he or she wants, to edit it in-house or perhaps to hire you to edit the piece. If you’re hired to edit the work you shot the client is still in charge. The client is paying for the work and is free to make decisions regarding what the finished product looks like. What the client does with your footage if they edit it in-house won’t reflect on you in any way. If you’re afraid it might, insert a clause in your contract that forbids you name being used in the finished product it if isn’t edited by you.

      Think of this kind of situation as comparable to creating a brick wall for a friend’s garden. You lay brick all day and get paid as the sun sets. You retain no equity in the wall and can’t complain if your neighbor plasters over it a month later.

      The second scenario is where you create a personal video. You finance it, shoot it, edit it and retain copyright and distribution rights. Full responsibility and ownership is yours.

    • #277816

      There’s a half way house – you sell them the rights to use the footage for a period, in a location and for certain things. I occasionally do this where I want the material, but the reality is that it’s often just simplest to just flog it to them and move on. Keep in the clause about you using it for marketing or whatever, but I’ve very rarely re-used much. Think about TV – you are local to something happening, so they call you, you go and shoot raw footage, hand it over and they pay you. No credits or acknowledgements and you cannot use the footage yourself. Price it accordingly and take the money. Any medium in any territory and for perpetuity seem to be common requests.

    • #277820

      It depends on where you’re located, and what agreements you had with the client IN WRITING. I think your attorney is referencing a photographer agreement instead of a video production company. First, how would anyone know that it’s YOUR footage being edited by someone else. I believe some wedding video companies do not wish to release their footage either.

      But in this case, the client is hiring you to shoot their event. It’s their event, their employees or customers, and they should have the rights to the footage. What we do is offer to provide it to the client for a certain cost. They can provide me a hard drive and I’ll offload the footage. or I’ll provide one and mark it up.

      Here’s an important thing to consider. Make sure that you never give the client anything with you or your crews voice on it. For example, what if you are complaining about the project to someone else, and the audio is on the footage. Not Good. You may wish to clean up the footage before giving it to the client.

      Greg Ball, President
      Ball Media Innovations, Inc.

    • #277832

      Most of the time client want the raw footage to be able to edit it in the future, either by themselves or using another video production company. I would suggest you against that, you can draft a contract saying that the finish product they can have is the approved version. They pay for the filming service and the final version, not the source. So in the future you can have business with them again when they want to revise something with the video.

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