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Footage Rights

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Aaron Cadieux
Footage Rights
on Jan 23, 2012 at 3:23:04 pm


So I was hired to film an entire high school football season by a parent this year. The footage is being used to create a highlight reel for his son for college recruiters. I made some money doing it, but I didn't charge nearly as much as I should have. It was agreed in advance that the client would own full rights to the footage. I honored the agreement.

I've had multiple parents from the same school inquire about having highlight reels edited for their kids using the same footage. I've had to tell them that in order to gain access to the footage, they'd need to split the cost of my bill with my original client. So far, none of the parents have wanted to do that. In some cases parents get game films from other sources and have me edit the reels using that footage (and not the footage I shot for the original client).

Basically, I've had to turn down business because I don't own the rights to the footage. I've decided that moving forward I am going to have two separate rates for freelance sports videography. The first rate gives the client full access to the films, but gives ME full ownership of the footage. The second (much higher rate) will give the client full access and ownership of the films.

Is this a realistic way of pricing out freelance work?



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Mark Suszko
Re: Footage Rights
on Jan 24, 2012 at 3:52:21 pm

I think so. You're still on a learning curve when it comes to billing, you'll know better the next time. The worst thing you could do though is realizing you underbid, then going back tot he client to try to increase the original bill. That's never going to work out well for you. So, going forward, with what you've learned, yes, you can offer two rates, or you can just make clear in written language when the agreement is a "work for hire". In a Work For Hire, the client owns everything, raw and finished. If you want to retain the footage righs, spell it out on the contract: " Client will own the rights to the finished master copy of the production. The producer retains rights to, and ownership of, the raw footage of the events photographed, and no exclusivity of this footage to the client is implied or agreed to".

I think with language like that, a two-tiered rate becomes more or less irrelevant.

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Brent Dunn
Re: Footage Rights
on Jan 25, 2012 at 6:30:06 pm

I do a lot of sports recruiting video. I have it in my contract that I can sell copies to other clients. I charge these clients accordingly, which is more than if they would have paid splitting the cost among each other.

Cost is based on, number of games, highlight reel, hosting a recruiting web page that we will update when needed.

Some parents don't want to pay, so I let them know, you can pay me now and possible get a scholarship that will save you $25,000 or more, or do nothing. I even tell them how to do it themselves, which most never do because it's too much work.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
Video Marketing

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite

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