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Demo Reel Guidlines Copyrights

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Ian Zainea
Demo Reel Guidlines Copyrights
on Apr 27, 2013 at 4:05:33 am

Hello all, I am currently working for a video production company. We produce a TV show and several commercials. I was under the impression I could use clips from the projects I was heavily involved in there as a part of my demo reel. I will be putting a lower third on it that says "Editor" or "Shooter" or "VFX compositor," etc.

Thanks for your help ahead of time.

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Bill Davis
Re: Demo Reel Guidlines Copyrights
on Apr 27, 2013 at 6:51:51 am

It's always been standard practice in the industry for creatives who directly work on projects to use examples of their contributions for self-promotion.

It's a good reflection on the shop itself, that the workers feel proud of their contributions.

There may be exceptions if the work contains propriatrary information about a business.

But generally speaking, I've never known a situation where a copyright holder pushed back on that.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.

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Mike Smith
Re: Demo Reel Guidlines Copyrights
on Apr 27, 2013 at 12:25:31 pm

Your boss would have to approve that.

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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Demo Reel Guidlines Copyrights
on Apr 27, 2013 at 5:18:01 pm

I think that I would tend to agree with both Bill and Mike. If you were involved in a large part of the project, it should be your right to have it on your demo reel, but it gets tricky very fast. If you're going to use this demo reel to bring in work in direct competition with the facility in which you did the "work for hire", then your boss might have a problem with that.

I do quite a bit of contract work for a television production house - they hire me to do motion graphics and animation, which is then put into a larger production, which they shoot and edit. When I present the elements on my website video gallery, I only use the elements I created, and explain, with CGs, just what these elements were used for, and sometimes point the viewer to the website where the full production lives.

I think that you have the right to represent what was your work as your work, but it might be a courtesy to run it by your boss. If he says no, then you may want to start thinking about other options...
I'm sure he'll be fair about it.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media

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Mark Suszko
Re: Demo Reel Guidlines Copyrights
on Apr 29, 2013 at 7:40:21 pm

It is always smart to discuss this topic in advance of the work, regarding how much if any the client will allow you to use in your demo reel, and under what conditions.

Asking after the fact, you have to be even MORE tactful. Some typical restrictions:

-can not show client logo
-can't show entire work
-can show intermediate steps only
-can only link to materials on client-controlled sites
-can only show stills
-can show for x months then must get a renewal or remove it
-can only show elements the client specifies

They don't always make these rules just to be jerks. A lot of it is based on requirements from their legal department and contractors, and it has to do with their duty to protect their branding and stay in control of who uses it and how and for what purposes. Also, campaigns have a shelf life and often the owners want the old imagery to fade away into obscurity so as not to compete with the new campaign and muddy people's perceptions. So in cases like that, they may not want to let you show too much in a portfolio, unless you have made them feel safe and in control of the imagery.

When negotiating rates and prices, I would always bring this subject up as a bargaining chip: when you're not getting enough money - at LEAST get enough CREDIT.

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