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Sports Videography Ethics Question

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Aaron CadieuxSports Videography Ethics Question
by on Sep 11, 2011 at 3:22:19 am

Hello Everyone,

I do a lot of sports videography. This season, I was hired by a local parent to film all of his son's high school football games. At the end of the season, all of his son's highlights will be put on a DVD for college recruiters to look at. This is an unusual situation given that I am usually supplied the game films for editing highlight reels. In this case I was hired to also shoot the games. Needless to say, this parent has money to burn. I film the home games (which are close to my home) for $100.00/game, and the away games for $125.00/game.

Now, this hasn’t happened yet, but I am anticipating that parents of other college-bound players from the same team will be looking to have highlight reels edited for their sons. If I am approached for this, should I ask them reimburse my original client 50% of what my original client paid me to cover the season? After all, it doesn't seem fair to my original client if other parents are getting access to the films that he footed the bill for.

I guess my real question is, do I demand that they reimburse my original client? Or do I suggest that they reimburse my original client, and then let my clients settle the costs from there?

By the way, there was a contract signed between my original client and I for the rate, but there is nothing in the contract that indicates who owns the footage.

Thanks in advance for your responses.

Aaron



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grinner hesterRe: Sports Videography Ethics Question
by on Sep 11, 2011 at 6:24:00 pm

answered in the business forum.
As exemplified by your client with "money to burn", it's just not worth more than 100 bucks a game for most.
Double/tripple/ect billing is the only way you'll get close to a regular half day rate.



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Denis DanatzkoRe: Sports Videography Ethics Question
by on Sep 12, 2011 at 1:58:47 am

RE: Billing, I'm inclined to agree with grin. Reasons: YOU shot the footage, and presuming YOU own it, YOU are entitled to do whatever YOU want with it. This is a stretch of an analogy, but think of it as your own little pool of "stock video"...you own it and can sell it to whomever you desire, and can charge whatever you think it - and your time spent editing & authoring - is worth. With that in mind, if others want footage from the same game, you may want to consider charging only for your editing and authoring time. that's entirely up to you. (Are you in this as a business, or to make friends)?

RE: ownership of footage:
I'm not an attorney, so this isn't legal advice, however what you describe doesn't strike me as a "work for hire". If it were, then the parent who hired you could claim ownership of the footage. (Ownership is something that should be stipulated in all your future contracts, BTW).
My understanding of a work for hire is something created with a specific description of the end product with the description included in or attached to the contract. An oft-used example might be an oil painting that is a portrait of a specific size, showing a specific person, perhaps wearing specific clothing or costume, in a specific setting or location.
Given the variety of plays that occur in a game (I'm using football as an example), and (presuming that) only the coach new the game plan, it may not be arguable that a work for hire is even possible under those conditions, except, perhaps, by the coach. How could the parent describe a work for hire unless he knew the game plan, all the plays, and what the result of each play would be before it happened? (Again, I'm not an attorney, and the law can work in unexpected ways, so take this with a grain of salt).

Ethics are not the only thing you should consider.

RE: Warnings/Considerations you didn't mention:
Again, I'm not an attorney, so this is not legal advice.
I'm presuming most of these players are minors. If so, I believe you may need to have signed parental releases for everyone who appears in the footage if you're going to own the footage and use it for any commercial purpose.

Once this footage is out of your hands, you have no idea where it might end up being seen/used in the future.

While it may seem extremely unlikely, there may be potential for real ugliness here. Example: a player (who happens to be a minor) who sits the bench for the entire game (but thinks they should have started) appears in the footage, but you don't have a signed release from their parent. If that player's parents see or even learn of the footage and that someone made money from it, might it lead to a lot of headaches for you, i.e. potential law suit, and even if you won, could you afford it? (I know it's extreme, but I suspect it's possible). If it came to that, it would likely be a civil case, and you'd have no right to a court-appointed attorney.

Also re: releases: remember you have 2 teams to consider, as well as fans and other minor spectators.

RE: Footage of Other Players
While it seems inevitable that other (football) players would have to appear in the footage if it's to be used as a highlight video, were you concentrating on your parent/client's son? For example, were you following/zooming in on that player and those immediately around him? Do you have enough footage of other players, (like those away from the ball), to do justice to their play and make worthwhile highlights for them?

Some of this is food for thought. Others may say I've taken it too far using extreme examples. Whatever the case, these may be things you want to consider. You may or may not be gambling with potential problems.

I suspect there are many others in this forum who do highlight videos. Let's hope they can help. Hopefully, others with more experience and/or knowledge will chime in here.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Sports Videography Ethics Question
by on Sep 12, 2011 at 2:19:50 pm

Typically, schools add a waiver or release to the sign-up process for belonging to school teams, so I don't think he's going to need the whole team to sign permission slips. Schols handle this so that it's not an issue for things like the yearbook, school paper, advertising, and coverage on the local news. It can further be argues that the games are public domain events, particularly public schools that use taxpayer funds.


Work-for-hire means the client owns the entire work product and the elements and raw materials used to create it. The client then owns and controls all of it, an the shooter owns none of it.


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Joel ServetzRe: Sports Videography Ethics Question
by on Sep 12, 2011 at 6:13:27 pm

Aaron, you should consult an attorney who is conversant in contract law, especially as concerns media. You're not shooting for the school, you're shooting for a private individual, so you may not be covered by any waivers that cover the school, especially if you then re-edit for distribution to other individual clients. That being said, why on earth are you hauling your gear out to a football field, exposing it and yourself to the elements, wear and tear and possible damage and putting your professional skills to work for $100.00/game? If these people have "money to burn" they should be paying you a decent rate for what has to be at least a 1/2 day commitment plus editing.

Joel Servetz
RGB Media Services, LLC
Sarasota, Fl
videobyjoel@aol.com
http://www.rgbmediaservices.com


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Chip ThomeRe: Sports Videography Ethics Question
by on Sep 13, 2011 at 8:06:30 am

Here's my take.

Daddy hired you to shoot footage. At a future date Daddy is then going to hire you to edit a highlights film. These are two separate transactions with separate compensation. IMO this makes him the owner of that footage, not you. You were hired expressly to capture game footage for him, not whoever walks up to you later, too.

IMO, and as others have said I am no lawyer, had this been one nice and neat bundled package with one price of $XXXX for Junior's highlight film which would consist of you somehow acquiring all the footage and editing, THEN you, or whoever you got it from, would own the footage and could do as you or they pleased with it.

What I would do now is concentrate on getting footage of Junior and let the rest fend for themselves. If all of a sudden you have multiple clients, how are you going to get all the great plays each has? At some point you would have to decide, "do I focus on Joe for this play or on Jim?" Murphy's Law says when that happens, the one you don't pick WILL make the play of the year!

PS...if Daddy's got money to burn....he also probably has a real good lawyer too. :-)


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Dave HaynieRe: Sports Videography Ethics Question
by on Sep 16, 2011 at 4:49:02 am

[Chip Thome] "PS...if Daddy's got money to burn....he also probably has a real good lawyer too. :-)"

If he's only got $50 or less to spend per hour for hired guns, I wouldn't worry so much about his lawyer.

But I agree... if you were contracted to deliver the demo reel, the footage is yours, lock, stock, and barrel. If you're shooting specifically for him, that sounds like a work for hire, unless you have a contract saying otherwise. Or perhaps, a general understanding that he doesn't own the footage (eg, are you deliving the raw footage, or just the demo reel, as part of your agreement).

-Dave


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Brent DunnRe: Sports Videography Ethics Question
by on Sep 13, 2011 at 3:35:04 pm

I also produce a lot of sport's recruiting videos. First of all, post your highlight reels online along with a player profile page on your site. You can charge additional fees for this. Your charging way too little to film a game.

I put a disclaimer in my contract that I may provide copies and footage to other players / teams. I charge more per game and encourage the parent to contact other parents to jump on board so they can also split the filming cost with these parents. I charge a separate fee for each highlight reel and extra copies of the full games. I typically tell them to let me film the first 4-5 games. If there is enough good footage, we have enough for a player evaluation. If they want me to film more, I add this on later.

I speak with hundred's of college coaches. They prefer a 5 -7 minute highlight reel that is posted online. They are on the road a lot and are more likely to view these while in their hotel room. They can't take DVD's with them on the road and they pile up on their desk. Your athlete will have a much better chance of getting evaluated. Then if the coach want's a full game, the parents can send them the full game DVD.

I wouldn't worry about selling to other parents. Don't refund anything. They got by cheap!

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

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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Aaron CadieuxRe: Sports Videography Ethics Question
by on Sep 13, 2011 at 5:22:38 pm

Hey everyone,

Just some clarification here. And this may help others who are considering sports videography as a venture. I have been filming football for over 10 years and, not to brag, consider myself a good game videographer. A lot of people are asking me how I can use the same game footage for other players if I'm "focusing", or "isolating" on the client's son. Football game films should always be shot at a wide angle to capture all of the action. This should be the rule whether you're shooting an entire team, or shooting an idividual play. I make sure the kid I am shooting is always visible in the shot, but I am careful not to zoom in tight on him. Zooming in tight creates multiple problems. College recruiters want to see how the player is reacting to what's going on around him. In this player's case, he is a slot receiver. Coaches want to see how he is reacting to what the quarterback is doing. They also want to see how he blocks for other players who are carrying the ball. If I zoom in on a slot receiver, I have no way of knowing the route he is about to run. I could be thinking he is going to run a 15 yard out, and then he ends up running a 15 yard in, and I could miss the shot entirely. To get around the issue of haveing "no isolated shot", I shoot the games in HD, and edit them in SD. This allows me to show the play once from a wide angle in properly downcoverted SD, and again in a replay that isolates on the player in question (for this I use the HD footage in an SD timeline that automatically is "zoomed" in upon importing it into the timeline). For now that works, because there aren't any recruiters (that I've come across) that are looking for Blu Ray discs. Recruiters are currently taking DVDs, or watching the videos online (usually YouTube). Obviously, the videos would work as HD online, but the results of properly encoded SD video on YouTube still look good.

Best,

Aaron



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Aaron CadieuxRe: Sports Videography Ethics Question
by on Sep 13, 2011 at 5:24:23 pm

And yes, I realize there are spelling mistakes in my prior post. "Haveing" being the most obvious one.



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Brent DunnRe: Sports Videography Ethics Question
by on Sep 13, 2011 at 7:22:24 pm

Right on the money Aaron. You have to understand what coaches want. Since I've played at the college level....before recruiting videos...and I've coached, I understand what coaches are looking for.

Most parents don't understand what they need to do to help their child get noticed and how get recruited. My job is not only to film the game so the coach can get a good look and evaluate a player, but to guide the family on what to do next once everything is done. I also market my site to the coaches so that they frequent my site to see what players are available. It makes it easy for everyone.

I've stopped recommending DVD's of the highlight reel. There is a much better response to viewing the videos online.

I charge per game, for the highlight reel, webpage / player profile. If they are young, maybe their 2nd year of HS, then I charge again to do it all over the next year, giving them a free update on the website. Repeat business.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

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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Brent DunnRe: Sports Videography Ethics Question
by on Sep 13, 2011 at 7:25:14 pm

One more thing. When things got slow in the other parts of my production business, my sport's recruiting services picked up. It's an easy sell. A little spent on me will give parents $25,000 - $100,000 in college scholarship money. You don't find too many other parts of the event business that can produce those results.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

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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Dave HaynieRe: Sports Videography Ethics Question
by on Sep 16, 2011 at 4:53:48 am

[Aaron Cadieux] " Football game films should always be shot at a wide angle to capture all of the action. This should be the rule whether you're shooting an entire team, or shooting an idividual play. I make sure the kid I am shooting is always visible in the shot, but I am careful not to zoom in tight on him. Zooming in tight creates multiple problems. College recruiters want to see how the player is reacting to what's going on around him. In this player's case, he is a slot receiver. Coaches want to see how he is reacting to what the quarterback is doing. "

Yup. I've been shooting High School soccer for nearly as long. And the coaches absolutely want to see a wide shot, at least for games where I have that vantage (the higher the better). I shoot for the whole team, so I'm not typically worred about covering a single player, but I suppose that if I wanted an individual demo reel, I might cut to SD as well... that could work. Though I shoot in 720/60p... much better for smooth motion, or slow-motion in the case when I'm editing a highlights reel.

-Dave


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