I am a freelance videographer in Hawaii. After the Japanese tsunami, I shot (for state and national news organizations) footage of the damage on our island. It was shown all over the world and we were paid for it. The footage is standard definition DV. A Japanese production company is doing a follow-up for the two year anniversary and saw my video online on my website and other news websites. The company might want to buy licensing rights for the video for a one time use in Japan. They asked me about my rates and I asked them what they paid. No answer yet.
Usually when we shoot for news, we charge a flat rate to the networks or the local TV stations for all the video from one story.
I've heard that in this situation it is common to charge $65/second for the video that makes it into the edited piece. What do you think? How can I monitor how much they use? Is this all done on the honor system? Last time a Japanese film crew came to me they used up a lot of my time and said that they didn't use any of the video in their documentary. All advice is welcome.
I'm not sure how to say this, but if you were hired to shoot the footage by a news organization, then doesn't the news organization own the rights to the footage? Or did you license it to them, and retain all distribution rights?
You should check the contract with the original organization who hired you - although you may have the tape (or clips) in your posession, the content might not be yours to sell. I'm just trying to clarify this for my own information, not accuse you of anything.
News archives and stock footage services offer varied terms, and for unusual or unique footage of newsworthy events prices can be very high. But for a doc crew they probably won't have the budget to go much over a typical $1000 -$1500 dollar a minute of cut screen time rate for what is probably useful but not necessary footage for them ... though who knows for any specific project.
You could research rates and how libraries can protect themselves a little by upfront research fees and the supply of low-res and/or watermarked footage for picture research purposes by checking out some of the main suppliers in the field
Thanks. On closer reading I see that it is for a news program, not a documentary, for Japanese broadcast. The footage is unique and newsworthy, but I don't know how much of it is needed for the segment. I don't want to scare them away by quoting too high a number. I'm trying to get them to tell me what they usually pay for footage of this kind. They are sending a news crew to our island for a week so obviously they have a budget.
Can you figure out what it cost you to shoot it, in terms of time and equipment, then create a fair figure based upon your cost to produce, maybe with a small licensing fee on top of that? As you say, you don't want to scare them away, and as the "now" value of news footage gets older, it sometimes gets less valuable. You want to make money on it while it's a hot item...