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Corporate Client wants all footage

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Ken Cooper
Corporate Client wants all footage
on Nov 12, 2014 at 8:03:56 pm

Hi,

I have a long time Corporate client who is now demanding they get all raw footage
with each completed project. I do not want to do that. How can I handle that without
any damage to the relationship???

Thanks so much,

Ken Cooper


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Nick Griffin
Re: Corporate Client wants all footage
on Nov 12, 2014 at 8:44:05 pm

Probably too late for this now, but our proposals state that we are providing finished programs and that we don't release footage without additional compensation. In essence we are providing the services of shooting as part of a bigger package. It's arguable that we are doing the shoot part at a discount because we are doing the post as well. That and the fact that I think a much better product is to be had when the shooter knows what will be in the edit and the editor knows what the shooter was going for.

So on that basis I am one of those who tells clients that they are more than welcome to VIEW all the footage (with timecode burned it) but if they WANT all the footage it is at a premium. I have been successful approaching this when asked by saying, "Why would you want to spend that additional 30% on the cost of the shoot?" In other words, take their side and present it as you trying to save them money.

Hope this helps. If none of it is do-able for you resign yourself to the fact that you've likely lost a client to someone else who will have to spend a great deal of time understanding what you have begun.


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Nick Griffin
Re: Corporate Client wants all footage
on Nov 12, 2014 at 8:55:45 pm

Or, potentially the worse case, your client wants to be a do-it-yourselfer. "Hey I have Microsoft Moviemaker. How hard could editing be?" If you're lucky, VERY lucky he or she will quickly realize that there's a lot more to editing an effective program than just having the software.


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Ken Cooper
Re: Corporate Client wants all footage
on Nov 12, 2014 at 8:58:33 pm

Nick,

Great wisdom and insight...Thanks so much.

Ken Cooper


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Mark Suszko
Re: Corporate Client wants all footage
on Nov 12, 2014 at 10:28:00 pm

Nick nailed it. Especially about the part where they think they can do this better/cheaper. I find that if you're as helpful and supportive of that as possible, when they ask for this raw footage, they are less likely to be too embarrassed to come back and admit they can't edit, when they find there is no "make dinosaur" button. :-) or,you can charge extra to fix their "seven dollar haircut".

I would say give in, going forward, and raise your fees a little on the theory you aren't going to be editing their future stuff. For old stuff prior to this current project, you should charge something for it, if you give it up at all. Add a line to future contracts that codifies this.

Try like heck to pump them for info on why they chose this road, who's sticking it to you.


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Joe Knapp
Re: Corporate Client wants all footage
on Nov 13, 2014 at 1:22:05 pm

From the "client" side....

Ken, I'm curious as to what hesitations you have for turning over all the footage? I don't think it's unreasonable to do this, and I say both from both sides of the issue. When I hire companies to shoot & produce videos for me, I ask for all project files and associated media, plus the raw media for interviews. However, I specifically state in my contracts that we will own this media.

Why do I request this? Heck, maybe I need to recut the edited piece differently, but need to do it myself for timing or financial reasons. Maybe we'll want to explore the footage later, and apply to other things. The point is, is it really that important to hold onto the footage? Why not just charge a media transfer fee and be done with it?

Just wanted to give a different viewpoint. I'd love to hear feedback.


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Nick Griffin
Re: Corporate Client wants all footage
on Nov 13, 2014 at 2:32:13 pm

Joe-
Your approach seems perfectly reasonable and straight forward as long as it's clear to all parties from the start that these are your terms. It is, however, not the kind of work I pursue.

And as to turning over [Joe Knapp] " all project files", well let's just say that there are MANY contrary viewpoints on this. Click on over to the Business & Marketing COW and go back through the archives. After Effects and Avid files are our property and are not transferred. Period. (Unless there's a butt-load of bucks involved, then anything is possible.)


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Mark Suszko
Re: Corporate Client wants all footage
on Nov 13, 2014 at 2:54:13 pm

Agree 100percent with Nick.

As to Project Files, I'm in the camp that says no way; those are the proprietary "secret sauce", and should not be released unless that was contracted for in advance, for serious money.


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Joe Knapp
Re: Corporate Client wants all footage
on Nov 14, 2014 at 3:46:10 am

Sure, I can understand the idea of 'secret sauce'. That's a compelling reason. If you hire a chef to bake a cake, you can't demand that they turn over the ingredients.

However, it's not a perfect metaphor. In my situation, I'm looking for an extension of myself. I view it as hiring a service to accomplish a specific task. Part of the task is setting things up so I can rework a project, if necessary. And I don't want to have to submit 2 weeks worth of paperwork, and deal with reams of emails, in order to replace a few shots and fix a VO.

I get it. I'd feel pretty vulnerable letting my project files go, and risk some other video company taking apart 'my baby'. But I view it as MY baby; you just delivered it. You think you're delivering a unique product, but I view it as providing me a unique service.

Look, in the end, you must decide for yourself whether or not holding files 'hostage' in hopes of future work is worth the loss of immediate work. For me, the market is swimming in capable people, and I'll choose the ones that work with me. I don't need hassle, I need help.

Perhaps you don't agree with me, and that's ok. It's just a viewpoint.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Corporate Client wants all footage
on Nov 14, 2014 at 4:56:10 am

It's OK, Joe, if you wanna do that, and the other party agrees, up front. Nobody will picket you. But, a lot of us would be strongly against the idea of demanding the elements after the fact, without a prior agreement, is all I'm saying.


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Joe Knapp
Re: Corporate Client wants all footage
on Nov 14, 2014 at 5:31:48 am

Loud & clear, Mark. Agreed!

It's like any other negotiation, and the rules should be known upfront. That's fair to everyone. ;)


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Mike Smith
Re: Corporate Client wants all footage
on Nov 14, 2014 at 10:35:50 am

From your profile, (Hey)Joe, you appear to be a producer ... so, you'd be hiring input for projects for third party clients ..perhaps a different situation, or simply a provocative post ?


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Joe Knapp
Re: Corporate Client wants all footage
on Nov 15, 2014 at 6:50:09 am

Hey, Mike. I'm a corporate producer, so when I have a video produced externally for my company, I usually request the footage & media for my use later. I just wanted to provide an alternative opinion. If that's provocative, then I'm cool with that, too. ;)


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Martin Curtis
Re: Corporate Client wants all footage
on Nov 18, 2014 at 3:34:25 am

Mightn't work too well if the editing involved particular plug-ins and/or fonts.


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Joe Knapp
Re: Corporate Client wants all footage
on Nov 18, 2014 at 4:11:37 am

Yep, very true. I've run into that, and needed to buy the plug-in. On the plus side, one can end up with a nice array of After Effect toys. :)


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Bill Davis
Re: Corporate Client wants all footage
on Nov 23, 2014 at 8:43:03 pm
Last Edited By Bill Davis on Nov 23, 2014 at 8:48:46 pm

Linked from a Reddit post: But VERY interesting in terms of what can happen when you give a client your raw work files.

It's a funny, and well written article by an IP attorney based on a wedding photo gig gone horribly wrong - but inside the clever story is a very important nugget of truth about some of the unintended potential consequences of just turing everything over to a client.

Made me laugh, but also made me think about this a bit differently.

http://weddingindustrylaw.com/wedding-photographer-lawsuit/

And it also reminded me why when I hear anyone say "he's JUST a wedding photographer or videographer" I get a cold feeling up my spine. Often, those folks truly work their butts off for little coin and even less respect. But that's another story.

Enjoy.

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


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Noah Kadner
Re: Corporate Client wants all footage
on Dec 20, 2014 at 4:00:00 pm

Greatest cautinary tale of all time- thanks Bill. Also hilarious case name.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
Call Box Training


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John Baumchen
Re: Corporate Client wants all footage
on Feb 18, 2015 at 6:37:34 pm

A bit late in the reply, but I'd ask if your contracts with your suppliers include a clause that the project is a 'Work for Hire'? If not, then the videographer owns the footage. It's the same as if you were to have your portrait taken, the photographer owns the negative or digital original.

In fact, U.S. copyright law stipulates that in the absence of specific wording that a job is on a work for hire basis, the shooter owns the footage. The only thing wrong with giving it away is that you're giving away revenue.

Cheers.


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