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More on rights, a question...

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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
More on rights, a question...
on May 5, 2007 at 4:11:55 am

Ok, in light of Steve Wargo's very excellent post/link below regarding copyrights.... this has me thinking about a slightly different kind of rights issue for an upcoming project.

We are producing a lowish-budget feature later this year, with principal photography in the late fall.

A lot of this film is set in a bar, and there is a character who is constantly watching a football game that is on the bar TV set.

We have been thinking about how to provide the source footage for the monitor that will serve as the TV set. It would no doubt be unbelievably expensive to license a real broadcast of a real professional (or even college) football game... and even then I don't need to be wading in waist-deep red tape... so I've been trying to come up with some alternatives.

The set won't be seen too much, just an incidental prop that is never the focus of a shot or scene, but still enough that I can't risk using any "real" footage (the last thing I need is our lawyer arguing with the NFL commissioner's mouthpieces over whether footage was recognizable).

Here's what I've been thinking lately... as a solution and its concerns. I'd be happy to hear any feedback: I've been thinking that we could shoot a bit of a highschool game, once football season starts again. Shoot it with three cameras so I can cut together a bit of the action, create the appropriate on-screen graphics and announcer tracks... I think it could pass for a pro or college game when only seen in deep background on a monitor. Plus here in my city we have one football stadium shared by several of the city schools that happens to be very VERY nice (even has artificial turf), so I think that'd work.

Anyone else want to chime in with an opionion on the do-ability of this? AND... what about rights? I know I can get permission from the school system for the shoot, but should we be concerned about releasing all the kids on both teams? That could be a headache in and of itself.

Ideas, anyone?

My only other bright idea involves the arena football team we have in our city. Might be able to shoot some of them in action... would be some red tape although not quite as much as with "real" football. I would have to plan shots super carefully though.

Any brainstorms appreciated!

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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kman44
Re: More on rights, a question...
on May 5, 2007 at 7:18:21 am

Todd,

Have you considered using stock footage?

-Karl


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Mike_S
Re: More on rights, a question...
on May 5, 2007 at 8:20:43 am

Or, if it's deep in the background, getting some 3D graphics for the game, or partnering with a computer game company that has an (NFL) football game to generate / get the rights for what you need . Might be a cross-promotion opportunity for the game company ...



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Arniepix
Re: More on rights, a question...
on May 5, 2007 at 12:45:24 pm

Well, Todd, you're on to something. You're about 60-70% there. I think that you can probably stage a game. I suspect that if you work through the local high schools, you can probably get enough players to stage it. Then you'll probably need to put some people in the stands. If it's done properly, you shouldn't need a 'Cast of Thousands!!', only a cast of dozens.

Arnie

Now in post: Peristroika, a film by Slava Tsukerman

http://www.arniepix.com/blog


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zrb123
Re: More on rights, a question...
on May 5, 2007 at 4:48:15 pm

Much easier to go with stock footage and fake a TV announcer and graphics., after all is it only in the background, going to all the work of filming a game and getting all the players to and everyone else to sign wavers is a lot of work. The Cost of stock footage would probably be cheeper then paying all the crew that you would need.


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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: More on rights, a question...
on May 5, 2007 at 5:02:01 pm

[zrb123] "Much easier to go with stock footage"

Well if anyone has any sources for affordable/licensable stock footage that looks like a "real" brodcast of a "real" game, I'm all eyes. I just can't imagine any source.

I could be wrong, often am...

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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zrb123
Re: More on rights, a question...
on May 5, 2007 at 6:21:24 pm

I did a simple google search for stock footage and football and a lot of good results came up


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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: More on rights, a question...
on May 5, 2007 at 4:58:59 pm

Thanks for the suggestions, guys... I really appreciate the responses.

To play Devil's Advocate here (might help my brain spark some new ideas)... the challenges I would most readily see with those are:

[Kman44] "Have you considered using stock footage?"

Well yeah that's usually the first thought with something like this, but as I said, I suspect licensing real game footage would be ungodly expensive and a mountain of red tape.

[Mike_S] "...partnering with a computer game company that has an (NFL) football game..."

Hmmm, hadn't thought of that (I'm not a gamer). I need to check that out... from what I've seen I don't really think football computer games look realistic. Actually, the players and action DO, but the camera moves really really don't. I suspect we would might be quickly getting out of our budget range as we would have to use something custom made (can't license anything NFL), and I doubt any kind of cross-promotion would work as we wouldn't want anyone to KNOW that it was CGI stuff. That' worth thinking about some more though.

[Arniepix] " I think that you can probably stage a game"

Well, yeah I can... it's just my wallet trying to come up with something better. By the time we rent the facility, get security (you know they'll require it), insurance for the location, pay at least 22 players and anywhere from 50-100 extras then I'm probably in for at least $10K, maybe more. And that's almost a tenth of the whole project's budget for something that is really incidental. I could shoot an existing game for a couple grand, tops (and not have to worry about directing ANY action). There's the still-nagging question of releasing all the talent, though.

Nothing is easy.

Thanks again for the ideas!




T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Ron Lindeboom
Re: More on rights, a question...
on May 5, 2007 at 5:22:22 pm

If it were my gig I would do as you suggest and get a few very tight-in shots from a high school football game. So tight in that it didn't show faces, etc., and then I'd stylize the footage in After Effects and Illustrator using the trace edges livetrace function. I'd pull it down to B&W and then throw posterize time on it in AE to give it a strong cell animation feel -- so it doesn't have that gosh awful Charles Schwab commercial bogus animation 30fps look that gives me the creeps.

If you want to add color to the uniforms, simply use the new Photoshop Extended and use curves (and split handles using the option key" to drop out all the colors you don't want and leave the ones you do -- leave just one or two for effect) to colorize the frames you want.

You could also smear and trail the movement so that it plays up the action.

Add powerful underlay audio that punctuates the slamming and jamming of football.

No one will know where you got the footage or didn't.

That's what I would do. And if I wasn't working on a magazine right now, I'd do you a tutorial so that you could see the steps in what I just described. (Hopefully, you are good enough with the tools I pointed to, to know what I am talking about.)

If you are good in the Adobe Suite, it will take you a day or two to do it all. Far less time than dealing with lawyers and clearances.

:o)

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom



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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: More on rights, a question...
on May 5, 2007 at 6:14:32 pm

Thanks Ron...

I know what you mean, that could be an interesting effect.

However, in this case we are talking about a realistic scene where a character is simply sitting in a bar, watching the football game that he has placed a bet on. We see the action on the TV screen, but only incidentally. At any rate it has to be "real" looking action... as if he is watching a normal "Monday Night Football" broadcast, etc. It can't be fake, phony, or stylized. Your idea might be a good one if we wanted to produce a special "show open" to the broadcast, or bumpers to go in and out of commercials, etc.

Yes, Schwab gives me the creeps, too.



T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Ron Lindeboom
Re: More on rights, a question...
on May 5, 2007 at 7:23:22 pm

Sorry for missing the intent of the question. That is what I get for being too busy and just reading a smidgeon of a question and just a bit of the answers.

Me, bad,

Ron Lindeboom

:o)



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Steve Wargo
Re: More on rights, a question...
on May 6, 2007 at 8:28:32 am

I would go with Plan "A". It would take an hour or two to plan including drawing up a talent release. Have the coach organize it. Buy a hundred bucks worth of pizza and soda and give the team individual credits. They might even put what you want on the scoreboard. You can place team names in later. You'll be the local hero.

When we are casting for features, we actually have people call and ask us if they can pay us to be in the movie.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona

It's a dry heat!


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Doug
Re: More on rights, a question...
by
on May 7, 2007 at 6:12:15 pm

This is just my warped sense of humor but if it is a comedy (and maybe even if it isn't), have a few friends play touch football, shoot it, and use that for the footage.

Doug


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Timothy J. Allen
Re: More on rights, a question...
on May 9, 2007 at 5:21:18 am

Todd,
I've used high school football footage as a stand-in for NFL... uh... (did I say "NFL"?) - I mean... ahem... "professional football" footage before. It was incidental to the shots - like the shots you mention.

It worked just fine. If viewers are expecting to see NFL footage, that's most likely what they will think that it really is. It's amazing but viewers tend to "see" what they expect to see.

I'd say ask the coaches and the organization that oversees the game and offer a "special thanks to the Central High Tiger Football Team" (or something similar) in the credits.

You may even be able to use something they've already shot, especially if you give them a "football footage courtesy of XYZ" credit.

We shot our own footage with permission from the coaches and the state high school athletic association (but not from individual players).

I still did not show recognizable faces and I made sure that the names on the backs of the jerseys were not legible in the final shots, but bottom line is that we didn't have to pay for rights to the footage and it went over just fine for standing in as professional football footage.

By the way, as you may have surmised from what I wrote at the front of this post, be careful about referring to the game using any specific licensed organization's name, especially with graphics. I'm sure you are already very aware that the NFL logo is trademarked, but I figure a gentle reminder might not hurt.





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