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Copies of field footage

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Scott RachalCopies of field footage
by on Dec 29, 2008 at 3:37:30 pm

Just got an e-mail from a client, asking to gather their raw footage so they could pick it up later in the day. I checked our invoice records, and confirmed my memory fragment: we had provided a digital copy of all of the footage in question 18 months ago.

I e-mailed back, reminding the client that we had already provided their footage, and the reply indicated that they needed another copy, (my guess is that the copy we made in 2007 was lost).

That is why we never let raw tapes leave our facility. We tell our clients that they own their footage, but we keep the tapes. We will make a copy of their footage at their request, but they cannot have the originals.

I remember this client complaining weakly at the time that they had to pay for a copy to be made, but our policy, and a $150 dub charge, saved their footage (from a multi-thousand dollar shoot).

Now that we shoot on P2, this is less of an issue. We can't hand over a hard drive, but we can make a copy to a provided drive.

But with a 1000+ tape library I'm sure it will come up again...


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Steve WargoRe: Copies of field footage
by on Dec 30, 2008 at 9:04:28 am

We do hand them hard drives if they want their footage. The request is usually "Dump it on a DVD and that will do. They don't understand why I can't put 2 hours of footage on a DVD when a 2 hour movie will fit just fine. I must be doing something wrong.

They also can't understand why I can't whip up a 2 hour WMV in 10 minutes.

They have no idea what our actual depth of knowledge and capabilities are.

Oh well.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .

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Mike CohenRe: Copies of field footage
by on Dec 30, 2008 at 3:13:41 pm

A couple of years ago we did a shoot for someone. Actually we hired a local crew on their behalf due to the short lead time.
They paid for the shoot, they get the tapes.
"What's a BetaSP tape?" they asked. "Our graphics person is editing this on her Mac. Can you send us Quicktime files?"

Sure. Digitized the Beta tapes into the Mac in small enough chunks to then burn to DVD.

Another client asked for the raw footage of a project so they could do the editing. We sent them the mini DV tapes. They sent them back with a note saying "we can't use these...send us the following weird format..."


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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: Copies of field footage
by on Jan 13, 2009 at 10:08:32 am

Hey Scott.

One of the ways that the film-labs (used - before digital) to make most of their money was by storing the film and running copies of it when-ever needed - there should be no reason for why you can't do the same for your clients. After all, it is a cost to your firm and a safety for them.

All the Best
London, UK

Mac Million Ltd. - HD Production & Editing
Please watch our latest video on Data Protection at


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