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rights to footage on a " for hire" trip

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steve siegelrights to footage on a " for hire" trip
by on Apr 5, 2009 at 1:23:59 pm

I am considering a project where I will shoot video for a television production. I understand that whatever I produce for the company is rightly theirs. My question is about "spare time". What if I go out on my own, at lunch, say, and shoot similar subjects in the same locations. Can I insist on the rights to that footage?
I suppose that it all boils down to this. If a company hires you, pays your expenses, and sends you to a location to shoot, do they own you 24/7 while you're there, or is reasonable time off understood, even if they are paying the bills?

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walter biscardiRe: rights to footage on a " for hire" trip
by on Apr 5, 2009 at 3:16:00 pm

That's between you the production company. So long as you complete the work they request, and you additional shooting doesn't cause any conflicts, I don't see any issues with this. I know many shooters who will shoot generic b-roll while they're on location but they're careful to bring their own tape stock and only shoot on their own time. A lunch break is probably not the best time, before or after the shooting day is probably better.

Now a different scenario is if you are shooting some sort of exclusive thing for a particular project or show, and then you go off and shoot basically the same material on your own tape to shop somewhere else.

Then you'll never get a another gig from that company again and will most likely be subject to some sort of legal action.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!


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grinner hesterRe: rights to footage on a " for hire" trip
by on Apr 5, 2009 at 9:01:36 pm

Communication is a good thing and this is a fine example. Just talk to em.
Many times I piggyback one production with another. I'd never use their footage for my stuff but I surely have shot my own stuff while in the filed on someone elses dime. The key is to not be sneaky. Just ask em if you can grab some shots for your stuff on the side. They'll either say yay or nay and that'll be the end of it.
I'd not ask such a thing unless really comfy with this client. You don't wanna scare em away.

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David Roth WeissRe: rights to footage on a " for hire" trip
by on Apr 5, 2009 at 9:08:17 pm

[grinner hester] "I'd not ask such a thing unless really comfy with this client. You don't wanna scare em away."

And, if you show up for their shooting days dead tired, they may not be very pleased with your "moonlighting" on their dime. And, that's pretty much exactly what any smart producer may well consider your request.

David Roth Weiss
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.

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Mark SuszkoRe: rights to footage on a " for hire" trip
by on Apr 5, 2009 at 10:16:14 pm

I knew a guy that did something like this, he was a stills shooter, and wherever they sent him, he took one roll on the payroll, and one roll of his own, made some good money with it but we always felt it was unethical. When the folks hiring you get wind of it, you'll be burned.

But this kind of thinking isn't new. I was watching some youtube footage of Larry Fine of the Three Stooges recently. Late in his life they interviewed him in a nursing home, and he had a lot of things to say about Columbia Pictures, how they operated. The story that interested me was that there was always such pressure to do the Stooges pictures at bare minimum cost, Larry said it was the availability of sets that drove the scripts. Whatever current picture the company was producing, the stooges would have to use the sets from that picture, with little if any re-paints or other modifications right after the main production wrapped up. One picture made extensive use of a train, so the Stooges were tasked with a story set on a train as well...

That's a crazy way to write scripts, but that's a repeating theme in cheap movie making. That's how "Little Shop of Horrors" got made; Roger Corman was told by a studio buddy that there was a 3-wall interior set available with 2 days unused rental paid on it, just sitting around. Basically, LSOH was done on a bet, to see if you could make the core at least of an entire movie in one mad weekend with one free set and a few exteriors and b-roll thrown together later. The whole thing was written and shot in just that weekend. The paint on the walls was still wet as they shot some of the scenes there. The rest was shot around town in open air locations without a permit in a run and gun manner the rest of that week. One of the reasons LSOH is such a long-lived stage show success is that lack of multiple sets.

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grinner hesterRe: rights to footage on a " for hire" trip
by on Apr 6, 2009 at 1:57:01 pm

This is really the motivation behind the question, I believe.
I was shooting for a big company on a cruise liner once. Easy enough to capture all that was needed but in living on the ship for a week, no doubt I had plenty of time to capture some scenery for my own projects. In doing so, I managed to create a new pilot for a new show... and yes, while on the clock.
The bottom line though is that was not what I was in the bermuda triangle to do. It's just something I did after doing what I was suppose to do.
I've been too much of a multitasker al my life to ever really take a break. I think many of us here are the same. Nothing wrong with that at all but step back as a hirer and ask yourself who you'd sooner hire... they guy standing around waiting to be told what to do next or the guy that cannot be found because he's double billing or tripple dreaming?
Don't let your initiative become a handicap.

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