Sports Videography Ethics Question
Here's another one of my questions of ethics. Let me know what you think.
I do a lot of sports videography. This season, I was hired by a local parent to film all of his son's high school football games. At the end of the season, all of his son's highlights will be put on a DVD for college recruiters to look at. This is an unusual situation given that I am usually supplied the game films for editing highlight reels. In this case I was hired to also shoot the games. Needless to say, this parent has money to burn. I film the home games (which are close to my home) for $100.00/game, and the away games for $125.00/game.
Now, this hasn’t happened yet, but I am anticipating that parents of other college-bound players from the same team will be looking to have highlight reels edited for their sons. If I am approached for this, should I ask them reimburse my original client 50% of what my original client paid me to cover the season? After all, it doesn't seem fair to my original client if other parents are getting access to the films that he footed the bill for.
I guess my real question is, do I demand that they reimburse my original client? Or do I suggest that they reimburse my original client, and then let my clients settle the costs from there?
By the way, there was a contract signed between my original client and I for the rate, but there is nothing in the contract that indicates who owns the footage.
Thanks in advance for your responses.
My assumption would have been that if you accepted money for shooting the team - you'd have general coverage of the whole team. If you accepted additional money from the parents of Kid A - then you would have focused that specific job's coverage on Kid A. If other parents want you to cut footage of Kid B or Kid C or Kid D out of the general footage, you'd need to go back and re-cut everything with a view to isolating (as best you can) the coverage that shows THEIR kid. New edit, new money, no issue with other parents who didn't pay in advance for additional focus on their kids.
Are you saying that you took money from Kid A's parents then didn't do anything extra to isolate their kids actions from the general team shots? If so, I think you did a poor job under the presumed terms of that original contract. They were paying you for the best possible coverage of THEIR kid specifically. So if Kid A has excellent skills when he's playing off the ball - like getting open, or blocking or whatever, and you're shooting a single camera and MISSING that stuff because you're only following the flow of the game, you're kinda slacking on the job they've paid you extra cash to do.
As to charging other parents, the concept here is that you're charging them for the VALUE of a specific tape edited to highlight their kids actions. Nothing wrong with charging 10 sets of parents 10 fees for doing that editing - and no, the fact that Kid As parents contracted you for individual coverage has nothing to do with any editing you do for other parents.
My view anyway.
"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor
Thanks for your input. Maybe I should explain my workflow and how recruiting reels work for colleges. I shoot the games in HD and deliver them in SD. That way I can import HD footage into an SD timeline and isolate on specific players during specific plays. Having the wide shot available is important to college recruiters. Recruiters have no use for a super-zooomed-in shot. They need to see how a player reacts to what is going on around them, especially in football. For example, if an offensive lineman has a specific blocking assignment during a play, the recruiter needs to see the play develop from a wide angle to really know whether or not that player is doing an acceptable job. In this case, I was filming to cover a slot receiver. If I zoom in close from a birds-eye view on a slot receiver, it is very difficult to follow what they're doing. I have no heads-up on the route that they're running, and could very easily lose track of them once the ball is snapped. Staying wide ensures I won't miss anything. Like I said, I bring the HD footage into an SD timeline, which allows me to isolate closer on things in post production.
Just to clarify one other thing. In the edited reel, a play is usually shown from the wide angle fist, as it was shot. I usually put a red arrow on the screen before the ball is snapped to show the player's location. After the play is shown, I will "replay" it from the closer vantage point using the HD clip in the SD timeline.
I think selling to other parents is the only way you'll get closer to a half day rate.
Bill has hit the main points very well.
I think you are honor-bound to serve the people that hire you first. By the way you describe the shooting, you create one wide coverage of the entire game, then create isos out of that for the particular player. In theory, then, your master coverage can be made to serve multiple customers, each wanting a different iso. So far as that goes, I don't see a conflict with making any number of isos off the same game, as long as the first client's work comes first.
I do understand that you are troubled because client A enabled the footage being shot. Without Client A's sponsorship, you could not make isos for any of the other parents.
Your written (I hope) agreement doesn't specify ownership of the raw footage, only the product of your edit, the iso. From a legal standpoint (I am not a lawyer), the raw footage is not a work for hire, it is yours. The edit is the work for hire, if any. You owe A the edit, you own the raw. Nothing contractually prohibits you from using the raw you own for other edits for other clients.
I think it would be good business to comp customer A some kind of rebate for each additional sale you made from the raw footage. How much that is is up to you. But always give A the priority in any situation where his money enabled the project in the first place.
That's the line I would try to walk in your case, I think. Though I'm willing to entertain other arguments. I always like to run these kinds of things past my Better half, she is an excellent Moral Compass.
I am pleased to hear you are getting work, Aaron, and the fact you are asking these kind of questions indicates an increasing maturity and professionalism, for which I congratulate you.
Its simple, do you own the raw footage? If yes, you can do what you want with it. If no, then you need permission from parent A that paid you for ths shoot.
Do you have anything in the contract about that? If not then you should put it in now. You are being paid for the shoot and the edit, IMO the parent hiring you owns that footage.
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Just a note of caution. Do you have the "rights" to record and use this footage of both teams that will be in your video. Including the "refs". You may need releases to make this legal.