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Client project and footage retention. Best practices?

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Stephen Pickering
Client project and footage retention. Best practices?
on Sep 15, 2016 at 8:17:37 pm

Hi there,

I have no formal training in a production facility, so unfortunately I'm learning much of the "business" side of things as I go. One thing we are constantly running into is storage issues, and we aren't even shooting raw or 2k+ footage yet. I'm sure everyone has different thoughts on this, but what are some best practices you use with clients concerning projects and retention of their footage/assets? I have a few clients who call up every 6 months or so and request a modification. Those I know. But I have some projects that are old that I don't image ever needing to open again. Is it standard to tell the client their footage and assets are deleted once final approval, or do you charge a "storage" fee to archive (and make fail-safe backups)? I'm not worried about being taken advantage of by my clients, I would just like to minimize my responsibility of constantly adding new drives as I archive old drives.

Any thoughts or suggestions for further reading would be helpful!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Client project and footage retention. Best practices?
on Sep 19, 2016 at 6:12:12 pm

Build the cost of a storage drive for their raw and finished work into your billing. It's an extra couple hundred, chicken feed. In your contracts or deal memos, put in a paragraph describing your archival policy. One example:

We retain a client's raw material files for a period of one year from the beginning of work. All files will be deleted after one year, or if the client is in arrears for over 90 days, unless the client pays an annual maintenance fee of (whatever is fair to keep paying for spare drives). Archived files can be purchased by the original client for ( a rather high surcharge because if they ask for these it means they are taking their future business elsewhere). Some files associated with a client production are proprietary to the production company's internal creative process, and these are not available for outside use. (I.E. you never give away project files and EDL's, etc. without charging big for them: they are your "secret sauce" developed on your software by your creatives.)

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John Cuevas
Re: Client project and footage retention. Best practices?
on Sep 19, 2016 at 8:09:25 pm

We have an archiving fee that's built into the contract. We use a Facillis system, so everything is pretty much in one place(save for the NLE) and once a project is closed, I collect the NLE and back it all up to LTO. Need to make a change, just restore the LTO, drop the NLE back into the shared project folder and we are back up an running.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.

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