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Old October 15th, 2007, 01:56 AM   #1
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Questions about corporate work.

Hi All,

Not sure what section this should go in so I'll let the mods decide...

When you do corporate work, like seminars, educational video etc....do you put something at the beginning or end that has company info in it? Like "produced by such and such videography"...?

Also, do you label it as copyrighted to you? or is it copyrighted to you and the person or company who's giving the seminar or training?

Lastly, when you deliver the final edit, does the client then have the right to edit the finished video? For example, creating a much shorter highlight to go on their website... or does the videography company retain all the rights and the client must either purchase the right to edit seperately or hire the videographer to create the shorter highlight video?

Thanks for any advice you can give.

Cheers,
Scott
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Old October 15th, 2007, 11:51 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Shama View Post
Hi All,

Not sure what section this should go in so I'll let the mods decide...

When you do corporate work, like seminars, educational video etc....do you put something at the beginning or end that has company info in it? Like "produced by such and such videography"...?

Also, do you label it as copyrighted to you? or is it copyrighted to you and the person or company who's giving the seminar or training?

Lastly, when you deliver the final edit, does the client then have the right to edit the finished video? For example, creating a much shorter highlight to go on their website... or does the videography company retain all the rights and the client must either purchase the right to edit seperately or hire the videographer to create the shorter highlight video?

Thanks for any advice you can give.

Cheers,
Scott

Almost all of those issues should be dealt with in the contract you have with your client. You DO have a written contract reviewed by an attorney before shooting, don't you? As the creator of the video, you own the copyright unless it's a "work for hire." Your contract with the client should spell out exactly what rights he has purchased from you and how he can use the completed work. For example, if you had shot a commerical it's not at all unusual for the client to have rights to run it locally for xx months but not be able to run it regionally or nationally without payment of additional fees. He may or may not have the right to post a video you shot for internal training on his website as well. It all hinges on your contract and there are no automatic rules.
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Old October 15th, 2007, 08:50 PM   #3
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Steve is correct about contracts. Everything is negociable, and generally speaking, the more control (rights) you give them, the higher your fee. That is generally understood. The most important thing is be easy to work with so you'll get furture work.

Also, iIf you do want to use the media in your own promotion reel, etc., then stipulate that in your contract.

Many corporations will have legal guidelines about the use of their logo's and copyright. Make sure your clear on that, even if they forget to bring it up. You'd be hard pressed to recut a new one just to add in the copyright and credits at the last minute when legal gets wind of it. It happens.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 01:01 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=Scott Shama;758985]Hi All,

Not sure what section this should go in so I'll let the mods decide...

When you do corporate work, like seminars, educational video etc....do you put something at the beginning or end that has company info in it? Like "produced by such and such videography"...?

No, I don't.

People hire others via personal recommendations. Hardly ever by watching other programs and writing down on-screen contact info. IMO, on screen contact info is virtually worthless.

In 30 years of producing corporate video nobody has EVER called me for work based on some contact info at the end of a tape as far as I can tell.


Also, do you label it as copyrighted to you? or is it copyrighted to you and the person or company who's giving the seminar or training?

My belief is this. I don't retain ownership of ANYTHING except my gear and my brain. Everything else belongs to the comissioning party. Period.

WHY? Because it makes clients happy. And happy clients build your business for you. If your attitude is "how can I make this transaction good for ME", you're sunk. Make it EXTRAORDINARY for the client, and you're golden. Do that enough and they'll pay you enough so that you can fund your own projects that you WILL hold copyright to. See how it works?


Lastly, when you deliver the final edit, does the client then have the right to edit the finished video? For example, creating a much shorter highlight to go on their website... or does the videography company retain all the rights and the client must either purchase the right to edit seperately or hire the videographer to create the shorter highlight video?

I'm sorry, but this is both weird and a little frightening. Read it again and ask yourself this. Would YOU want to work with a vendor who thought this way? If you were the client who had paid good money for work, then the vendor came back and told you you couldn't use the work as you wanted, wouldn't YOU get pissed?

If you're funding the work yourself, fine. Then you not only own, you deserve ALL the rights to that work and THEN you can worry about this stuff. But when someone ELSE is funding the work, STEP BACK and give them what they're paying for. No - give them MORE than they're paying for.

An attitude that what YOU want, or need, or expect, or feel entitled to, is the heart of whats important in this kind of business transaction will KILL you.

Because you wouldn't work with someone like that unless you were FORCED to. And no-one else should, either.


Really, the entire world of work is first, formost, and essentially about personal, human relationships. People want to work with others that make work fun and easy.

Nearly everything you're talking about makes work harder and more complicated and moving into that relm is only appropriate when there are long range value disputes involved.

Giving all the rights to the client in "work for hire" nicely ELIMINATES value disputes.

They get the work. Fine. (Work that typically rapidly diminishes in value over time)

YOU get knowledge and experience, which typically INCREASE in value over time.

You win.

Leave it at that.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 01:49 PM   #5
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i'm going to disagree with bill here. we always put our animated logo and website at the end of any DVD work we do. and add the copyright info. this is just to give credit where it is due. we always put any corporate thank yous or production info ahead of ours. i've never had a customer complain about our logo. they review the projects, generally, before we release them, and if they complained or had a really vital reason to remove it, i would probably take it out. but no one has ever complained or requested its removal. if you do a nice job for them, they are usually content with the outcome. for web videos, we don't usually include it--it increases the download time, and those function like commercials--and the commercial is for your client, not for you. whereas the DVD is typically more like a movie, and the producer's logo at the end of the work is more standard to the genre.

for converting and editing and outputting from DVD to web, we encourage our clients to use us for the editing and output. we can usually do this more efficiently and inexpensively than the client. we point this out in our price structure menu and have not really had issues. this is one of those add-ons that make your business more profitable. if you give them a reasonable deal up front, they don't usually balk at the add-ons because you have already dealt fairly with them, and they will trust you.

once it is on a DVD, they can endlessly reproduce it all they want, however. i can't compete with the local reproduction/duplication house on pricing over 100. under 100, and i can usually service those accounts, and it is usually fairly profitable. the advantage i have over the dupe house is that i can offer them exactly the inventory that they need, they don't have to carry inventory on the product, and that can be savings in itself, which is worth their while. when i point this out to them, i usually retain the smaller jobs.

hope this helps.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 03:57 PM   #6
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I think Biil and Meryem both raise some good points, and I've found myself in situtations where the advice offered by both would be relevant.

I don't think there's anything wrong with putting your logo or contact info at the end of a piece, but context is everything. If the video is being presented to a client of theirs, they may not appreciate the announcement that they out-sourced a portion of the project to someone else.

Do you own the footage? That really depends. One thing I can tell you about legal issues and the law is that it comes down to money. Sounds like a cliche, but its really true. Someone may be in a really questionable legal position and the "letter of the law" may be very much in your favor. But if they can afford to keep paying legal fees, they can make your life a living hell. Why don't people sue each other all the time? Well, they do, but also often the cost outweighs the gains that could result from pursuing the matter further. Believe me, this is probably the #1 resolver of civil disputes. But think of it this way. You get hired to shoot a product video. Your living room is really nice, so you'll shoot it there, with your own lights, and your friend who's a budding actor will be the talent doing the demo. Now contrast that with a client who books a professional actor, rents a studio, hires a DP and some grips for the day, and you to come in with your camera and tripod to shoot. Who owns the footage in each situation?
Bill is right, it comes down to relationships and trust. But Meryem is also right in that its not a bad idea to put your stamp on a project just to make it clear who did what.

I had one client who I did a video for, and they loved it. After that, we did a bunch more together. I wasn't paid a dime up front. There was never a written contract. I was always paid well and we've enjoyed a good working relationship. I've even had them pull the plug on a couple of projects (convention attendance canceled, that sort of thing) and still was fully paid for the work I did.

Another client started out the same way. We did a fairly long project together for her riding club. I worked really hard on the project, basically bringing the whole thing together. At the end of the project, she asked if she could be given a "Director" credit. At the time, I thought no big deal, sure. Later I found out that the video, which was very well recieved was viewed by another club. They approached the client and asked her who did the video because they wanted to do one as well. She made it very clear that I had little to do with the process, was really just a "shooter" and that if they wanted to get the same results, they would need to hire her as a director. They decided not to shoot the video as she demanded virtually the entire budget just for her directing fees. I've got years of experience, went through a 2 year film diploma program and graduated with honors, and in this particular case probably created about 70 percent of the content without any supervision. By putting that credit on there at the end, she went from never having produced a video to someone who now needed to be paid $5k for a weeks work.
So now we don't put anything but our company credit at the end. We would only put a directors credit if the director was hired by myself or the client to direct the video.
So Bill is right, keep the client happy and it should lead to more work without problems. Meryem is right in that you need to protect yourself and apply credit where it is due. The only thing I think is pretty out there is getting a legal contract with attorney's involved... We just don't have the turnaround time for that kind of thing, and I'd be really surprised if there are many companies that actually have a lawer negotiate a contract before proceeding with a project.
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Old October 17th, 2007, 10:22 AM   #7
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Corporate work can be a different animal (and I'm not talking about commercials -but internal training and product promotional).

There is a great deal of work that does not cross over into broadcast commercials. Internal Training, promotional CD/DVD and web video, etc.

In these cases, you are shooting their people, their location, and their product. They feel an alienable right to the media, as it only benefits themselves. What little you can do with their media other than self-promotion on a demo reel for the next client?

The fees should apply to your time and talent -as a service. Do seek credit where it is due. However, you want to be easy to work with, and part of the team. On time and hopefully, within budget. Your direct report may or may not have any flexibility on pricing as budget is handed down. In these cases, a little education and guidance goes a long way, and he or she may need your help in justifying any higher cost. Again, you want to be a team player.

A well written contract will handle any issues up front, honest and simple. If there is an objection to something in your contract, you should handle it diplomatically. Again, you may be dealing with a project manager who knows little about rights and fees. Arrogance and greed are the paths to a quick exit.

I know this because I've been on both sides of the fence, and in hiring outside firms to do my work when I'm overbooked or can't be two places at once. I have little issue with these outside firms adding their logo/credit to their work. It's only fair.
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Old October 17th, 2007, 11:06 AM   #8
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why would you operate without a contract? i find them useful. they help me to think through all of the components as i put the project proposal together. and they help me educate the clients, who usually don't know a lot about what goes into their project. the signing of the contract and the deposit put a formal stamp on the process. it gives us something to pass back and forth, until both parties are satisfied with the price/service ratio. i just can't see any downside to using a contract. i have a few clients, with whom i have standing work, where we don't implement them, but that's after having completed several jobs for them under contract, and we both know the expectations and desired outcomes.
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Old October 17th, 2007, 02:40 PM   #9
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Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that contracts are a bad idea. I think they are great, if you can get them. If you're working with a firm that has a number of employees, and the budgets for your projects are significant, then absolutely, a contract is vital in terms of laying out timetables, deliverables ect. But you have to be fluid, and I think Bill really nails it in the concept that its a working relationship. Another site just posted an article where the guy talks about 3 weeks of editing, only to have the producer change his mind 48 hours before the deadline, and the guy had to edit for two days straight, without sleep. The producer was happy and the show won an award for editiing. But what if you take the approach and say to the producer, "no, we have a contract, and I've done my part. I'm not going to kill myself for two days because you've changed your mind. Read our contract!"? Then everyone loses. The producer hates you, maybe he takes the project to someone else, certainly he won't work with you again, and you'll probably be talking a lot about that contract when it comes time to try and get paid what you're owed.
Point is, even if you have a contract, if there isn't goodwill between you and the client, you may find the contract not as valuable as you think.
For me working mostly on my own, I don't have the time, nor the budget to hire a lawyer to review and approve a contract. The turn around time is way too short. I've had calls from clients where there is maybe a week to script, shoot & edit a piece. Just communicating with the client can be a chore, getting a hold of them between meetings. If I said, "ok, we need to hammer out a contract, then I need to go to my lawyer, he/she needs to approve it, if there are any changes then we'll have to re-draft, then submit it for their approval again..." umm, forget it. The client would be long gone and already shooting the video with the one of the 1.5 million other video producers in my area.
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