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Taking Care of Business
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Old October 19th, 2010, 08:49 AM   #1
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Shooting for Video Stock Footage?

We live in the South of France which is a very photogenic (& to some a very glamorous) part of the world & as we go about our regular work shooting video for clients my wife & I wondered about the viability of shooting specifically for video stock footage for the likes of istockphoto, gettyimages etc

Can anyone share some experience of this market? Is it realistic to think that I can just shoot some nice footage of the Monaco, St Tropez or elsewhere on the French Riviera, submit it & then step back & wait for the money to roll in? I am guessing not:-) However somebody must be filming all those clips that Getty are charging thousands for.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 02:15 AM   #2
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If you're going to be at a location anyway then it makes sense to do some extra shots. It essentially will cost you next to nothing to do.

About the only thing I can suggest would be to get shots that are different and stand out to what is currently available in the stock libraries. (Not that I have looked at what is currently on offer.)

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Old October 21st, 2010, 04:08 PM   #3
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You will need signed releases for anybody on camera, or any business or residence being shown.

Good luck!
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Old October 21st, 2010, 07:51 PM   #4
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istock wiil rip you off as they pay next to nothing to the producer. Shop around and see if you can find someone or some site that will represent you for sales of the footage. I think you'll probably find you'll need to shoot a fair bit of stuff on spec and put together a show reel to show what you can offer.
Agree with the other response though: if you're there anyway shoot it.
p.s. you won't need releases from everyone, look into your local laws and see what you need, it differs Country by Country.
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Old October 21st, 2010, 08:10 PM   #5
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Never done it. But I've thought about doing things like that as a great way to write-off travel to exotic places ;)
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Old October 21st, 2010, 10:50 PM   #6
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Robert, I know you're just joking, but obviously you could only write it off against income that the travel actually produces, not anything unrelated to it. You can't take the expenses from one activity and write them off against income from another.
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Last edited by Adam Gold; October 22nd, 2010 at 01:16 PM.
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 08:51 AM   #7
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p.s. you won't need releases from everyone, look into your local laws and see what you need, it differs Country by Country.
My understanding is that if I am stood filming in a public place then I don't need any releases otherwise those shots of the Croisette teaming with people during the Cannes Film Festival with the Ritz Carlton Hotel in the background couldn't ever be shown as it would be impossible to obtain releases from everyone in the crowd.
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 08:59 AM   #8
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In this day of needing a release from every man and his dog .... do TV news crews even bother with this?

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Old October 22nd, 2010, 09:00 AM   #9
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I know you're just joking, but obviously you could only write it off against income that the travel actually produces, not anything unrelated to it. You can't take the expenses from one activity and write them off against income from another.
As a company or self-employed individual you may undertake many different activities some profitable others not. Generally all the expenses go into one big pot as does all the income. I may have to justify the expenses to the tax authorities but if for example I go location scouting for an abortive project that never gets filmed then I can claim those outgoings as a legitimate business expense. I may at some stage get called to account & asked to provide more detail of the aborted project that necessitated a two week trip to Honolulu but that is a perfectly normal way of doing business & offsetting expenses against income.
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 09:04 AM   #10
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I think that we will give this a go after we have bought our new cameras next month but I was hoping that there might be someone with real experience of selling stock footage who could give some tips. I am sure that not so long ago I saw a posting on DVInfo from someone who did shoot stock footage but I cannot find it now.
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 12:20 PM   #11
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As a company or self-employed individual you may undertake many different activities some profitable others not. Generally all the expenses go into one big pot as does all the income.
Nigel, you're lucky. Doesn't work that way in this country.

Not that the expenses have to come from the same exact trip as the income you hope to write them off against, but from the same general business. You couldn't, for example, write off expenses from a location scouting trip against your restaurant business unless it had something to do with the restaurant.

But that's why they have really creative accountants, I guess. Sometimes what's legal and what you can get away with are two different things.

Of course, now that I think about it a little more, I suppose if you can demonstrate that this is a bona-fide business venture and not just a hobby (which the IRS is very strict about), you could take an operating loss which could be carried forward... have to talk to my accountant about this.

But to get back to the original topic, this is a great idea and I'd be interested to hear how it works out for you. I'm also considering something along those lines.
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Last edited by Adam Gold; October 22nd, 2010 at 01:17 PM.
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Old October 24th, 2010, 09:16 AM   #12
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In this day of needing a release from every man and his dog .... do TV news crews even bother with this?

Andrew
Reporting a news story, and selling stock footage are two entirely different concepts.
To get a better handle on what releases are required, simply visit any stock footage website and browse their contributor area where they spell out their requirements on shot length, motion, quality, and releases.

All the Best!
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Old October 24th, 2010, 09:33 AM   #13
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True, but I'm amazed how finicky we get about blurring out anything that might possibly be a brand name.

Mythbusters are a classic at this, even blurring out something on the front of their "Mythbusters bible" (substituting for a real bible) in the episode where they were investigating whether coins / money / bibles etc were able to protect your life when you are getting stabbed.

I prefer the end of the reality stick that the news crews work at.

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Old October 29th, 2010, 08:22 PM   #14
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Reporting a news story, and selling stock footage are two entirely different concepts.
Not really, at least in the US. If you are on a public street or public area, shooting what is visible in a public place there are no constraints with what you do with the footage. After all, the news media is collecting their own "stock footage" that is profitable content for them. Private property is another story, but you can shoot whatever you can see on private property, as long as you're standing on the public property. So you can shoot into someone's garage if the door is open, as long as you are out on the sidewalk.

That wouldn't necessarily prevent someone from suing you, if they find themselves in your video, if they had enought time or money, and it's probably not worth the hassle to fight them. They'd lose the case but you'd be out the time and money to fight it. Getting releases in a public place is more preventive, than anything else. Lately I have seen producers just put up a big sign that states video is being shot etc. Especially at concerts and festivals.
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Old October 29th, 2010, 08:24 PM   #15
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True, but I'm amazed how finicky we get about blurring out anything that might possibly be a brand name.
This is done so that products that PAY to have their brand names included in the show you're watching, known as product placement, don't get peeved at the free publicity the t-shirts or hats with logos are getting. If you didn't pay for your logo to be on the show, it gets blurred out.
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