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Old April 29th, 2013, 11:52 AM   #1
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The value of archive footage?

Hi folks,

I made a short clip a few years ago (see below). I managed to get some commissions off the back of it, so it paid for itself really. Only took me a few hours to film and about a day to edit.

The thing is, I now have the tourism board of that city contact me today out of the blue. They spotted it by chance online and want to buy it. I don't know what their intended usage is, but from what I can gather (my Spanish is not too great) they want to feature it for some online presentation piece.

I wouldn't have the foggiest idea what to charge, or even if I should give them the rights for free? Any ideas?


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Old April 29th, 2013, 06:58 PM   #2
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Re: The value of archive footage?

There are a couple of ways to go at this;

1. Charge a per second fee. I usually charge $80-$150/sec for commercial use but did sell 1 sec. of footage for a national soft drink commercial for $5K once.
2. What would it really cost to shoot and edit this piece (crew, gear rental, transportation, insurance, edit time, etc)? Use that number as a high end and see what the market will bear below that amount.

I assume the music is cleared?

Once they put your footage on the web it's anyone's to take, download, steal, etc. so give them a number that lessens the pain if someone missuses your footage. If you give it away you do a disservice to the rest of us who are trying to make a living in this business and will undercut the amount you can charge for your next video.
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Old April 30th, 2013, 01:17 AM   #3
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Re: The value of archive footage?

To me, depends if they want the piece as a whole, or to use one shot in something else they're editing, or to re-edit your piece into something completely different. Depending on the answers to those, I'd guess from a couple hundred dollars to a couple grand - probably trending toward a couple hundred.

Contacting people over the web has become a lot more common, to "license" their work. I know some people think of it as hitting the jackpot, but I have never seen it actually amount to that. Much more often it is a lowball number. I have licensed a few pieces off flickr for $5, or just for the good will (i.e. free). Occasionally I will find a photo I want to use and message the person (an amateur) to offer a few bucks plus copy and credit, and they will hit me back with a price like those stated above. "Well, the stock houses charge $1000." Well, yes - but yours is not the only photo of the "Welcome to Akron" sign.

IMHO your piece is pretty good, but nothing that anybody else couldn't shoot in a half day. If I were buying it, I would be looking at paying a guy $500 to shoot for a half day - and for that, I could make him a list and get exactly what I want, with pad on both ends. Paying you, I'm only getting what you shot, and no pad. My top end would be half what I would pay a shooter - so around $250.
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 09:39 PM   #4
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Re: The value of archive footage?

^ +1 $250 outright, with a smile. They might return.

Cheers.
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Old May 3rd, 2013, 12:40 PM   #5
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Re: The value of archive footage?

Thank you Rick and Mike for two very different but interesting views.

Rick, I did check out your site and I think you have a very specialist area with what you do. I believe you can get away with charging what you do for your footage because of the rare factor. You can't send any shooter out to capture a whale breaking the surface of the ocean in an afternoon. And your clients are paying for that privilege.

On the other hand, Mike - These guys are willing to pay a reasonable amount for it I think. I'm not a amateur, I don't do this for free. Probably they could, I'm sure, find a shooter to go out and film what they want from a list. I've done that too - but it doesn't end up looking like in that clip. It takes time to beautify the shots - It's not basic footage. And if they could so easily do that, they would have done it I'm sure instead of taking the time to track me down?

I've sent an email off to them and put some costs "per second" down - but have left it open for them to come back to me and make an offer.

Many thanks again guys for the replies.
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Old May 3rd, 2013, 04:27 PM   #6
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Re: The value of archive footage?

Didn't mean to imply you weren't a pro. Just wanted to counter the "ask for the moon" sentiment. I wish you the best of luck, and I hope you'll let us know how it turns out!
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