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Old July 25th, 2005, 11:10 PM   #1
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Acquiring Scenic/Nature HD Content

Hi All,

This is my introductory post, so I just wanted to say hi, introduce myself and then get down to business.

I am a niche DVD marketer and content broker, and have been doing this since 2000 - sometimes surprising even myself that I made it this far. There are some good companies and bad companies out there. Luckily, I've rooted out the bad ones over the years, and acquired some very, very good ones. HD is now in a similar place to where DVD was years ago. I know that a lot of people are waiting for a consumer format to finally be adopted so that they can move some footage in formats other than WMV9/10.

One of my clients is a very respected name in the video imaging/imaging science world and we are looking at doing a little brand extension. The client has worldwide distribution with online and offline major retailers. You'll forgive me for not giving all of the particulars in a public forum, but I'd be very happy to answer your questions via PM.

On their behalf, I am looking to acquire and/or license content of the following types --usually 5-10 minute clips, although long-form content is welcome too:

1) General Nature
2) Aquatic and underwater scenes
3) Landscapes/cityscapes
4) Hang-gliding/ballooning
5) Maritime
6) Ornithology
7) Environment/Conservation

We are looking for great image quality above all, and will ensure that the transfer and authoring process protects this quality. There is often a tradeoff between audio and video quality when it comes to nature video, but I'd say that image is valued first and audio second, when necessary.

You would obviously be paid up front (~$300 and up per clip), credited for your work (unless you choose not to be credited, i.e. for situations where you are not supposed to be moonlighting). Participation in profits is certainly not out of the question, although I would imagine in most cases it's higher advance payment vs. lower advance with share of profits all tied to the percentage of your work that would comprise a particular final work.

If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me. Thanks for making this forum available as a resource.

Best Regards,
Jason Rosenfeld

Last edited by Jason Rosenfeld; July 26th, 2005 at 08:43 AM.
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Old July 30th, 2005, 07:59 PM   #2
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Are you looking for HDV footage? If so does it need to be of any particular flavor?(1080i or 720p)....

Does the sound for the 5 minute clips matter?

Do you take shorter clips?

Inquiring minds want to know! :)
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Old August 1st, 2005, 07:58 AM   #3
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underwater HDV

Hello Jason

Go here for a look
http://www.ningalooreefteach.com/FX1.htm

Regards
Paul
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Old August 5th, 2005, 10:52 PM   #4
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I wish someone would go to yellowstone with a Z1, they have great scenery there!
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Old August 5th, 2005, 11:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Wags
Awesome link, Paul! Thanks for sharing that,
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Old August 6th, 2005, 11:01 AM   #6
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$300 for five minutes of HD?!

Discovery channel just bought 10 SECONDS of DV from us for $100.

IMO, Jason is looking for steals, but if you want to
practically give your work away, that's your choice.

Sorry for the bucket of cold water, but this is how I feel
about this offer and IF you have great footage like he wants
(most won't cut the mustard) I would shop it around. There
are plenty of places paying more.
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Old August 7th, 2005, 11:15 PM   #7
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You are jumping the gun judging me here, Jacques. While I agree that, on the surface, it sounds better to sell 10 seconds of DV for $100 than to sell 5 minutes for $300, I don't know your level of expertise (I am assuming that you are quite good).

First, let me just begin by saying that I originally said that my clients are seeking content at a rate of "~$300 and up per clip". While I can't fathom using a 10 second clip for one of these projects, I have to plead ignorance. I simply don't know what the content was. However, your fee was still included in my estimated range as all I did was state an approximate minimum. Is there a theoretical maximum? Someone could have the next Zapruder film. While it wouldn't go to the client I had in mind, I'd have places to take different kinds of content.

Second, you are quite right that most footage does not cut the mustard. If we are talking about a nature shot -- and a plane flies through the shot, or someone "walks across the set," there are a lot of bad shots to be filtered out. But still, even if none of the above happen, it doesn't mean that a shot is great.

A great shot comes from a great artist mixed in with the occassional "happy accident" for good measure. Trust me, if I had the ability to sell 10 second shots for $100 all day, I wouldn't be a content broker. I'd be shooting with my camera all day. However, I simply don't have that type of artistic ability. (I can look at a shot or listen to audio and have a good sense of whether it works with a project, but I don't have the skills to create them).

And finally, I am a content broker. I have brokered deals with everything from TV episodic programming, to music, and lots of diverse types of content. Just like some people don't want to sell a house through a real estate agent, some people don't see needs for brokers, agents or other types of businesses where someone is working on a percentage basis. Someone like that should probably not respond to me. (But as we like to say in the content business, 100% of nothing is still nothing).

Best Regards,
Jason


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques Mersereau
$300 for five minutes of HD?!

Discovery channel just bought 10 SECONDS of DV from us for $100.

IMO, Jason is looking for steals, but if you want to
practically give your work away, that's your choice.

Sorry for the bucket of cold water, but this is how I feel
about this offer and IF you have great footage like he wants
(most won't cut the mustard) I would shop it around. There
are plenty of places paying more.
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Old August 8th, 2005, 11:42 AM   #8
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<<<Jason Rosenfeld]Trust me, if I had the ability to sell 10 second shots for $100 all day, I wouldn't be a content broker. I'd be shooting with my camera all day.>>>

And that is my point exactly. You can't do it, because it is very difficult.

To get even 10 seconds of footage
"worthy" enough to be purchased and included in anyone's broadcast is
_very difficult_. You want 5-10 minute clips in HD. That would infer
balloon flights over Yosemite at dawn, etc. IF I could go out with my
camera and sell dozens 10 second clips I would too.

The fact is that 10 seconds of usable stuff in realty equals HOURS and
HOURS of effort, huge equipment expense, etc.
If your client wanted to get 10 mintues of ballooning over
Yosemite, they would have to spend thousands and still might end up
with nothing due to weather and other issues. Therefore, imo,
their offer is less than generous.

<<<And finally, I am a content broker. I have brokered deals with everything from TV episodic programming, to music, and lots of diverse types of content. Just like some people don't want to sell a house through a real estate agent, some people don't see needs for brokers, agents or other types of businesses where someone is working on a percentage basis. Someone like that should probably not respond to me. (But as we like to say in the content business, 100% of nothing is still nothing).>>>

Willie Nelson sold a couple of his songs for $150. Those songs made
millions. At the time, Willie needed the money too and didn't know
what he was selling was worth. I think it is okay for me to inform
our members of real world rates.
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Old August 8th, 2005, 01:31 PM   #9
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jacques, aren't you being a bit harsh? i mean, there are quite a few folks here (myself included, if i had an HD camera, which i don't yet) who would be shooting this kind of stuff anyway, maybe for love not money. tomorrow, i am schlepping my XL2 up a 13,000 foot peak for the heck of it, to boldly go and get video footage where no XL2 has gone before. because i can. for fun. if someone wanted to pay me for what i would do anyway, that'd be swell. some things i do for money, some things i do because i'm stupid. or because i want to try something new (like test my new monopod, and see if it will be the tool that will make me want to hang onto this big-ass camera and make it worth my while to carry it to ridiculous places).

seasoned professionals already know what you are saying, anyway, and those of us who need a little seasoning probably wouldn't mind making a few bucks doing something we already love.

here's how i spent last weekend, climbing above 11,000 feet so that i could shoot a bit of wildflower footage. it's a 54-second clip which i'm thinking about submitting to a local 54-second film festival (sponsored by channel 54), and i think the privilege of submitting will cost me $20 (comparable to the DVC3), if i decide to go through with it.

http://www.ourmedia.org/node/38039

earning $300 or more sounds a lot better than paying out $20, no? i think someone like me (or me-with-HD-camcorder) is more the audience that jason is trying to hit. while i appreciate the warning shot from someone in the know, the guy is just engaging in a bit of free enterprise. he does not appear on the surface, to be a rip-off artist, just a guy advertising for a specific product from a specific market. i don't think he is seeking out seasoned pros, he is trying to capitalize on the democratization of the HD format. these new affordable camcorders are bringing to small-time operators, and he's trying to carve a niche.

or to get all philosophical and stuff, does any art have intrinsic value at all? or is its value determined by the zeitgeist and the existing market? do you think that if willie nelson had any inkling at all that his songs would be worth millions that he would have settled for $150? the songs pre-existed the zeitgeist and the market, not the other way around.
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Old August 8th, 2005, 01:49 PM   #10
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The true value of anything is what someone is willing to pay for it -- not the price that someone sets for it. When the Soviet Union collapsed, butchers who never experienced capitalism before let their food rot on the shelves rather than negotiate a lower price with customers.

Jacques made a good point that it can take many hours to get the perfect shot. So, when you look at the whole project, he was not really selling 10 seconds of footage, but the footage plus all of the labor, gas and tolls, etc.

From a pure fixed cost perspective, in most cases, $300 for 5 minutes would be better than $100 for 10 seconds. I don't think you can book a videographer for 10 seconds! Variable costs are not much different between 10 seconds and 5 minutes. Same goes with the kinds of work I do. Some clients pay a lot for a small number of hours per week, and other clients book up large blocks of my time at a much lower rate.

The ideal scenario is this: When filming a nature lockdown shot, what Jacques should really do is to film an hour of material, sell 10 seconds of it to Discovery Channel for $100 and a separate 5 minutes to me for $300. :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meryem Ersoz
or to get all philosophical and stuff, does any art have intrinsic value at all?
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Old August 8th, 2005, 03:19 PM   #11
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Now gents, I think we need to calm the waters.

As Meryem has said, there are quite a few people here who have and would shoot footage like required for a fee. Remember, "Never let the need for money outweigh the need for Quality, Friendly and Professional service".

Now me for example, and staying in one the most beautifull cities in the world, have footage to offer someone like Jason providing that his offer is on the up and up.

Now Jason, don't get me wrong, you would not be the first to make an offer like this. Many before have and we had only to discover that these offers were not as legit as what they made out to be so forgive the scepticism.

If what you offer is sound, fell free to contact me as I do have some footage available of Cape Town and surrounds.

Cheers
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Old August 8th, 2005, 04:16 PM   #12
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No one is stopping anyone from buying or selling footage for a low price.
I am trying to educate people about fair market value.

In the current "race to the bottom", here is a brilliant plan.

Discovery Channel (who now needs HD and doesn't have enough)
puts out the word to thousands of videographers to go out and
shoot content for $$$. That content will be captured on the gear the _video
people_ paid thousands of dollar to acquire, NOT Discovery.
Many will buy cameras with their credit cards. (A while back Discovery
GAVE HD rigs to people in hopes of getting footage. Alas, I guess
they didn't get enough good shots.)

Then Discovery has 'the video people' provide at NO COST a large
'harvest' of oysters for FREE. Can you imagine thousands of
oyster boats sending their catches
for free to a jewelry company for "pearl inspection"? Cool plan eh?

Discovery can then go over the entire harvest and extract a few pearls
from the thousands of shells. The price they pay for pearls is EXTREMELY low, whereas normally it is VERY HIGH due to the money and effort
by dozens required to bring even a one pearl to market.

My point, it is a brilliant plan (albeit ethically sketchy in my book)
and because there are so many people
out there who are desperate or don't care, it will probably succeed
(in the short run and kill off the stock footage business in the long run).
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Last edited by Jacques Mersereau; August 8th, 2005 at 08:25 PM.
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Old August 8th, 2005, 04:34 PM   #13
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I respect the point for fair market value and I too am one who doesn't want to 'give' footage away and would rather see value for value.

By the same token, if I do have lockdown footage that I feel is worth selling at a fair value, then surely I can ask a fair value provided the offer is fair.

As Jason has mentioned, the pricing would be negotiable and hence his brokerage.

Lets see what comes from this and then lets comment on what is fair or not.

Cheers
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Old August 8th, 2005, 06:22 PM   #14
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What is happening with stock photography might influence stock video, but I think it's harder to get usable footage than to get usable still shots.

Companies such as www.dreamstime.com offer tons of photos from the "photographic oysters" you describe -- for $1 apiece. There is a lot more junk to sort through, but $1 royalty for license in perpetuity versus $100s or $1,000s of dollars for a site such as Corbis -- it has to be hitting their pocketbooks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques Mersereau
No one is stopping anyone from buying or selling footage for a low price.
I am trying to educate people about fair market value.

In the current "race to the bottom", here is a briliant plan.

Discovery Channel (who now needs HD and doesn't have enough)
puts out the word to thousands of videographers to go out and
shoot content for $$$. That content will be captured on the gear the _video
people_ paid thousands of dollar to acquire, NOT Discovery.
Many will buy it with their credit cards. (A while back Discovery
GAVE HD rigs to people in hopes of getting footage. Alas, I guess
they didn't get enough good shots.)

Then Discovery has 'the video people' provide at NO COST a large
'harvest' of oysters for FREE. Can you imagine thousands of
oyster boats sending their catches
for free to a jewlery company for "pearl inspection"? Cool plan eh?

Discovery can then go over the entire harvest and extract a few pearls
from the thousands of shells. The price they pay for pearls is EXTREMELY low, whereas normally it is VERY HIGH due to the money and effort
by dozens required to bring even a one pearl to market.

My point, it is a brilliant plan (albeit ethically sketchy in my book)
and because there are so many people
out there who are desperate or don't care, it will probably succeed
(in the short run and kill off the stock footage business in the long run).
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Old August 8th, 2005, 08:31 PM   #15
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That is it Jason. Untold hours of bad video to sort though,
a few pearls to recover and coin and millions of oysters to
give away at 'cat food' prices.

Sorry, but you see what this means for those professionals who
dream of owning a successful stock footage company.

NEXT DREAM PLEASE ;(
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