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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old August 11th, 2012, 03:28 AM   #1
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Freelancers

Hi,

A lot of freelancers that assist me as a second shooter now think its common practice for them to be allowed to use any footage they capture for their own promotional services.

I make it clear beforehand that the footage belongs to my company but due to this I have now lost 3 2nd shooters. Has anybody come across this before?
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Old August 11th, 2012, 03:42 AM   #2
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Re: Freelancers

What seems to happen is that they don't have a portfolio to show brides and do their own weddings so they are working as a 2nd shooter for you in the hope that they can build up a couple of demos and then break out on their own..and they will be your competition.

My own 2nd shooter has talent but no gear whatsoever so she isn't really interested in doing weddings herself. The question you need to ask yourself is "Do I really need a 2nd shooter and if I do for how long"
My lady just assists me when I have both the groom and bride preps to do at the same time in different locations and she never works past the ceremony. The majority of weddings I shoot alone with 3 cameras and as long as you don't have a dual prep to shoot it's quite easy to do!!

Admittedly I would like a 2nd shooter all the time but anyone who is really good enough is more than likely going to end up as my competition. The only safe 2nd shooter is your wife/girlfriend otherwise just shoot solo!!

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Old August 11th, 2012, 03:50 AM   #3
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Re: Freelancers

Doing Asian weddings solo is just to difficult. There are over 350 guests, speeches, lavish entrances and emotional goodbyes. I really need a second shooter.

I do understand that ultimately they will want to start their own company but I don't think its fair that I have been the one investing in SEO, Websites, stands at exhibitions, shooting events for free to get a portfolio and then a freelancer just piggy backing of my hard work.
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Old August 11th, 2012, 04:29 AM   #4
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Re: Freelancers

Maybe you're not offering enough money to make it worthwhile for them to stay since they're not allowed to use any of the footage they capture. If you were offering a good rate i can't imagine why anyone would give up the job? 2nd shooter on a wedding with ZERO external responsibilities sounds like easy money.
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Old August 11th, 2012, 04:31 AM   #5
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Re: Freelancers

In my experience with both photography & video it is quite normal practice to allow a second shooter to use images/footage for their portfolio/showreel. If you don't want them to use it then pay them extra & take the memory cards from them at the end of the shoot.
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Old August 11th, 2012, 04:31 AM   #6
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Re: Freelancers

The idea that your contracted in 2nd shooter (can't call them employees in the UK) has any claim to the material shot is plain stupid. You are paying them to be an operator. They have no claim as to the material they shoot whatsoever unless you give them this. However, if they walk away, then you need to question their intention in the first place. They took your money AND rights to use the work? They want it both ways - as in they were not working for you - they were partners in a combined project.

Maybe it's different here, but I have a list - not a long one, of people I can use to do things for my projects, and they do it, walk away and invoice me. Equally, they call me to go and work for them on their projects. Can you imagine a big broadcaster giving the source material to the camera op they booked?

Wedding people (I don't do weddings - ever!) do seem to be very different from every other area of the video industry. Surely in each area you have a number of businesses in competition for work, but once somebody books company X to produce the video, anybody without work that day from company Y would offer their services if needed to generate income? If they won't do it without something for the showreel - then I'd seek help from outside the wedding system, because there are video people everywhere who may not do weddings, but could if you explain exactly what is needed. They'd be happy to invoice you for a days work and walk away, job done, empty handed.
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Old August 11th, 2012, 04:58 AM   #7
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Re: Freelancers

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Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
Maybe it's different here, but I have a list - not a long one, of people I can use to do things for my projects, and they do it, walk away and invoice me. Equally, they call me to go and work for them on their projects. Can you imagine a big broadcaster giving the source material to the camera op they booked?
Plenty of specialist operators have a showreel even if they have been paid a day rate e.g. Steadicam or aerial or underwater etc Where do you think their images came from?
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Old August 12th, 2012, 03:18 AM   #8
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Re: Freelancers

I agree with Paul, it is ludicrous for an operator to feel he has any claim to footage shot under your employ.

It never occurred to me when I started out that I would use footage shot for another company.

The idea that one should have to pay extra to someone because they do not get to keep footage is also silly to me.

One option is to hire a divorced or married woman with children and train them. Women with families make excellent shooters, are super responsible, and don't have the time or inclination to start their own companies. There are exceptions, I am speaking in generalities, of course.

The largest event video company here (that I know of) uses a large number of women and they are detail oriented and can serve as great shooters for hanging out with the women as they get ready also.
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Old August 12th, 2012, 03:48 AM   #9
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Re: Freelancers

For about three years I had additional shooters working at my weddings and would not have expected them to assume ownership or usage of any material they shot for me. Likewise I have worked as additional shooter for a number of operators in the wedding and event business. If I'd wanted to use any footage I'd negotiate that outside of our contracted agreement. I did on a few occasion where I shot unusual footage - inside a race car around Silverstone, from a helicopter and some crane work.

As others have found taking on people who will become your direct competition is something you have to be prepared for, not only in poaching work, I found one handing out his cards at a business seminar he was shooting for me and another who booked a holiday a month before he'd agreed to do two weddings for me at the time he was away and one who shot an entire wedding without any sound. In the end I found a few like-minded operators in the region and now we pass work, work-share and help each other out as an when required.
Unless you have the ability to provide, and almost guarantee, regular ongoing work I don't think it surprising if freelancers will not be that committed to your business and use it as a stepping stone to their own.
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Old August 12th, 2012, 04:20 AM   #10
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Re: Freelancers

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Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
The idea that one should have to pay extra to someone because they do not get to keep footage is also silly to me.
In the field of wedding photography it's quite common to pay a second shooter peanuts (say 50/$80 for a full day) with the promise that they can use any photos they take to build their portfolio. This is pretty exploitative as the second shooter will be expected to basically work as an assistant carrying bags etc & probably won't get a chance to take many nice shots. I am sure that this happens in video too. Here in the UK because many people don't charge enough for wedding videos the day rate they offer a second shooter will be very low.
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Old August 12th, 2012, 04:56 AM   #11
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Re: Freelancers

Nigel I guess that if that's the arrangement - low pay but full use of material filmed - then of course using footage is agreed but I don't take from Tariq's post that that was the position, he states at the outset it belongs to him. As for the payment, I've no idea what he pays but I use to pay 100 or 250 if using their own equipment and and shooter was assigned a camera job, not bag carrier, that's what stopped my wife coming with me.
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Old August 12th, 2012, 07:09 AM   #12
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Re: Freelancers

Here in the USA you need to make that agreement official by using a contract. Even if you pay someone it may not be a work for hire situation.

A freelancer must to surrender their rights to the material via a contract. They are not actually your employee but a private contractor so work for hire can not be assumed.
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Old August 12th, 2012, 11:23 AM   #13
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Re: Freelancers

I suspect a lot of material used in showreels is actually not the property of the individual, and the rights holders either ok it or just keep their backs turned. I think that 70-80% of what I shoot gets handed to the client without me even keeping a copy. Often somebody collects it after the short finishes so I don't even have the time to make a backup! Showreels do seem to be a bit, er, vague on the rights issue.
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Old August 12th, 2012, 12:28 PM   #14
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Re: Freelancers

If you have "lost" shooters, then you aren't paying them enough. Freelancers will show up for anything worth their time. They've decided your rate isn't worth their time OR you've made a big enough deal about the footage thing that it has soured the relationship.

Pay well, make the terms clear upfront, and get on with it! Asking them not to use the footage isn't unreasonable. Them asking to use the footage is also not unreasonable. You expect to be able to use the footage that your clients hire you to make, right? Why are you surprised when you are the client that your shooter wants to use the footage? Neither way is right or wrong.

Sounds like you are hiring beginners. Hire folks who are more established and not desperate for the footage. It will make you job easier in more ways than one. Good luck.
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Old August 13th, 2012, 07:14 AM   #15
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Re: Freelancers

I don't think it's because I am not paying them enough, I just think it's a little bad luck.
I pay between 200 and 250 for a 8 hour day and feel that is more than fair.

For me, it comes down to the individuals mindset, if a freelancer wants to setup on his own or wants to start charging more for his services, then yes they would want the footage to promote themselves.

On the other hand it's down to me to make sure that they know they are part of my team and we are not in a partnership. I have spent years building my company and getting into the position where I can start shooting larger events.

If I ask a shooter to assist me in a 500 person wedding at a country manor then I class that as my project because I have worked to get there. It has be who spends money on branding, taxes, insurance, advertising, petrol meeting clients etc.

If a shooter assists me then uses the wedding on their own site then they are getting recognition for more than just the camerawork. It gives any future client that see his work a false sense of security as they could be tricked into thinking that he shot the wedding and he was trusted to do so and that trust is key in this business.
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