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Old September 18th, 2015, 07:39 AM   #1
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Contract Language to Protect Number of Edits?

Does anyone have any nice wedding contract language they are willing to share that limits or specifies the number/kind of edits you are willing to make to the highlight video/wedding film?
I obviously don't mind corrected technical mistakes/issues, but I feel subjective edits should be limited.

I certainly don't mind fine-tuning a wedding video to meet the vision of the Bride and Groom, but I do believe limits should be set and a certain level of artistic license be left up to us as the filmmaker.

I just had a pretty difficult client that had NUMEROUS minor edits for their 4 minute highlight film and they haven't even received their full-length DVD yet! I know there is nothing I can do to help this particular situation, but I want to include language in my contract that protects me in the future from situations like this.

These were just some of the edit requests with many more requested in a series of emails.
*Take out bride's eye movement in shot
*Pan to top of bride's head if possible in shot
*Reduce number of camera flashes during the dancing/cake cutting portion of the video
*Crop sister out of the shot during the vows
*Add more detail shots of the reception
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Old September 18th, 2015, 08:00 AM   #2
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Re: Contract Language to Protect Number of Edits?

Just add one line in your contract that says that re-edits are possible at 200 dollar an hour with a minimum amount of 500 dollar or something like that. You most likely will get into a discussion when these prices are mentioned but since they signed the contract they also approved your terms so then it's not your problem anymore. You at least will not be blamed for not allowing a re-edit and if they are willing to pay then afterwards you can take your wife out for dinner in a fancy restaurant :)
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Old September 18th, 2015, 08:25 AM   #3
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Re: Contract Language to Protect Number of Edits?

I have in my contract that the creative decision making in edit is solely mine. I struggle to remember a client ever coming back to me with those sort of requests.

Might I suggest that there is something in your approach that somewhere along the line leads your clients to believe its a collaboration. Maybe it's just different cultures. I don't know. Maybe its's price point related.

I get the feeling most of my clients fully trust me and walk away happy with what I do.

Like I said, it's in my contract but I don't believe that's why I don't get requests (who reads contracts from 12 months ago anyway?).
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Old September 18th, 2015, 10:37 AM   #4
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Re: Contract Language to Protect Number of Edits?

I have in my terms that creative control is mine and any requests to the edit will be charged at £XXX/hour - I would not be undertaking changes like those unless they paid - I learned the hard way.

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Old September 18th, 2015, 12:49 PM   #5
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Re: Contract Language to Protect Number of Edits?

Iíve got this clause that has saved me from having to do more than a few revisions:

"Client shall be given the option to review the First Cut and request changes within 21 days of delivery. SSM will spend up to (1) hour on additional changes. If changes require additional editing beyond (1) hour Client will be charged an overtime fee of $X per hour."

I've only had a few brides request revisions past the first hour as most brides want to avoid paying for any revisions. I don't mind spending an extra hour to change a few shots, and when I do this the brides seem very appreciative of it. If I get to the point where I've logged 60 minutes I'll show them updates and ask if they want me to keep editing.

This has worked well because they get the option to request a few edits for free, and then if they want to keep going they know they'll have to pay for them.
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Old September 18th, 2015, 03:01 PM   #6
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Re: Contract Language to Protect Number of Edits?

I agree with the charging of time for re-edits not to mention the first 3 requests they have are IMO ridiculous. You are shooting a LIVE ONE OFF event and if her eyes are moving, well what would they like you to do with that? Pan to the top of head? Reduce the number of camera flashes? Talk to the photographer.....I can think of a number of sarcastic, cynical responses to ALL of the requests but I will remain silent on those.
As for the last 2 requests...if you feel you can crop the sister out without ruining the quality of the shot sure why not and lastly if you have some additional detail or B footage of the reception, sure add it in. Why not.

Here's the thing...you left yourself WIDE open for these types of requests because of the wording of your contract and don't be shocked or surprised if when they get the long version they don't have a list of 50 different things to "fix".

Pick something you can do quickly and easily and agree to that. That's called "letting them save face. Since you have a weak contract (not anymore I hope) and they are taking advantage of your skills and niceness saying NO is hard but you don't have to say yes to everything.

I have said to clients who asked for changes even though my paperwork CLEARLY stated that I had complete control over the edit, that I can't change something because it simply wasn't possible or I didn't have footage to replace that shot with as it was something that I didn't do as a normal course of shooting a wedding. Sometimes the truth is simply the best thing to say.

This issue is something that really sticks in my throat because it's happened to a lot of folks over the years and it's a very simple fix which you are about to embark on by changing your paperwork.
Good luck with these peeps.
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Old September 22nd, 2015, 12:57 PM   #7
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Re: Contract Language to Protect Number of Edits?

One of several "fine print" clauses on my contract just above the client's signature ( and we certainly do go over verbally recited by me and agreed upon
just before the signing ) clearly states :
" All editing of the captured video as well as all color correction(s) and effects/ transitions as well as audio enhancements, additions and removal is at the sole discretion of the editor. Post corrections/re-edits and enhancements will NOT be available."

The fine print clauses is what will save your bacon. If they sign under the clauses, all is golden.
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Old September 23rd, 2015, 06:16 PM   #8
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Re: Contract Language to Protect Number of Edits?

Well, I updated my contract to include some language which protect me from a crazy number of revision requests. I certainly don't mind fine-tuning one or two things to get the video how they really envisioned it.
For anyone who is interested, this is the language that I cobbled together based upon a couple Google searches.
I know any good attorney can pick this apart along with the rest of my contract if it ever got that far, but my real reason for having it is to simply keep these types of issues at bay.


12. REVISIONS. The Highlight Video includes one (1) round of revisions, provided that such revisions do not require work exceeding the Scope of Work as defined in this Agreement. Ianís Creations may decline, or charge $50/hr additionally for revision requests that Ianís Creations reasonably deems to be beyond the Scope of Work or beyond the provided revision allowance. The full length video is eligible for technical revisions and revision requests other than technical corrections are subject to a $50/hr editing fee. Ianís Creations reserves the right to decline any revision requests to the full length video other than technical corrections. Digital Video Disks are eligible for technical corrections only.
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Old September 23rd, 2015, 09:04 PM   #9
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Re: Contract Language to Protect Number of Edits?

Your language needs a lot of work and leaves a lot open to interpretation. Interpretation always leaves plenty of room for misunderstandings and that leads to lawsuits.

What is "technical"? What is the "scope of work"? Unless you have specific definitions it is all up to interpretation and a jury making those decisions.

This is what you wrote:

12. REVISIONS. The Highlight Video includes one (1) round of revisions, provided that such revisions do not require work exceeding the Scope of Work as defined in this Agreement. Ianís Creations may decline, or charge $50/hr additionally for revision requests that Ianís Creations reasonably deems to be beyond the Scope of Work or beyond the provided revision allowance. The full length video is eligible for technical revisions and revision requests other than technical corrections are subject to a $50/hr editing fee. Ianís Creations reserves the right to decline any revision requests to the full length video other than technical corrections. Digital Video Disks are eligible for technical corrections only.

Try: 12. Revisions: The Highlight video includes revisions not to exceed 1 hour of editing time. Additional revisions beyond this time are billed at $50.00 per hour. The full length video may be revised for problems with sound or exposure (or whatever else you feel is technical, spell it out) Revisions for style shall be billed at $50.00 per hour. All revision requests shall be made in wriring within 7 days after the product is delivered to the Client. After that period, the digital copy of the production may be erased and revisions may be impossible. Client understands contractor is shooting a live event in which multiple factors are beyond his/her control, including the actions of the parties appearing on the video, outdoor and indoor lighting, climate conditions, and unexpected events and intrusions. Contractor to use his best efforts in creating a video which expresses the event unforlding, but also each party understands contractor's efforts are limited by factors beyond Contractor's control.

You should also have a strong liquidated damages provision in your contract so if you do end up in court, your losses are limited. By then, your reputation will likely be in ruins, as people tend to talk, so that won't be an issue. The best way to stay out of court and to keep your clients happy is to have a clean and to the point contract with no "beyond the scope" and other generic terms which means a million different things to a million different people.
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Old September 24th, 2015, 08:46 AM   #10
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Re: Contract Language to Protect Number of Edits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Paynter View Post
Your language needs a lot of work and leaves a lot open to interpretation. Interpretation always leaves plenty of room for misunderstandings and that leads to lawsuits.

What is "technical"? What is the "scope of work"? Unless you have specific definitions it is all up to interpretation and a jury making those decisions.

This is what you wrote:

12. REVISIONS. The Highlight Video includes one (1) round of revisions, provided that such revisions do not require work exceeding the Scope of Work as defined in this Agreement. Ianís Creations may decline, or charge $50/hr additionally for revision requests that Ianís Creations reasonably deems to be beyond the Scope of Work or beyond the provided revision allowance. The full length video is eligible for technical revisions and revision requests other than technical corrections are subject to a $50/hr editing fee. Ianís Creations reserves the right to decline any revision requests to the full length video other than technical corrections. Digital Video Disks are eligible for technical corrections only.

Try: 12. Revisions: The Highlight video includes revisions not to exceed 1 hour of editing time. Additional revisions beyond this time are billed at $50.00 per hour. The full length video may be revised for problems with sound or exposure (or whatever else you feel is technical, spell it out) Revisions for style shall be billed at $50.00 per hour. All revision requests shall be made in wriring within 7 days after the product is delivered to the Client. After that period, the digital copy of the production may be erased and revisions may be impossible. Client understands contractor is shooting a live event in which multiple factors are beyond his/her control, including the actions of the parties appearing on the video, outdoor and indoor lighting, climate conditions, and unexpected events and intrusions. Contractor to use his best efforts in creating a video which expresses the event unforlding, but also each party understands contractor's efforts are limited by factors beyond Contractor's control.

You should also have a strong liquidated damages provision in your contract so if you do end up in court, your losses are limited. By then, your reputation will likely be in ruins, as people tend to talk, so that won't be an issue. The best way to stay out of court and to keep your clients happy is to have a clean and to the point contract with no "beyond the scope" and other generic terms which means a million different things to a million different people.
Thanks for the feedback Tim. The contract does define "Scope of Work," but I agree that the current language has a few areas up for interpretation. I'll incorporate some of your suggestions into the language. Thank you.
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Old September 24th, 2015, 09:35 AM   #11
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Re: Contract Language to Protect Number of Edits?

You've highlighted editing time as charegable but what about exporting and remastering DVD/Blu-Ray and disk face printing/postage etc - that all takes precious time.
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Old September 25th, 2015, 10:25 PM   #12
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Re: Contract Language to Protect Number of Edits?

and it costs money too!!

If I was foolish enough to offer re- edits I certainly would be looking for a lot more than $50 an hours .. the cheaper your rate, the more they will find to change.

Ian? Let me ask you a question? Who is the professional, the groom/bride or yourself?? I don't offer previews, first copies or anything prior to final delivery .... By giving the couple a "proof" copy what you are really doing is asking them to rip it to sheds and find as much to change as possible. If you give them a proof copy they feel almost obliged to find something wrong!!

Quite simple answer to all this rubbish ...All creative control in the edit is yours ...the ONLY time you are obliged to re-edit a video is an error that you made ..."spelt the couple's name wrong??" and that you do for free.

Do it that way and your life will be a lot easier and seriously brides will be happy with your edit too!!
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Old September 25th, 2015, 11:47 PM   #13
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Re: Contract Language to Protect Number of Edits?

Chris probably has the very best answer here, leave creative control up to the guy who knows how to edit best. If that were the bride and groom then they would not be hiring you. As to the rate, I bet most wedding videographers are not making more than $50 an hour after they factor in all the time they really spend on the production. First meeting with the client, did you charge for it? Do you charge for travel time? How much time did you spend putting it on a CD? Did you charge for that time?

But I think Chris also makes a great point. If you have to re-edit, and the price is hefty, they won't keep you constantly in the editing booth and will value your efforts more.

Whatever it is you do, my point is, be as clear as possible about it in the contract. It is amazing how many times I review contracts only to find them full of vague terms and conflicting phrases, or phrases written so you can interpret them many different ways.
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Old September 25th, 2015, 11:55 PM   #14
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Re: Contract Language to Protect Number of Edits?

What convinced me was a bride who arrived at my place with 3 pages of edits she decided she wanted ...in those days I was just starting out so I had given her the " We will change anything you don't like..no charge"

3 days later with her sitting next to me saying "that piece of hair is falling across my face..cut it out" was the final straw and I changed my contract the next day ... Seriously I have never had a bride EVER question my conditions or editorial control .... So really by offering a proof you are almost forcing them to help you do your job (in their eyes) and they are paying you!! Drop it scrap it and it will be the best thing you have ever done!
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Old September 26th, 2015, 11:11 AM   #15
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Re: Contract Language to Protect Number of Edits?

Often enough I hear of editors that have a backlog work sitting on the shelves to be edited and clients constantly calling for their video. I hear of editors "swamped" with work and burning the midnight oil and of those who just are procrastinators when it comes down with the chore of editing. I can just imagine how much worse it can be to do re-edits at any cost. If I was doing like 20 weddings a year, then yes, I would see re-edits as a viable extra income source.
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