Someone wants my footage for Outdoor channel show - what should I charge? at
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 01:17 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Blacksburg, VA
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Someone wants my footage for Outdoor channel show - what should I charge?

I had a gentleman ask me for some helicopter footage I shot in the Fall for a hunting show he produces for the Outdoor Channel.

What should I charge for something like this? By the minute used? By the second? By the shot?

What about screen credit or copyright? Someone mentioned "one-time use" or "universal access" - is there a simple way to put this in writing?

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Old April 2nd, 2010, 02:43 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Canton, GA 30114
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How to Charge for PBS airing footage

Hi Robbie,

I assume your footage is generic - meaning not "unusual" - meaning nothing like an earth shattering event is taking place within your footage ?

My experience in regards to "leasing" your footage --

1) Never ever "sell" your footage outright -unless the money is just too good to be true !

2) "Lease" your footage for "one time - non-exlusive rights" - generally "lessor" (firm wanting your footage) - will want it for "perpetuity" meaning forever and ever. A big decision regarding this issue is - they will also generally want you to sign "their" lease agreement - and they might use your footage again in a "revised" or "reversioning" of the program - and you will not be entitled to any more $$. They could conceivably do this forever and ever too.

3) If your footage is generic - you could "probably" get somewhere in the vicinity of $ 20 to $ 40 per second -- but since this is the first time they would be dealing with you - they might want to "lease" the entire sequence for a flat fee. ASK - them how much they anticipate using ? -- 20 seconds - 30 seconds, etc. My guess is they would use somewhere between 12 - 20 seconds -- but ask !

4) Is the footage HiDef - 1920x1080 - or is it SD - 720x480 - or DVD - 1440x1080 ? Usually the higher the quality of original format - the higher the "lease" dollar per second. They must/should be willing to cover cost of converting footage to higher quality, etc., if required. They also should be willing to pay you for some editing time/office expense whether they "lease" any footage or not. I generally charge minimum of $ 75 (covers my time, cost of tape(s), CD's, etc.) -- and they should be willing to pay for FEDEX, etc. This $ 75 charge is just in case they decide NOT to use any of your footage. You could always use this $ 75 as somewhat of a bargaining chip - if you feel they are getting cold feet, etc. You could say - " I generally charge an edit fee of $ 75 - but seeing that you agree to paying $ 55 per second, etc., I will waive the fee. BUT - maybe they have no other source for same footage you have ? Ask questions - feel them out --

5) Don't even think of charging for helicopter expense - this would probably kill the deal, as I am sure your helicopter expense was $ 350 plus per hour ? They would not pay for this plus pay for just 20 seconds of footage.

6) Some "buyers" (like BBC, NatGeo, etc.) have a policy of NOT giving you a credit if your footage does not equal 3% or 5% of the total project run time. I ALWAYS ASK for and generally get a credit line - but then when I lease footage it is generally like 2 or 3 minute worth.

7) I know some guys who charge for 30 second minimum - to cover all of their expenses for editing time, DVD's, shipping, etc. But if your client only wants 12 seconds - and you want $ 50 per second - it might kill the deal also. Inquire - ask - inquire - ask -- what their budget is - do they have a "standard rate ?' -- etc., etc.

Things to think about -- do you feel you could get any future business from them ? Ask if they have any future projects on the burner - for which you might do some "spec" shooting or assignment work ? All of the aforementioned is just food for thought.

Good luck -- Russ Gutshall
Russ Gutshall
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 05:51 PM   #3
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Location: Fayetteville, NC
Posts: 535
I would agree with most of what Russ said and add the following;

1. I charge $40/sec for SD & $50/sec for HD for broadcast and web usage. Minimum charge is 10 seconds with no charge for preview DVD TC burns.

2. I license nonexclusive, one time use, for the project, all media, in perpetuity, no other use, recut, etc. permitted. This is pretty much industry standard.

3. AFTER the client sends you the exact TC ins & outs, a signed release AND payment then send or FTP the footage. Get payment BEFORE you send footage and never send original or raw footage. It is also customary to provide 1 second handles at the beginning and end of each clip (helps the editor with transitions).

Be strong. Your footage is way cheaper than the expense and effort of hiring a helicopter for an hour or two.
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