Please, RELEASE Me!
A signed video release is like car insurance… you don't need it until you need it! Therefore, it's good practice to make a habit out of collecting releases from anyone identifiable on camera to prevent potential (albeit unlikely) lawsuits, later. Also, if there's any chance your video will be submitted to a contest, distributor, or TV show, you'll need to provide signed releases. Yes, it can be done after the fact, but trust me…the last thing you want to do is start chasing down signatures from people you haven't seen in months.
A RELEASE SHOULD INCLUDE:
- Specifics on what is being released (video, photographs, etc…)
- Terms of payment (if any.)
- Clause allowing the videographer or production company the right to sell the video to a third party.
- A signature and date by the individual releasing his/her images. If the subject is a minor (under 18 years old), the release should be signed by a parent or legal guardian
THERE ARE FOUR PRIMARY TYPES OF RELEASES USED IN VIDEO PRODUCTION
This type of release is for non-actors who appear on camera. For example, an employee appearing in a company video, or a homeowner featured on a home makeover show. Children falling into this category under the age of 18 need to have their parents sign the release.
This type of release is for professional actors and actresses, whether or not they are paid.
The materials release is for permission to use photographs, video, film or other media which may be copyrighted or owned by others. For example, say you're shooting a brand video and the CEO wants to include a photograph of his granddad who started the company back in 1940. A verbal agreement is not enough—get a signed release!
This release allows you to videotape at a location you do not own.
WHEN YOU DON'T NEED A RELEASE
- If the purpose is for a news, public affairs, or sports broadcast.
- If the person is unrecognizable, i.e., back of the head, hands, too distant in the shot to be distinguishable, etc…
- If the video is taken in a public place, i.e., on the street, a beach, a park. (Be aware however, just because you don't need a release does not mean you don't need a permit!)
- For large scale public events, like a parade. (To avoid sideways glances or a confrontation by a potential 'protester,' you might want to consider posting signs stating that the event is being videotaped.)
Got a video production in the works? Download our free e-book–which includes RELEASE FORM TEMPLATES–Your Ultimate Guide to Business Video.
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