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 Need Advice, Pleeeease! 
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Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:22 pm
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Post Need Advice, Pleeeease!
I was approached a few days ago thru Youtube by a fairly big media company in New York that's currently producing a science documentary for the National Geographic channel.  They want to use my time lapse frosty windows vid http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbSaVO_owm0.  The first email said basically "we want to use it, here's the release for you to sign".  Well, I assumed they'd want a better format than Youtube compression and I went to look for my original project files, but damn I don't have them anymore.  I do have all the original photos, however, and with some work could recreate any or all of it with better software than I had at the time it was originally made (for stabilization, especially). I told them this, and also asked if I'd be compensated in any way. They replied that yes they'd prefer a better format. And also said that it's a 'documentary budget' and would pay me $25 per clip used, not specifying which or how many they want me to rerender.  

Now, It's not the average time lapse - it's way more fiddly and time consuming to put together, and requires many more hours of photos per clip.  I don't think it's worth the time and effort required to redo the whole video to have them pay me fifty bucks for the couple of clips they end up using.   It's also pretty rare to find any footage like mine - the closest thing I could find is on Getty Images http://www.gettyimages.ca/detail/video/close-up-of-time-lapse-forming-frost-crystals-on-stock-video-footage/251-81  My video in whole is 18 different clips of varying lengths.  Just for reference, I have 17 unedited clips from last winter, and that's ~37k images.. hard on the ol' shutter, yup! (and it did just recently fail/get replaced, after 222k actuations.)

The production company isn't low budget, and the show is for Nat Geo, so I'm not so sure their budget issues are that much of an issue..  And yes, it's just a hobby for me, and tho it would be cool to see it air, my frosty stuff is kinda my 'niche' and I don't want to just give it away, so HELP!  What do you think I should charge/do/say?  (And no, I haven't replied or signed the release yet.)  

Thanks for any advice :)
Brenda
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Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:52 am
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Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:06 pm
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Post Re: Need Advice, Pleeeease!
You sort of answered your own question. Getty has a price calculator which should give you an idea of what the market value of your clips are. It looks like somewhere around $2000 would not be out of line. Anything less than that would be a bargain for the media company. If they want to use it, I'm sure they can find room in their budget. $25 per clip is frankly rather insulting.

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Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:49 pm
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Post Re: Need Advice, Pleeeease!
Thanks much for replying, umbris :) Ok, are you saying I should offer the whole vid for ~$2,000? I did look at the pricing on Getty, and for "Media: Film, TV and other content uses – Documentary, news, editorial and educational" they want $650(Cdn) for that particular 8-sec clip linked above, but they also want $625 for a similar 4-sec one. And they're both boring ;)

So I'm confused! Does the length of clip matter? Or how many still images it took to make it? Is there any sort of a standard dollar rate per second? I have no idea how much Getty gets, but prob a fair bit.. So, let's say roughly half, and that would be $325 per clip x 18 clips = $5,850. But they won't want them *all*, I'm sure. And though I did ask about which specific clips, I never got an answer.

So yes, I hear ya re kinda insulting.. first they tried to get it for free, then after I had to ask, the exact line was "We're working on a documentary budget so we don't have a whole lot to work with, but I'd love to be able to throw a little something your way! " Emphasis on "little", I guess ;)

Just FYI - I have just in the last hour discovered that I do have some stuff.. when I made that vid I only had QT 7Pro to assemble the images into clips, which is way crappier than After Effects, but I do still have them. (Sigh, though I do wish I still had my Lightroom catalogue for those.) So I could stabilize/deflicker/etc the Photo-JPEG movs in AE, which could save some time over starting from scratch..

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Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:30 pm
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Post Re: Need Advice, Pleeeease!
its a very tough situation because you want to get paid for your work, but you also don't want to scare them off into not paying you! i would consider how easily replaceable this footage is (to both you and the production company) and also, how valuable to your career would it be to have a national geographic credit (some people would pay to have that happen:)

choose wisely!


Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:42 pm
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Post Re: Need Advice, Pleeeease!
Yes, the length of the clip should be a factor in the licensing fee as should the relative rarity of the content. $2000 was what I thought I saw for an educational clip, but you are correct, it should be $625. I would offer them the clips for perhaps $10-$20 per second, and perhaps a small discount if they license more than one. I'm completely making that number up, so you might want to do a little more price research.

You can usually charge a professional-level fee if you present yourself with confidence. Unfortunately, when you asked them "if I'd be compensated in any way" they probably took that to mean you have no idea of the value of your work, and might be willing to license it for free or next to nothing. It's a lesson most of us learn at some point in our career.

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Umbris


Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:51 pm
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Post Re: Need Advice, Pleeeease!
Oh yes, I do agree, TLTO.. I'd be totally chuffed to have my crappy frozen kitchen window on tv! They can get their fluffy clouds anywhere, but those clips were tricky.. and yeah they could end up using those bland Getty ones. Ha, I'm chuckling cuz my "career" is 'bored chick with camera', so I almost feel a little funny asking to be paid at all!

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Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:56 pm
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Post Re: Need Advice, Pleeeease!
Thanks again, umbris. Yes, am doing some research..

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Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:05 pm
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Post Re: Need Advice, Pleeeease!
So did you sell these clips to that company?

I agree that the ridiculous price of 25$ for a a-few-seconds-clip is an insult.

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Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:18 am
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Post Re: Need Advice, Pleeeease!
fabians.ch wrote:
So did you sell these clips to that company?

I agree that the ridiculous price of 25$ for a a-few-seconds-clip is an insult.


agreed, I would have told them where to stick it

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Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:15 am
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Post Re: Need Advice, Pleeeease!
I'm curious how this worked out as well. There are two documentaries asking about my turtle footage. I'd love to be able to say my stuff was on PBS and Natgeo, but its months of staying up all night every Summer for five years. Maybe I'd have more credibility when asking to join other projects if i can say my stuff was shown on TV, but giving away for free seems harsh after all the work that went into them. I did give away for free to the parks departments, which I consider more or less charity, but people making documentaries for television aren't charities. I don't know how much those guys make in a year, but to me, charity does not include working for free so that someone earning several times my income can keep a little more for themselves. um, because they "earned it" by bullshitting me out of a fair price for my work. (its the American way, I know, but I'm sort of a pinko come to expect a little more fairness)


Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:38 am
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Post Re: Need Advice, Pleeeease!
Hey guys - yes, I was fully intending to update you on this..

Ok, I replied on Aug.30, and basically said most of what I wrote in my first post above, including the link to Getty, and suggested that a per-second rate would be more appropriate for my time and still be cost effective for them. I didn't suggest a rate, preferring to see what was offered first. (Still haven't signed release either.)

And I've not gotten a reply as yet, two weeks later. So I fired off an email to them this morning, asking if they're still interested, so I know whether or not to get started on it. Which I'm going to do anyway, cuz I've been wanting to rework that footage regardless.

Totally agree with ya, sciencelookers. Guess I'm a Canuck pinko ;)

So, I'll let you know when/if I know. Hmph, I think I'm more insulted that I didn't get a reply.. I've always said that I'd rather just be told to f*ck off than endure the non-information of silence!

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Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:28 am
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Post Re: Need Advice, Pleeeease!
Well, the waaaahmbulance has left and now it's just me and my box of kleenex *sniff* ;) Sadly, they won't be using my footage now.. they replied "Sorry we didn't get back to you, we actually started to run out of time because of our tight schedule, so we did our best to make things work with the video that we already had available, but we didn't find anything similar to yours."

C'est la vie!

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Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:48 pm
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Post Re: Need Advice, Pleeeease!
I've been contacted several times by people online claiming to be producing for various broadcast productions. I'm not saying its a scam but I think there are a lot of people fishing for inexpensive footage that I doubt are affiliated with the companies they claim to be.

There is certainly a lot more TL being used on Broadcast Television, so who knows.


Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:02 pm
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Post Re: Need Advice, Pleeeease!
Given the nature of human nature, it's possible .. but it only takes a few minutes of Googling to find out if the person contacting you is seemingly legitimate. Once it gets down to signing releases and uploading material, I'd think it would be obvious if the person is really affiliated with the production company or not.

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Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:59 am
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Post Re: Need Advice, Pleeeease!
bsomething wrote:
Given the nature of human nature, it's possible .. but it only takes a few minutes of Googling to find out if the person contacting you is seemingly legitimate. Once it gets down to signing releases and uploading material, I'd think it would be obvious if the person is really affiliated with the production company or not.


You might be surprised, In the entertainment industry here in California I have a saying, "Never count on anything until your SECOND paycheck."

There are a lot of slippery producer types that fake it till they make it and its not always readily apparent that they're full of it.


Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:43 pm
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