Legalities are both
important and unavoidable. Many has been the producer who
tried to cut corners only to have it come back and bite him- HARD!
Don't get caught in an easily avoided trap.
are making a movie get
signed releases from anyone and for anything that gets in front of your
camera. Releases are legal documents granting you the permmison to use
something in your prduction. If you are doing other kind of
work it may
necessary but still not a bad idea. As long as you have
signed by the right person, saying you can put something on
screen you're in pretty good shape legal wise. (I'm not a
lawyer and don't pretend to have any definitive legal answers.
If you have questions ask a lawyer.) If you don't
have a release and someone wants to ruin your day you're toast.
Releases are cheap and easy C.Y.A.
For more detailed
information on when, why and where to use releases read further or to
cut to the chase by clicking the link below.
you ever seen a video that includes public shots and some of the faces
are blurred out? No, that's not a glitch in the tape or bad
production. It's because the producers did not secure
from those people, and if they use their images, they are laying
themselves open for lots of legal problems. That
for something as seemingly neutral as license plates. They
traced back to individuals and there you have it.
How do you
know if what you are doing requires releases? Remember that it's
better to be safe than sorry. Getting releases from everybody you
as a subject is better than facing a problem down the road. There
downside to securing them however, the impression you create in the
If you primarily do portraits, weddings
or other events where the intent of your work is to sell the the final
product to the people being photographed, there is little need for
releases. (Asking them may even upset some clients
type as they may wonder what you plan on using their image for.) So
long as you don't ever use any of that footage in a sale that will
profit you in any other than the original way, then you should be
fine. If you still would like a release then word it such
the client knows exactly what their image will be used for
(portfolio, ads for your studio, etc.)
It is when you step over into that realm of video and photography in which you will be
working with actors and models
to provide products for TV, advertising, magazines, newspapers, or your
own or anybody else's movies or any other purpose in which you are
selling the images profit is when a release is
essential. Professional actors and models do this for a
and they understandably want to be compensated for their efforts and
their image. This area of professional photography is tremendously
lucrative because you are working at a higher tier of professionalism
than photographing the public to provide them with portrait level
pictures. Because it is such a profitable arena of professional
photography, the competition to make those sales is stiff to be sure.
you are working with professional talent securing talent releases is
much accepted procedure and never a problem. They are working
you and they know the final product is for sale and their agents and
lawyers do all the legwork so the releases are routine and
understood. Don’t let this detail go unattended to.
customers, those TV stations, magazines or ad agencies who
to you for professional work, are assuming you have this covered and
that they can count on you to deliver not only quality work, but work
that has been legally released. If you get them sued you're
of business. If you get sued you're likely ruined.
difficulties come if you shoot in a public place such as a park, a mall
or anywhere that there may be traffic that becomes part of the
shot. If you complete the shoot and discover that the perfect
shot that fits you or your customers needs just happens to have
miscellaneous members of the public in the background, you have to have
releases from them or you cannot use the shot. (General Release)
If your shot has any minor children in it (anyone under 18) you must
get a minor release signed by thier parent or legal gaurdian. A
by law give thier consent to anything. Remember to get
location releases or you still can't use the shot, especially if there
are any signs or other things that would identify the location as a
specific place. It doesn't matter if that place is Disney
Joe's Corner Mart.
You could try to secure those
releases on the spot, but if the people you are trying to
convince to sign releases know you are going to use their images for
profit, you get into another whole level of negotiation. You
don’t want to blur their faces out on the shot as that looks
unprofessional and is totally out of the question in a movie where you
what to create a virtual world. You could Photo shop them out
still shoot but that may lose the spontaneity of the shot.
best to stage the shot from start to finish. If you want
to be occurring around your actor, bring in extras who can do the job
for you. You will have to pay them or at least feed
but you know that the shot is clean. Remember when you sell
shot, you are going to get questions about whether those actors were
paid and if you have releases on them.
make sure you get a material
release for anything you use in your production that is the
intellectual property of someone else. This includes the script
that your best buddy wrote, the song your brother wrote and played, as
well as the song you downloaded. These are someone elses
intellectual property and can get you in big trouble if you don't have
the proper releases. This is especially true
if your production has any commercial success. More than one
friendship has ended over a little money and don't forget Cain
and Abel. Be safe and be smart - get releases.
You can find
standard release forms on this page or your lawyer can help
develop one that covers the legalities you need handled but also
reflects how you want to handle this issue. Don’t
issue slide through the cracks. By protecting yourself you
do good business and profitable business, but above all a legal
business in perusing your professional career.
for Film and
Obtaining Proper WRITTEN PERMISSIONS
(Releases) is the responsibility of the producer.
Below are five common
lawyer and therefore I am
unable to give you legal opinions on
these matters. Use at your own risk. Neither I nor
PrimalCine assume any
responsibility nor liability for their use. That said, save any of
release forms that you need or
want, use them freely, proofread and rewrite as the need arises
and if you have any questions ask a lawyer.
releases will open a new page/tab outside of PrimalCine.