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Clients wanting unedited footage ...

Avocet

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I recently filmed a venue for a client who produces video packages for weddings (land video).. I was hired to supplement their on the ground videographer.

I made sure that the all understood the legal ramifications of filming over large groups of people and what some of the constraints might be, etc. It's amazing how often I am asked to violate this month's drone laws!

Anyway, the purpose of this post - I'm just expressing my lack of comfort when a client insists on raw footage, no editing, etc. I always film in 4K and use custom settings to maximize post production opportunities. As you know, untouched footage like this is not appealing until I've had my way with it in post. Often, I never get to see finished products that use (or NOT) my footage, which I find a bit unnerving. From $300-600 p/h, I supposed I can live with that but it's often unsettling!

Can anyone else relate to this?
 

BigAl07

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I can relate TOTALLY! I had a client last year who insisted she wanted RAW footage and she "had someone" who would tweak and edit it. So I sold it to her right out of the camera.

A few weeks later I saw it on her website and it was HORRIBLE! She had done nothing but put all of the clips together back to back to back and had not even cut 1 second out let alone color grade or anything, It looks like something a 3rd grader had produced back in 1990. I was relieved that nothing on the video pointed to me or my company in any way.
 

rvrrat14

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Customer dictates and pays. Give them an example of what you can do. You may pick up some more coin.

I did just finish two real estate jobs for a ‘movie director’. I shot them right before sunset and the hills blocked some light source. I post processed and he was more than pleased with what I gave him.
 

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I guess my question to the OP is that, when you accepted the job was the needing of RAW files determined?

I ask this because coming from a sports photography side I've asked a copyright attorney about this. Bottom line is you have the exclusive copyright of your footage video or still. In being so, if you are uncomfortable in surrendering the RAW file then don't. It is yours and yours to do. This of course is based on a non-NDA on the contract.

Just remember post-processed or not, that is your work and and anything that will or may happen to that footage will have your name on it.
 

Avocet

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Customer dictates and pays. Give them an example of what you can do. You may pick up some more coin.
My "examples" are often how I'm hired in the first place. As hard as it is, I have walked off of some jobs because of either money (too little), or illegal or unrealistic deliverables.

I am (was) a member of a site that matches pilots with clients, but sadly, the clients dictate compensation. This is unfortunate to say the least.
 
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Ed Kopicki

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I recently filmed a venue for a client who produces video packages for weddings (land video).. I was hired to supplement their on the ground videographer.

I made sure that the all understood the legal ramifications of filming over large groups of people and what some of the constraints might be, etc. It's amazing how often I am asked to violate this month's drone laws!

Anyway, the purpose of this post - I'm just expressing my lack of comfort when a client insists on raw footage, no editing, etc. I always film in 4K and use custom settings to maximize post production opportunities. As you know, untouched footage like this is not appealing until I've had my way with it in post. Often, I never get to see finished products that use (or NOT) my footage, which I find a bit unnerving. From $300-600 p/h, I supposed I can live with that but it's often unsettling!

Can anyone else relate to this?

Yes.....Happened to me once and only once.......Ad agency wanted RAW photos(new Doctors)....well they ended up on billboards with bags under eyes, hair all over the place, yellow teeth....yikes. Never again.....Everything goes out finished now. And priced accordingly.
 
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Avocet

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I guess my question to the OP is that, when you accepted the job was the needing of RAW files determined?

I ask this because coming from a sports photography side I've asked a copyright attorney about this. Bottom line is you have the exclusive copyright of your footage video or still. ...
I agreed to relinquish untouched footage. I did some digging and found examples of their video work and concurred that they had some modicum of video editing skills as was visible in their public examples.

Nonetheless, I still find it a sticky situation, with outcomes that might change from one situation to the next. I now have a litany of questions when facing the client who wants untouched footage/stills, etc.

For me, 1 minute of airborne video can require as much as 20 minutes of post processing time, depending on the specifics of the shot, etc. of course. The consumer of our work often has little or ZERO idea of what goes into a nice cinema quality video. I always am amused when I remind them that "remember, drones don't usually have microphones" and they have this mini-epiphany "ohhhhh, ya mean you did all the sound and all?" ...
 

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The dilemma is big. To what point do we have to "refuse" to deliver raw materials? As you rightly say, identifying that the client has enough knowledge to achieve quality results with our images can be complicated. I don't think refusing as a rule is the solution either, I don't know.

An intermediate solution could be the following considering that when delivered raw we are not normally identified as the ones who have made those images. I deliver raw images and if I have the possibility of seeing them finished and I like to publish them in my portfolio, in case I don't like them I don't do it. Or I even tell the client, since I don't have control over the post-production work, I don't want to be identified. With this you get an intermediate point that allows you not to refuse any job. What do you think?
 

Avocet

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I'd like to start asking around after our ground based pro photog brothers. I'm sure this is a very old problem for them as professionals. If raw, untouched was requested and subsequently submitted and the result turns out to be a pile of smoking dung, then I suppose the buyer has only themselves to blame. However, I must point out, while I am NOT in the business of teaching this lesson to clients, I'd rather prefer they get a good product and learn a little about what they don't know or understand as a result.

It's a slippery slope. I suspect other photographers responses to these questions will run the gamut and we'll have to decide what's best for ourselves and the profession at the end of the day.

There are a boatload of realty companies out there who have scoffed at my pricing model, went out and purchased a quad (after choking a little on those prices) and either hosed the quad, hosed the video or both. Caveat Emptor 'all ... I digress.
 
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My simple solution would be to not be identified with the footage. The clients paying for services rendered. Even if what they’re wanting isn’t necessarily logical. I’d advise them of the potential follies involved, but still turn it in.

Now if you tell them you don’t want identified and they do it anyway....that’s a can of worms I wouldn’t want to be involved with. At that point I suppose it would be up to the Op to be a good judge of character
 

Randy Bailey

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I’m a pro tog with a studio. Once you turn over files to the client you have zero control to how they will be used. I guess you could have a contract limiting use, but are you willing to sue a client and lose their future biz? Additionally, who’s going to front you the $350/hr attorney fee to pursue a claim against a client who probably has much more financial clout. Suck it up and welcome to the world of digital video/photography
 

regfran

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I refuse this request in almost all situations. On the few times I've been asked to do this, I create a waiver that absolves me of all responsibility over the finished product . Still if someone does a poor job in post it still reflects badly on you. That's why it should be avoided. Best to discuss upfront, and put the post time into your fee, and say "that's just the way I do it."
 

Avocet

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Well, let's turn this around. Suppose YOU (or me) hire a UAV pilot for some video footage. Further, suppose that pilot delivers the digital content after he completed his own post. It is certainly possible, and in some situations, likely, that his idea and your idea of a "cinematic" style are 2 very different things. Perhaps his post efforts are not at all what you were looking for and were for the most part difficult, too time consuming or not possible to correct at the computer.

In that case I would want raw footage, but only after a discussion of the camera configurations (ND filters, white balance, default sat, hue and color settings etc.

Its a Catch-22 at the end of the day methinks.
 
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Dave Pitman

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I refuse this request in almost all situations. On the few times I've been asked to do this, I create a waiver that absolves me of all responsibility over the finished product . Still if someone does a poor job in post it still reflects badly on you. That's why it should be avoided. Best to discuss upfront, and put the post time into your fee, and say "that's just the way I do it."
No offense, but you guys realize that 'real' cinema productions don't give a rat's arse about what or how much you know about post production. They likely spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on post. They want you to dump your footage and walk away. Not my world but I know guys in it.

I've also seen people refuse to let me do a primary grade telling me they know what they are doing and it ends up looking like crap. Either way, they are hiring you to do a job. So do it or don't. Again, not meant to be harsh. But this is the big league here.
 
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Meta4

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On the other side of the coin, I have a client with a big construction project that will be going for a few years.
They get me to do a regular fly around video of the whole site and some POI circles around areas where work is going on.
They aren't looking for post production excellence but want to have something to show at tomorrow's meeting so that everyone can see what progress is being made.
I enjoy not having to spend the time on the computer and just having an easy job for a change.
 

ArrUnTuS

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Rejecting jobs if it's not overwork or unsafe for people and equipment, I think we should never do.

For me it's unthinkable, I wish I could afford to refuse anything. Anyway, with a little left hand you can do the job always keeping in mind the customer's needs and what we can do. If the customer is satisfied, even if the result is a piece of ****, he can get us other customers in the long run and this is always desirable :)
 
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Andy Post

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We do this all the time. All of our clients (thankfully) are in the film biz. Before we get in the air we've discussed what type of file they will get and have verified that they know they'll be getting flat looking footage. They almost always have a dedicated editor and/or colorist on the project.
 
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