A Brief Introduction About the Video Production Contract
A client may require various videography and related services. It is important to put the terms of services in writing and mutually agreed. Video production includes various activities within itself like pre-production, shooting, post-production, animation and graphics, music video, artist production, film co-production, advertising film production, to name a few.
The creativity of the producer and popularity of the client is always at stake in video production. Hence, different activities may require to put forth a diverse scope of work in a contract.
For example, if you are going to shoot for an educational institution, you may require permission to use the images of persons, locations, logos, and photographs, etc., A video production release form is required to be signed up by the client before undertaking the production activity. This is necessary to avoid any problem popping up once the production is complete in all respects. This is an essential part of the video production contract.
Who Takes the Video Production Contract- People Involved
The independent cinematographers and or production companies, editors performing post-production activities, and individuals or organizations who wish to have video production require a video production agreement. The producers may also be engaged in the business of training, consulting, and producing a video for sales, marketing, customer service, and training purposes.
Purpose of the Video Production Contract- Why Do You Need It
As a producer, you may be brimming up with ideas. You may have visualized every single detail with a lot of imagination. You may have dreamt of a particular project and held it very close to your heart. And when the D-day comes, your client discards the production as not what he expected. There is more than heartbreak.
The efforts, time, money, and big things are at stake. Hence, a video production contract brings the minds of the producer and the client together. It explains in detail the requirements of the client and the responsibility of the producer in delivering the expectations of the client. The duration and territory of the production, budgeting, funding, edits, and the number of revisions are fixed in the contract to avoid deviations from the expected output.
If the producer or the client face any issue in the production, the video production contract acts as a ready reference as what is mutually agreed between them. Above all, it secures the ownership of intellectual property of the production with the producer and permits the usage of production within the limited purpose of the client. A video production contract also ensures that it does not promote anything illegal and improper to the intended audience.
Contents of the Video Production Contract- Inclusions
A video production contract shall broadly have the following contents.
- Name and address of the independent cinematographer/production company, otherwise called as the contractor and the client
- A production company may have a large number of clients. In that case, job id/client id can also be included in the agreement.
- The more elemental part of this contract is the detail of the project undertaken and the deliverables expected by the client. It may roughly but necessarily include the project title, duration of the project, media used, the artist used, the territory of recording, sound designing, sound clearance, etc. It is advisable to create an addendum/schedule for including every detail of the project that the cinematographer/company treats as essential.
- Project cost – A clause that every contractor wishes to give special attention to. The total cost of the project, procedure for quantification of deliverables, retention money, stages of payment, etc. must be clearly explained in the video service contract.
- The ownership of production primarily lies with the contractor. He may grant a non-transferable license to the client for a specific period if it is desired.
- The confidentiality of the client’s information and the responsibility of the contractor to protect them.
- The warranties of the contractor and the client
- How will video production materials be delivered to the client?
- The contingency and weather day clause in case the video shoot needs to be canceled and how re-shoots will be taken.
- Cancellation or postponement of production for other than the reason mentioned above. How shall both the parties proceed to act and indemnify each other?
- Guidelines for publicity of the video production and the manner of usage of licenses.
- The details of dispute resolution, enforceability, waiver of contract.
How to Draft the Video Production Contract?
The following must be considered and included in a video service contract.
- Video production is a creative field. Your role of putting forth to the client clearly as what is visualized in your mind. This is a phase of Script >> Storytelling >> Visualization >> Acceptance. Understanding the client is foremost important as one may be an expert in video production, another may have thought to engage you for their wedding videography. Remember to speak a jargon-free language that your client can understand well. The script is not just the videographer’s imagination; it is also the dream and expectation of the client.
- Video production is the intellectual property of the cinematographer. Ultimately you don’t want your client to run away with the half-cooked product and use/misuse for his benefit and your dismay. Consider to include your watermark in every sample or every partially completed production. This is for saving your reputation and giving the right platform for your valuable imaginative and professional skills.
- Fixing the terms of payment for a video production contract is not that easy as in any other contract. When the project is significant, you need some amount of initial funding to carry on the project smoothly. A small project offers flexibility. When you are required to run from pre-production to post-production, you need at least half of the total contract value at the beginning of the shooting. The terms of payment are required to be analyzed on case to case basis, explained, and agreed by the client.
- A smaller project may require little or no revision in video production. A bigger project, on the other hand, may tax your eye muscles. Keeping the number of revisions to a maximum of 3 can help both the contractor and the client to avoid innumerable iterations and deliver the output on time.
Negotiation must be a win-win scenario in every contract. Most of the video production contracts fail to satisfy an important part of quantifying the deliverables. Once the price of the project is finalized, ensure the deliverables are matched with stages of payment appropriately. When this is done, you are sure to have a big sigh of relief.
Benefits & Drawbacks of the Video Production Contract
A video production contract offers umpteen benefits. Here are a few to ponder.
- It adds credibility to the work you do.
- The specifications of the job are well explained, and it maintains a healthy relationship with the client.
- A creative field like video production flourishes by references. The professionalism and the level of detail you offer in the contract can get you to the happy books of the client.
- The process of getting from ideas to action is smoothly enabled by a video production contract.
- A written contract allows you to concentrate on your job rather than worrying about what is the problem up next.
There is always another side to a coin. A video service contract has the following demerits.
- Not everybody understands and receives the imagination of a producer. You may have a tough time explaining the client and getting things in order.
- A small production may require more time in edits and revisions. The contract may look more tedious than the actual production.
- If you are an individual freelancer and working up with a corporate, their payment terms may bite hard, especially when your business is growing.
- If a particular term is partial to one party and it is overlooked, there is always a room for trouble.
What Happens in Case of Violation of a Video Production Contract?
A video production contract shall require the parties to the agreement in the best interest and abiding by the various clauses of service. Violation of contract can happen because of the reason that the producer failed to achieve the deliverables or the client concerning payment. Also, for various other reasons that are in defilement of the contract terms, the responsible party shall indemnify the other party as per the damages and indemnification clause provided in the video production agreement.
The producer may be required to rework the production from the beginning. He may be paid less like a penalty for damages caused. The client may be required to pay more if the responsibility of violation of the contract lies with the client. In rare cases, the violation may lead to termination of the agreement, where both parties are heavily affected. However, having a review meeting and keeping things informed to each other can save from the risk of getting into a legal battle.
A contract in writing is essential for avoiding bitterness in the priced relationship between a contractor and his clients. More than an agreement, the contractor learns as to how to establish and improve his pitching, creativity, budgeting, performance, and negotiation. Your experience speaks loud by entering a number of contracts over some time.
You will have a robust database of sample video contracts, and the only thing that changes considerably with every client is the project structure. Also, the negotiation and pricing of the contracts, choice of the workforce become a cakewalk. Process improvement is an inherent benefit. Undoubtedly, this has a measurable impact on clients. No wonder they want to continue with you on all the future projects. A video production(1) contract qualifies and quantifies every part of the project in detail. Both the contractor and the client work towards a common objective, and it inevitably turns out to be a happy ending.