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Who owns the raw footage?

If you came here for the short answer, the production company you work with owns the footage. Thanks, have a good day.

Oh, you want to know why and how it works? Oh, great! Keep reading.

I can’t speak for every production company out there, but when you work with Izo Creative we begin by writing a Scope of Work/Creative Brief that outlines exactly what we’re creating and at the end that film (or films) is yours. The footage in the final cut is licensed to you perpetually and you may do with it as you please. Some production companies out there will change price depending on usage, but at Izo we grant you unlimited usage on any platforms you choose. It’s yours, plain and simple.

But what about the raw footage?

I know, that’s why you’re here.

Raw footage includes everything we shot to create your film and belongs to the production company. That doesn’t mean you can’t get the rights to that footage. If we make a specific agreement (usually done at the outset of a project) to pass on the copyright to you, you may have the right to use the raw footage as well, but this usually comes with a cost.

Why do I have to pay for raw footage?

This is a good question, and understandable. You paid to have it made, right? Let’s dive into it.

1. What you paid for

When we wrote our Creative Brief, we outlined what we were making, a final product. These were like the blueprints for a house. When we’re done building you get a house, not all the unused raw materials and plans that went into construction. It’s the same thing when you work with us on a creative project

2. Our costs

Delivery of raw footage is costly for us too. Say we shot our project in Redcode Raw format in 8K, but you need it to be transcoded and compressed into a different format so you can work with it. If we shot 600GB of footage, that’s hours of computing time just to get you a workable format. Then we need to purchase a hard drive, move the footage to it and deliver to you. A person needs to do all this and while it seems easy, the time adds up

3. The footage is part of how we’re paid

Does that make sense? Think of the raw footage as part of the project cost. The footage is valuable because we use it to market ourselves, sell it as stock footage, and ensure future work. If you want the rights, that’s okay, but as we’re giving you something of great value, the price needs to reflect that.

4. Our image

When we deliver you the final product, it’s shiny and beautiful and has been trimmed down to the very best bits by our expert editors. When we let our raw footage out the door, anything can happen. It may end up in the hands of a colorist who doesn’t know how to work with our Director of Photography’s style. Parts of clips never meant to see the light of day may be out there for the world to see with the tagline “crafted by Izo Creative.” This isn’t an immovable barrier, but it is one of the reasons we’re precious when it comes to raw footage.

5. Future work

Finally, when we license our footage to someone else, we’re potentially taking work from ourselves. We hope that you love what we do and will always come back when you need a new film or to repurpose something we’ve created in the past, but there is nothing to stop you from going to another company or freelancer and having them do an alternative edit. We completely respect your right to do that, but again, the value we’re passing to you needs to be reflected in the project price.

How much will it cost to license my footage?

Simply, it’s plus 50% of your project cost. So if we’d made a project budget of $10,000, raw footage delivery would be an additional $5,000 for a total cost of $15,000.

Less simply, there are other footage delivery methods we could explore. Say you need footage for 48 social posts throughout the year. It may be more valuable (and less expensive) for us to work together to identify your needs and make those a part of the initial project scope. That way you’re getting professionally selected and finished (color/sound) content rather than a load of raw footage. At Izo Creative, we like to think of ourselves as a partner. We want to align on your goals and make sure you’re getting exactly what you need in a budget range that makes sense. We believe that all levels of filmmaking are about problem solving, from how to light a shot on set, to how to creatively deliver on time and on budget. Reach out to us using the contact button on our website if you have questions about how the production process works or to get started on your project.

John Lendved

Owner, Izo Creative

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