View Full Version : Reality check requested... making a historical documentary film
2008 January 9th, 11:20
hey, question for the community... I have been a photographer for 30+ years, amateur historical researcher for 15 years, and amateur videographer for 10 years... my dream has been to produce a historical documentary for a section of NC where my ancestors have been for 250+ years - bringing together all my experiences over the years. My motivation is not money - however, I would like to be able to sell copies at least to recover some expense.
So - reality check... do I need hire a lawyer to help with release forms, permissions, copyrighting, packaging, etc - is the standard practice? I need to interview people on film, get permissions for photographing historic (but private) property, handle production/packaging-related permissions, etc. I'm not sure how involved all this is, but I hope it doesn't require too much expense.
Insight / advice from anyone? or pointers to online info?
2008 January 9th, 18:45
It really depends how confident you are and how much time you have.
For this situation, though, you might want to start alone, grab some really promising footage and then approach a professional producer rather than a lawyer.
2008 January 9th, 19:09
Speaking very generally, if you have signed releases from every recognizable person in your video and signed location releases from every property owner whose location you shot in, you should be covered (see this thread (http://www.hv20.com/showthread.php?t=1654) and this one (http://www.hv20.com/showthread.php?t=2590)).
Many cities will require you to obtain a permit for shooting anyplace other than private property; the usual requirement is some type of insurance or bond, but there may be more expense involved if you intend to block streets, bag parking meters or cause other disruptions.
You will still need to watch out for things like: radio or tv programs heard or seen in the background, copyrighted artwork at the locations, logos on wardrobe, etc.
I recommend doing as much research as possible on your own, then see if there's a local film commission or an organization of "Lawyers for the Arts" in your area who could cast an eye over your release forms and make sure they aren't at odds with the local laws.
2008 January 9th, 19:25
Yes, what Erik said!
I think it sounds like a worthwhile project, one dear to your heart, and one of which you have good knowledge of - a GREAT place to start any project!
2008 January 9th, 19:31
excellent! I like the approach very much. These type of projects can build support if some decent footage is shot around a valid idea. I might even be able to garner some UNC university support (legal and otherwise) with a good demo, since they focus on independent cultural arts productions, and through their PBS channel as well.
Thank you for the advice! I look forward to making good use of my HV20! :hv20-smilie77:
2008 January 9th, 20:50
Also, whatever you do, invest in some good audio equipment!
2008 January 9th, 21:07
Yes, keep in mind the five golden As (and never mind one's an e).
Audio And Anticipation At Avery Ad break.
2008 January 9th, 21:23
yep, on a separate note, as suggested, I am planning to add more mics to my existing audio equipment (multi-track recording equipment)... I am currently lining up an experiment (so to speak) with a professional band I work with (web site development) - we are going to run a mixer into the HV20 with several mics of ambient stereo sound from a live performance and see if we can get some decent footage for their You Tube site (which I have struggled with, as has been discussed by others much already). I'm also going to start experimenting with multiple cameras during the music shoot. It's a good place to start extending my experience, while planning other longer term projects (as described).
The great thing about working with this band of seasoned music professionals (one is a former RCA recording artist) is that I get to forcus on recording quality footage for them without any legal/paperwork hassles. And the music isn't bad neither!
Thanks again for all the help!
2008 January 18th, 14:50
You will first need to create the video for test screenings. Then you can re-edit the movie a few times, and when you are finally ready to hand it to pbs or some distributor who can both sell it and reproduce it for you, you need to just mail it to a lawyer to get his opinion. The worst that will happen is you have to blur out some faces or signs, but I wouldn't do that until a lawyer said to.
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