Video Release Form Basics
Why should you get a signed video release form? Media companies and TV networks get a video release form signed so they will not be sued by someone who appears in a video. If you watch a Discovery, Cops or other TV show with “real people” rather than actors, you will often see a face that has been blurred. This has been done because that person did not sign a release and network did not want the risk of a lawsuit.
This risk is very small, but still possible, for smaller scale productions. But if there’s any chance the video could ever be sent to a distributor, TV show, film festival or other contest, releases will be required. And of course, in the event of a lawsuit, a release is extremely helpful.
There is no need for a video release form if a person in a video cannot be identified. Shooting a crowd of people in a public place may also not require a release unless it appears that the people were advocates for a company or business.
The need for a release is not dependent upon whether the video is commercial or given away for free. If the video is given away for free, you may still need releases from the people who appear in the video.
You will generally want to get a video release form signed if you interview someone who speaks on camera or if you shoot video of a private, non-public event. In that case, you may need to get a signed video release form from each person in the audience.
Getting a video release form signed by identifiable participants in your video is a good idea not only to protect yourself, but to give you options for selling the rights to your video in any kind of commercial venture or competition.
Save any of these releases to your hard disk. Proofread and rewrite them as necessary. Keep copies in your camera case which may help remind you to use them. Obtaining proper written permissions is the responsibility of the producer. Below are five types of common releases:
1. General Release
The general release should be used for non-actors.
2. Talent Release
The talent release should be used with professional actors and models.
3. Minor Release
The minor release must be signed by a parent or legal guardian of a minor (the legal age varies from state to state).
4. Materials Release
The materials release is used for obtaining permission to use photographs, video, film or other media which may be copyrighted or owned by others.
The location release is used when you wish to photograph, videotape or record property which you do not own.
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