It's not uncommon these days for small business owners to find themselves in need of the services of a videographer. Whether it's video to accompany a marketing campaign or social media clips to help your company develop its brand awareness, utilizing video can be a smart marketing move. Working with a videographer is, however, as much of a business arrangement as working with any other contractor, and as with all business dealings, it's a good idea to document the transaction with a written agreement.
Benefits of a Videography Service Agreement
Even if the videographer you're working with is your Aunt Penny's cousin's sister-in-law and everyone on both sides of the family has regaled you with accolades about her stellar work, it's still important to have a written agreement in place. Like all the other contracts you sign while running your business, the purpose of a videographer contract is to protect the interests of both parties involved.
An added benefit is that getting everything in writing reduces the chances of misinterpretation and misunderstandings. For example, you might be expecting your videographer to deliver a final, fully edited 30-minute video, which you're absolutely certain was discussed the last time you chatted with the videographer. She, on the other hand, may have thought you'd only mentioned you wanted editing but weren't sure. The videographer contract spells out such matters, alerting parties to each other's expectations so everyone knows precisely what they've agreed to.
What to Include in a Videographer Service Agreement
Before drafting your agreement or customizing a videographer contract template, you should first discuss all aspects of the arrangement with your chosen videographer. Whether you're working with an individual or a company, make sure you ask questions about any details you're unsure about and get any needed clarification about the extent of the services they offer.
Once you have all the details, it's time to get to work on the document. In addition to typical business terms of contract, such as clauses governing contract termination and indemnification, you should make sure your contract with the videographer covers video-related specifics, such as the following:
- Each party's responsibilities. It's always a good idea to overinclude details rather than underinclude, as this reduces the risk of omitting an important task. And while specific tasks will fall on your videographer's shoulders, make sure that other responsibilities are also covered. For example, if the shoot takes place on location, your agreement should set out who is responsible for getting any required permits and paying any associated location fees.
- Deadlines for completion, including interim deadlines. You know when you need the final product, but there are also steps in the process that must be accounted for in the timetable. If your videographer will deliver a draft, be clear as to when you will receive it and how long you have to review and provide your feedback. Note that it's common practice for videographers to release only watermarked drafts prior to receiving final payment.
- Additional services. Define any additional services that might be required. For example, the agreement should provide for revisions or additional work if the submitted draft isn't up to agreed-upon standards, but there should also be a provision for additional services that are the result of other variables, such as a change in your expected use of the finalized video.
- Copyright. Although most videographers contract on a work-for-hire basis, your document should clearly state that you get ownership of the video and all associated rights. For example, full ownership of the video means you have the right to edit and use it in any way you want. While the videographer normally does not retain copyright, it is common practice for the contract to include language allowing the videographer to use the video in her portfolio. Some videographers may also require that they receive credit in some way, such as with a digital watermark.
- Compensation and payment terms. The contract should clearly set out the terms of payment, including a schedule, if you and the videographer have agreed to one. If there are any anticipated expenses related to producing the final product, such as location or talent costs, these should be covered in the agreement as well.
A professional videographer can produce the high-quality videos your business needs to promote its goods or services. A comprehensive videography services agreement helps define the roles and expectations of both parties and set the foundation for a good working business relationship.