A video release form is a contract between a production company and the client or the subject of video footage that grants the production company permission to use the video footage.
Once the video release form is signed, the subject releases their rights over the footage to the other party. The production company benefits in the following ways when they have a video release form:
- They can use the video footage on online platforms
- They can use the footage for physical products like DVDs
- They can also use the video footage for other publications
Based on the terms of the contract, the production company will offer compensation to a client or the subject of the video footage. After that, they can use the video, and the subject will not receive any more compensation. Whether a filmmaker or a production company, it is essential to get a video release form to use a client’s video and avoid any lawsuits safely.
There are instances when a production company will need this video release form, primarily if the films are being produced for commercial use. Some of the situations include when they are capturing footage of:
- Private property
What rights “video release form” gives to 3rd party?
The form categorically states that the person who applies for that permission has been granted it. He is, therefore, free to use those images for the purposes spelled out. In case of any disputes or need for litigation, the form may come in to aid in reaching favorable verdicts.
Further, the form also showcases the full duration in which the permission is valid and the terms of references that govern the same. It hence dispels any ambiguities which are ordinarily bound to arise in the course of the use of the video.
Common Uses of Video Release Form
This form finds applicability in many areas and fields. Below are the main places which this form may be applicable:
The form is used extensively by academic institutions. In this sense, it is used to inculcate some teachings to the students via the video formats. These could take the form of video shows, projectors, and vivid illustrations.
Though applicable for all courses, history, journalism, and current affairs courses are the key beneficiaries of this kind of approach.
Documentaries are films and videos which confer practical and factual reports with regards to a particular subject matter. For instance, it may exhibit some historical facts about an ancient empire.
Alternatively, it could also speak about a particularly hot topic like globalization, terrorism, or poverty. In most cases, it is the media houses that seek such kinds of permissions.
As hinted above, the media houses are some of the key beneficiaries of this video release form. That is because they display content, mostly in video formats, to their audiences.
It is unlikely that they may be able to shoot and capture all the facts they have on their own. That is why they may from time to time have to seek the intervention of other content producers.
In the process of recording a movie, the producers will often have to incorporate some foreign content into their recording. The same reason for the media house also applies in this instance.
It may not always be that the producer has all the facts, footage, and raw materials necessary for the full production of a movie. That is why they have to incorporate foreign but relevant content.
When making up some news stories, the producers of the news item may also have to bring in some foreign yet relevant content. In this instant, the foreign content may serve to reinforce the existing narrative in ways which is beyond the scope of the news crew.
Online/Internet videos (YouTube)
The video release form also comes in handy while making videos that are strictly intended for the internet or online platforms. Most videos of these kinds are sourced from the video-sharing giant, YouTube. With regard to this, the video plays more or less the same role it would under normal circumstances.
Lastly, the form may also be used to seek permission while preparing for presentations. These presentations are employed heavily in university lecture halls to deliver talks and speeches. They serve to visualize the concepts and thus making them more understandable.
Essential Contents of a Video Release Form
A video release form includes some essential elements listed as follows:
Name of the parties
The client’s name offering the images and videos for use should be indicated in the video release form. The name of the production company is also essential and should be included in the form. The first blank space of the form should be the client’s name, while the second blank space should contain the full legal name of the production company.
Content in the form
The essential information that should be in the form includes:
- Asking for permission– In the body paragraph of the form, the production company must ask for permission from the client to use their video footage. The language used in a form should be tailored to the subject’s approval in a polite yet formal way.
- Any payment to be included– the production company should indicate the payment required to be paid to the subject of the video footage. With this information highlighted, the client will receive the amount indicated in the video release form in exchange for rights over their footage. Other than the amount mentioned in the form, the client will not receive any compensation from the production company.
Client’s contact information and signature
The content of the video release form should also include the client’s contact information alongside their signature. The contact information and signature of the parents will also be required if the production company is dealing with a subject who is a minor.
Free Video Release Forms
Here are free downloadable templates that can be customized as per needs:
Video Release Form (by State)
Free Video Release Forms
How to Get Video Release Permission
There is a process involved in requesting permission from the client to use the video and the video contents that a person or production company should be aware of. Here is how to get a video released:
Search for privacy laws
A production company must research the privacy laws that govern the use of someone else’s video footage. For instance, one example of these laws is that if a production company is using a video, they should ensure all subjects in the video have signed the release forms.
With this in place, their videos will not be banned from shelves or the internet. However, the production company will also learn the limits of using a release form. For example, they will know if a video release form also covers images included or if they will need another type of release form for that.
Download and fill the form
After understanding the laws surrounding the video release, the next step is to download and fill the form by having it signed by the client to obtain permission. The form should include clear information relating to the client, such as their name, address, and contact information.
The video release form will offer guidelines of how the footage can be used and acts as a license for the production company. With the license, the production company can use the video footage for their benefit.
Note: A production company dealing with a minor subject must obtain their parent’s or guardian’s signature in the release form.
Send the form
As the production company must obtain permission from the client or subject of the video, preparing and sending a release form to the other party is the formal and correct way a production company should use to obtain permission from them. So, after filling the form one may send it to the client and should wait for their permission.
Photo Release Forms (Adult – Child)
Media Liability Release Forms
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, there is a need for one to get a video release form for YouTube videos. Without a written and a signed release form, the subjects in the YouTube videos can file lawsuits for using their images and footage in a published video without permission.
An individual or a production company does not need the video release form if the subject or location used in the video cannot be identified. The most important thing is to prove that the content of the video being used cannot be identified as a particular location or belonging to anyone beyond a reasonable doubt.
While a media release form and a video release form are regarded as similar and even used interchangeably, the two forms are different. A video release form is a contract that grants one party permission to use video footage of a subject. On the other hand, a media release form has the same terms, but the consent also applies to other media assets apart from videos. These media assets include pictures, print, and even recorded sounds of a subject.