Understandably commissioning a professional wedding video may raise issues for some couples about privacy. We live in a media saturated society where social media encourages us to share our images and videos with an increasing network of contacts. However it’s quite understandable that not all clients will want details of their celebration seen by others.
It’s an interesting situation, because on the other hand many talented film-makers (just like writers, artists and musicians), will be keen to exhibit the creative work they have done for you – in many cases it will be essential for their portfolio and obtaining future work. Similarly it makes sense if you hire an artist expecting them to do their best for you, they may lose some of their motivation if they are told it can’t be seen by anyone.
At Bloomsbury Films we have worked our way through such issues throughout the last 10 years. Essentially, our view is the client is the ‘Executive Producer’ and in that regard they have the ultimate say of how a film can be shared. However, it’s important to prevent knee-jerk reactions and to openly discuss what each party needs. We always agree a level of privacy that suits each party.
Firstly, to put things into context neither we nor our clients believe the films we create should be used as ‘entertainment’ to random strangers. Consequently, in our contract it is agreed that neither party will share any film or clip with the mass media (i.e. broadcast TV, theatrical films or advertising) without specific discussion. This assures our clients that clips from their wedding won’t end up as say stock footage on national news! It also assures us that clients won’t sell their wedding films to specialist channels for profit..
Furthermore, our position is that the full-length films we make for clients are intended for private use. We don’t use clients’ full-length films as samples online or send out copies on DVD to anyone. Only the client and their relevant agents (e.g. planner or venue) receive this film and so only they decide who to share it with. Frankly, the only instance in which these full-length films may be seen by a third party is if we are hosting a private consultation at our studio (or similar) and we wish to demonstrate some aspect of the DVD authoring or our film-making work.
As a bonus to the main film we also offer clients a free highlights trailer. This version is really intended for sharing and at 2.5 mins duration it is the sort of length people are willing watch online. It’s popular with clients who want to share the best moments of their day with a wide group of friends and family. It is also supplied in an electronic format so they can download it to a Smartphone or post onto their Facebook etc. However because this is provided free of charge it comes on the understanding that we can also use this film as a sample on our website or social networks.
That ways it’s simple: if clients want complete privacy they can have it. We don’t make a highlights film and that way there is built in protection it cannot be abused. We are fine with it. However, in practice I would say only a handful of clients each year invoke this because we are clear about how and why the trailer will be used. Specifically:
1. Highlights films are intended to demonstrate our film-making work. As such they are only presented in situations where the viewer will likely be planning a wedding or event and considering hiring us.
2. Sample films are also essential in our business for clients who may wish to see our competence at dealing with a certain culture or religion. Similarly they may wish to see our experience working at a certain venue or location.
3. Any films we do use as samples are not tagged with information that could easily identify them through a web-based search. i.e. they are not tagged with full names, dates, private addresses etc.
4. Our samples are regularly rotated as new work is completed. It stands to reason we want to show our latest work, so any films that are used tend to have a specific ‘shelf-life’.
5. We don’t syndicate our highlights films with any third party for general entertainment. i.e. they are not provided as free content to video channels, gossip sites, hair and beauty, etc. Indeed, the only third party likely to feature our films would be in a blog article by a professional wedding planner.
Given that our use of highlights films are clearly for professional use to a specific audience, most clients feel that the exchange for a free highlights film is well worth it. However, on a few occasions we have been asked by clients wanting complete privacy if they can still commission a highlights trailer from us, but for private use only. The answer to this is yes and for this we charge a nominal fee of £500. In these instances the trailer will not appear anywhere on the web unless posted by clients themselves. The electronic version comes with a security password to ensure this.
We hope this article has been useful. We hope that in sharing our policy it will provide prospective clients with a proper chance to reflect on the matter and consider the options. Also as market leaders in an industry that is still relatively young, we hope that by sharing our policy with the wider industry we will help other companies to offer better choice to their clients.