Film Talk

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Years ago there were hard and fast rules for film footage rates but nowadays with the explosion of small TV production company’s around the world the original rates have gone out of the window. 

With the introduction of small digital HD cameras and ofcourse the billions of telephones with high grade lenses, there’s more than enough footage around for any demanding newsroom but images are now cheap, it all depends on the subject matter and the urgency of the footage. Today, it’s ‘dog eat dog’ and ‘fast and furious’ it’s not for the faint hearted so if you cannot keep up with the top runners then don’t compete! That’s the news industry.

The BBC is a very complicated set up. They own 550 freehold properties around the world and more staff than you could wish for, it also transmits a 42 language world service which is paid for by the U.K. foreign office, TV production is paid for by the general public which is extracted from the annual TV licence (£150.00 per person). I mention this because the money is then split up between departments , Drama, Radio, News, NHU (big slice) News gathering,  Legal depts etc. Each heading then can be split up in hundreds of smaller sections and departments each requiring separate funding. Even accountants cannot get a handle on expenditure, as each department runs itself so to speak. So if you have footage to sell then you have to know which department to deal with and that takes experience. Commissioning editors normally know which producer is doing what and when but prices will vary from dept to dept. There is something you should know, BBC News have a special budget much higher than anyone else, they have influence around the world and can “lean” on people to get the right footage at their price. Don’t dictate the terms otherwise they with not deal with you again, it’s that simple. Always remember, yesterday’s news is worthless, not worth a dime!

The French company you are dealing with are probably “green as grass”, their market share is very low, maybe 3 %. They want your footage cheap otherwise they will buy in from people like the BBC, NBC and others. News footage is how TV stations make their money. By all means try and sell your footage to them but if it’s too expensive, they have options to buy elsewhere, they are a tiny production company where the crew are freelancers and are desperate for work. Don’t risk your life filming fires, let other people do it for you and you buy their footage and sell it on. That’s the game. It’s a market place like any other, buy cheap or wholesale and move it on at a profit. Sell your footage by all means but be sensible, if the price is right they will buy it but remember, they have already checked you out, they have been forewarned. If they don’t want it then sell it to a stock photo agency.

Wish you luck.

Btw, I love your 3D images very impressive.

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