Recording the Event: Video, Still and Audio
There are dozens of reasons to record activities at events, from capturing ceremonies for future
generations to developing audio and video programs for webcasts and corporate training
programs. Even if you are on a pretty tight budget, you should consider recording as many
activities and sessions as possible; they may even generate revenue for your client
down the road. Because video and audio programs are potential money-makers, make sure to obtain
all rights from the videographer or recording tech, and register the recording with the
U.S. Copyright office to protect your interests. Also obtain the copyright from any still photographer
if you plan to use the images commercially at any point.
In this discussion about recording your event we’ll use the term photographer to encompass
all the recording types. Lets first look at some very good rules for choosing the right
talent: First, go online and look through as many
photographers’ sites as you can. Choose these sites based on a series of criteria
including type of event, location of photographer, years of experience, etc.
Second, really pay attention to the portfolio of work. If the site comes up as a result
of your search parameters, but the content and quality of the photographer’s work doesn’t
match your requirements, move on. Third, make contact with those who match your
criteria. If they don’t respond within 48 hours, they probably won’t be very responsive
on the job. Fourth, once you have paired your initial
list down to a handful of photographers who have the appropriate body of work and have
indicated they are available and interested, interview them. Ask them:
* How long they have been in the business. You want them to have extensive experience
doing exactly what you’ll be asking them to do.
* Do they have a business license and full insurance coverage? In some states and areas,
licenses are not required, so know whether it is where you’ll be asking them to work.
Make sure they have liability insurance, and that you will not be charged if they don’t
deliver for any reason. * What references do they have from clients
with projects similar to yours. Make sure you check there references.
* Do they have sufficient backup equipment in case they have technical difficulties.
They need to have dull redundancy to make sure they can get the job done.
* Do they work with an assistant or assistants? The answer must always be “yes” for event
photography because multiple things can happen at once and need to be covered.
* Who will take their place if they can’t make the shoot at the last minute? Make sure
the photographer, videographer or recording tech have a Plan “B,” and you should too.
* Can they deliver the final product in all the formats you need? Anticipate all the uses
of their work and make sure they can deliver the results any way you need them.
* Do they guarantee highest resolution delivery? Make sure you get the products in high-res,
high-quality raw format as well as any manipulated format you require.
* What is there turnaround time? If you need their products by a certain date after the
shoot or recording, they must be able to meet your deadline.
* Can they edit and enhance the product if required? In some cases you may need the results
edited or improved; they need to be capable of doing so and include the service in the
contract. * What are the image, video or audio recording
rights? Typically, the work belongs to the photographer. If you need to own the rights,
you’ll have to negotiate and contract to this ahead of time.
* What are their rates and how will they discount them for you? A photographer who wants your
business should be willing to work within your budget restrictions.
Once you’ve establishes that service providers fit all your requirements based on their site
information and responses in the interview, you need to write the following elements into
your contract: * Rates: hourly and/or by product agreement.
* Contingency rates if the even runs over, is delayed or something forces a last-minute
schedule change. * All the Plan “Bs” we’ve already discussed.
* Broad packages of rights that include all your product ownership requirements.
* Costs for travel, accommodations, food and beverage and special requirements.
* How they handle model releases and use licenses. * Post shoot/recording production and imaging
costs and turnaround times. * Final product—prints, formatted and edited
video and images for example—costs. * Shipping if any.
* Other costs of final deliverable, i.e. discs, presentation folders, time for uploading via
FTP, etc. * Licensing fees
You also need to establish how you want your photographers, videographers and recording
techs to appear, behave and work within the context of your event. Here are some important
considerations: 1. Make sure that they dress appropriately;
they should blend in with your group. If the affair is formal, they need to dress formally.
2. Make sure they know the venue or visit it ahead of time so they can be responsive
to lighting, crown movement, location of key elements and other shoot quality considerations.
3. Ensure that they will keep a copy of your event agenda with them and follow it as you’ve
requested. 4. Connect them with at least two members
of your team who can help them quickly and efficiently if needed.
5. Make sure they are comfortable shooting your event without interrupting any activities,
conversations, sessions, etc. 6. If you do or don’t want them engaging
with your attendees, presenters and VIPs, make sure you let them know your policy and
that they will follow it. 7. If you do not want them participating in
the event by eating, drinking or imbibing alcohol, make sure this is clear in your agreement
with them. 8. Ask them if they need any meals before
or during the event. Your team members need to have the energy required to keep their
stamina up. 9. Ask them what their rules are about when
it’s not appropriate to record people, i.e. while they are eating.
10. Evaluate their personality. If they are rude or short with you, they’ll probably
be rude and short to your attendees, presenters and VIPs.
11. Establish guidelines about when it’s appropriate for them to make a judgment call
and record something that wasn’t scheduled, but will give you more valuable results.
If you do your due diligence in choosing your photographers, videographers and recording
techs, you will be adding effective members to your team. Just remember that it’s not
important what these artists can do, it’s important that they can do what you need them