Or How to Ensure that Man on the Street Interviews Don’t Turn Into Lawsuits
Imagine you’ve recorded one of the best videos in the history of video production. The lighting was perfect, everybody and everything looked pristine, the sound quality captured was crisp like a soft stream springing down a mountainside. You were even able to grab some amazing interviews from people in your relevant demographic. The video got delivered and even the client was thrilled!
Four months down the line you get a call from one of the people in the video – and they found their face on a public YouTube channel talking about a topic they didn’t want the whole world to know their opinion on. And they want to remove the video!
Well, this is where it gets interesting. Choose your own adventure:
Mega Happy Ending
If you had obtained a signed video release from that individual – you are absolutely in the clear. You may apologize to him or her and explain the legally binding nature of the contract they had signed.
You never got a signed release form from that person. You will have to call the client and explain the situation and most likely get the video removed – unless you want legal ramifications.
When should you get video release forms?
At Snippies, man on the street interview videos are some of our most-requested videos. Because of this our video crews in multiple cities around the world will always get a signed release form from all participants. Even if the video’s purpose seems to be research-only, some content may end up being so good that a brand wants to use it as a testimonial on their public presence.
- On The Street or In-Home Interviews: As a rule of thumb, if it’s on the street or an in-home interview, always get a release form signed by your subject.
- Public Spaces and Large Crowds: A video production company in New York City often gets requests for videos of people walking along 5th avenue, taking a stroll through Central Park or while on the subway. In these cases, for the most part, you do not need a signed release form. The only time you require a release form when shooting crowd shots, walking down the street and similar is if you’re filming someone who is recognizable as a public figure.
- Public Schools, Parks and Video Release Forms for Children: If you happen to be recording kids under the age of 18, you will definitely need a signed agreement from their parents or guardian to do so. This is an absolute must, at all times.
- Major Events: If you are going to create a documentary or event coverage video for a wedding, concert or corporate gathering, you need to think about a different type of release form. Create a single release form with the venue owner and you will most likely be in the clear. As an additional precaution, add visible signage to notify guests that they may be on camera while attending the event.
- Music Videos and Films: If you are recording a music video or short film, you need a detailed video release form. Should your content become commercially available, you need to be upfront with the talent about their likeness being used to promote the content. Even if your video production is basic and includes friends and family, always have a well thought out video release form to save you from unpleasant situations in the future.
As long as you follow this guide for when a release form is necessary or not, you will always be able to avoid turning a great video into a great headache.