When creating a documentary or video, it is crucial to have the interests of the company or yourself in mind. In the filming process, there will be people who will be captured in the video, such as interviewees, contributors of information, actors, customers, or workers. If you edit and publish the video without their consent, they will have a right to sue you and could claim millions in compensation.
Table of Contents
- 1 Video Consent Forms
- 2 What is a video permission form?
- 3 Video Consent Form Templates
- 4 Circumstances that require a video permission form
- 5 Circumstances that do not require a video permission form
- 6 Video Release Forms
- 7 Benefits of a video release form
- 8 Persons who need to sign a filming consent form
- 9 Filming Consent Forms
- 10 Details contained in a video consent form template
To be on the safe side, prepare a video consent form template and request them to sign. Once they sign, they have granted you permission to edit and publish the video in any media of your choice, whether it’s for personal or commercial gain.
Video Consent Forms
What is a video permission form?
A video permission form is a form signed by a person granting a third party to publish a film in which the granting person appears. The form mainly protects the video owner and not the granter because the granter only permits the video owner to use the video in whatever capacity they would wish.
This means all the benefits obtained from the video go to the owner but not to the permission grantor. The videographer or owner benefits in many ways in this matter. The major benefit for the video owner is the fact that they can use the video for advertising products for the benefit of the company.
Video Consent Form Templates
Circumstances that require a video permission form
A filming consent form is required in different circumstances. To know if a filming activity requires a consent form, decide why you want to film. You could be filming your video to use it for online courses and more specific courses for sale.
You could also be interested in creating a movie to sell on video platforms or to record copies and sell in a movie shop. The movies could be a documentary, educational, or purely for entertainment.
There are films recorded for advertisement purposes. These are short ads placed on a company website, social media platform, or commercial advertiser platform. There are also videos used for presentations in a conference, webinar, etc. The list can be long, but you must decide what you want to use the film for, such as news, online videos, etc.
In other words, if your video falls outside the limits of personal use, it automatically falls into limits of commercial use and requires a filming consent form before publishing. The person granting the permission should be identifiable in the video either directly or indirectly.
Here is a summary of circumstances that require a video permission form
- Videos for use in online courses
- Videos for advertising purposes
- Entertainment videos – music, cinemas, documentaries
- Publishing on social media platforms
- Use of online news platforms
- Selling physical copies
Circumstances that do not require a video permission form
There are times when you will not require a video release form and you will still be safe from lawsuits. For example, you have seen in TV news clips of news taken from various places such as political meetings, sports events, carnival events, demonstrations, religious services, etc.
In such events, the journalists film and send the raw videos to their respective newsrooms for editing. Later during their newscasting time, you might be surprised to see yourself on TV. Whether you want to be seen on TV or not, you cannot sue the media company.
By the virtue that you were present in the event, you automatically qualify to be filmed and used in whatever way the company decides since it was a public gathering. The journalist will not come looking for you to sign a video consent form template because they are already protected by journalism law.
The other situation is when you shoot the film and capture a person, but they cannot be directly identified. Maybe the film only captured their legs, hand, or another part of their body apart from their face. If the part captured can not be used to identify the person, you would not require to request them to sign a video permission form.
There is another situation where you filmed the person and they are partially or fully identifiable but your intention is not to publish the video. Since the video will not appear in the public domain, you will not require a video release form. However, if you decide after some time that you want to publish the video, you will have no option but to request permission from them.
Here is a summary of circumstances that do not require a video permission form
- Videos intended not to be published in the public domain
- Videos where an individual cannot be identified directly or indirectly
- Videos captured in public gatherings/for journalism
Video Release Forms
Benefits of a video release form
You should make sure you obtain a video release form even when the person involved is a close relative, a close friend, or someone who is well known by you. They can easily turn against you the moment they realize you are gaining too much from the video. Someone else, like a lawyer, could be malicious and they advise them to file a lawsuit. It gives you various benefits.
- You can publish the video on any platform without fear – the moment someone signs the video consent form template, you are free to publish the video on any platform.
- You will escape from lawsuits – the concerned person can never file a case against you for publishing a video in which they appear.
- You will not share your profits – if someone notices you are making too many profits from a video in which they appear, they can demand a share.
- You will have peace of mind – you will not keep worrying that someone might rise one day and decide to sue you.
- You will redeem the time – you are safe with your precious time instead of using it to follow up on court cases.
- You will save money – court cases are expensive. You have to hire lawyers, pay court fees and other expenses.
- Your business integrity will stand – whether you win the case or lose, it will hurt your personal and business integrity.
Persons who need to sign a filming consent form
Anytime you are filming a video that you intend to use for commercial gain, bear in mind that you will require a filming consent form from the people who appear in your video. It will help protect you and your company from expensive lawsuits. If you are not sure the kind of people who should sign a video consent form template, this list will help you.
§ Actors who appear in the video
An example is a movie shooting for a video streaming website. There will be actors in the film and if it’s an animated video, there will be voice actors. Everyone who appears in the film must sign a video consent form template. This has nothing to do with the actor’s fees you agree to pay them but has everything to do with what happens after the video or movie hits the market.
§ Any interviewed person
An example is when preparing a documentary or a research report. During the process of collecting information, you will go interviewing people be it in the public domain, specialists, or heads of companies. Before you leave their office, make sure they sign a video release form.
§ Employees who appear in the video
You could be preparing a commercial video to advertise your company’s products or services. If you film workers on site, you have no authority to publish the video simply because they are your workers. They must give you consent through the video permission form.
§ Customers who appear in the video
Let’s say you are a banker and want to film customers as they wait to be served or as they receive the service. If you want to publish the video on the company website, social media or use it in an ad, you cannot do so unless the customer/customers sign the filming consent form.
§ Owner of private property that you have filmed
Take a case scenario where you are creating a movie, comedy, or documentary and the scene is on private property. It could be private land, house, complex, island, etc. Even if the owner of the property verbally permitted you, they still need to sign a video permission form for consent.
If the filming was done on public property/space such as the city streets, highways, stadiums, public parks, or a public place of worship, you do not require anyone to sign a consent form. This is regardless of whether the person was supposed to appear in the video or they appeared by coincidence.
Anyone appearing in the background cannot sue you for publishing the video. Even if the person is in a public place, sometimes it is better to show courtesy and inform them you want to film. If they are not comfortable, they will give you space and vacate the place.
Filming Consent Forms
Details contained in a video consent form template
A video consent form is very simple but its importance is huge. The wording or details in the form could vary but there are the points that are common in each. An individual or company might want to include specific clauses that favor the kind of business it does. The form should include these general points.
§ Forms of media
Forms of media mean the places you intend to publish the video. These are the various media platforms available online and recording devices such as disks. The platforms could be your blog, website, social media, video streaming websites, webinars, advertising websites, online newspapers, magazines, etc.
Be specific with each platform and say something like this: the consent covers all formats, types of media, and languages known from this time forward. State that the consent extends to all future modifications of the video, and there shall be no further consultations.
§ The video release clause
The release is particularly important in the video release form because it is the one that outlines the terms of the agreement. It binds the party legally because it is the authority to give the video owner full ownership rights.
The party relinquishes its right to seek legal redress or claim in the future. It is like an affidavit declaring that the person whose image appears in the video will not whatsoever file a case against the video owner in all matters about the use of the video. Once they sign the form, they have bestowed all rights upon the video owner.
§ Rights to modify the video
You cannot publish the video without first editing it but to the person giving consent, this is a big catch. If you try to improve the video, they can claim the consent applied to the raw video only.
To cushion yourself from such an incidence, have a clause that defines the right to modify the video. The clause should specify that you reserve all rights to modify the video in whatever form that maximizes your benefits from it.
§ Time limitation
Another catch the person giving consent could have is to claim to release for a specific time frame, let’s say something like a year or a few months. If no clause specified a time limit, you could easily lose a lawsuit.
In the clause, do not be specific in matters of time but let the time be indefinite. This shall give you all freedom to use the video as long as you live. Those that are left running your business will inherit all the rights under the signed video permission form.
§ Payment agreement
Since there is no expected payment in the future, the terms of payment might not apply in the consent form. Instead, the terms will be contained in the contract agreement form. However, you might mention that the consent giver will have no right to claim any payment whatsoever.
§ Personal details
Let the filming consent form have personal information such as –
- parent/legal guardian name
- Parent/legal guardian signature
You may include any other necessary or important details or documents that you feel will help in case issues arise in the future. For your good, you may attach the contract agreement from the person signed before the filming started, plus all payments received/statements. This is not mandatory, but you may request a copy of their identification document, email, telephone, or any other contact detail.