promotional video

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Postby Guest » 07/12/07 03:12 PM

I am planning on filming a promotional video to be distributed to talent agencies and various business for booking purposes. Do I need to have release forms signed by the spectators if they appear in the video? If you have any information or resources. please respond. I live in Alabama if
this varies from state to state.
Thank you.

Postby Guest » 07/12/07 11:43 PM

I think that if you announce at the beginning of filming what your purpose is and that anyone who does NOT want to be on camera should leave, you'll be covered.

If your doing the show for the specific purpose of creating a demo reel and you film yourself making that announcement and showing the audience as you're making the announcement, you should be in the clear. I don't think you'd need indvidually signed releases after that.

I would hope that you're only going to show snippets of your act, and only the parts where people are laughing and otherwise having a good time rather than the entire act.

Postby Jerry Harrell » 07/13/07 03:04 AM

Scott, I am the video production manager at a state university. Our rule of thumb is that the demarcation line for this kind of issue is whether the video is being recorded to sell. As soon as dollars are changing hands, it gets sticky. But if you are making a promotional video, not for resale, and inform everyone you photograph how the video is to be used, you should be OK.
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Postby Guest » 07/13/07 11:40 AM

Thank you for the answers. David, I am only going to show snippets in the final editing and most of it may show a short bit of the end of an effect followed by focusing on audience reaction. Thanks again. I know I've said it before and probably will continue to do so, but the members of this forum are unparalled in willingness to help and useful, informed responses. Thank you guys.

Postby NCMarsh » 07/13/07 01:51 PM

A few suggestions:

1. Shoot as often as you can. The curse of the camera is a real thing: when the lighting, sound, image etc. are perfect; the show will suck. When the show is really good, there will be something wrong with the technical stuff.

I have heard the same from many performers, and -- personally -- I have beautiful, professionally shot footage of a mediocre show and I have grainy, underlit footage of the best show I have ever done.

2. A priority is getting on-camera testimonials after the show. These are really, really effective.

3. I strongly agree with David's advice of going with a montage for "retail" clients. Many experienced talent buyers (agencies, bureaus, etc.), however, are not going to care about your montage. They have seen too many performers who looked great in a slick highlight reel only to suck when they got onstage. They don't need (nor do I think they should get) your whole act, but they want 10 - 20 minutes to see what the show is really like.

Fred Becker put out a great booklet on promo videos for's worth a read...I think Denny Haney has it in stock (


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Postby Guest » 07/26/07 12:10 AM


--for what it's worth, I worked a Comedy Central taping for
AJ last year
in Manhattan and all they did was advise with large placards
at the
entrance that anyone passing through the theatre boundary
consenting to be on camera.

I happen to own a part of a production company called reel spiel that
films and edits promotional reels so here's some free advice.

Candidly, I disagree with one of Nathan's points as I think
testimonials are worthless because they are so easy to fabricate.
seen way too many bookers fast forward through them. The exception
would be if it was a big celebrity.

Like Nathan said, try to tape more than one performance.
sure that the shows are as identical as possible right down to your outfit.
This will help your editor immensely and help preserve your best moments.

Try to have at least two stationary cameras with one having the flexibility to
move in and out on the subject. Avoid hand-held stuff.
second camera could also be used to tape audience reaction, and
this would work best during a segment of the show where the house
lights were up more than usual. (I prefer a 24p camera as it's a video
camera that duplicates the effects of film.)

Patch directly into the theatre's sound board but also do whatever
you can to microphone the audience so that your editor can mix the
sounds in properly.

Also, you may investigate changing your lighting scheme as sometimes
making your stage hotter will make the film look better even if it will
make you and your live audience slightly miserable.

Hope that helps.

Postby Guest » 07/26/07 08:35 AM

That is some great information. Thank you so much. I appreciate any advice from a man with experience in this field. It's almost ime to get started. I'll post back to you guys after I'm done and let you know how the response is. Thanks for all your help! - Scott

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