Construction site video


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What are my rights as a contractor with regard to flying one of my construction sites to take progress video and photographs for our website and/or Facebook page. Can the Owner of the development prohibit this? What are guidelines that allow or prohibit this?

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That probably depends on whether you are the prime contractor or a sub.  Yes the owner of the development can prohibit you from publishing likenesses of their property on social media or in advertisements.  

This is probably less about your rights and more about do you ever want to work for that company again.  Depending on how influential that company is, you might make finding more work very difficult. 

 

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Hi Nick,

Talking to the owner before flying and explaining what you are doing, and the flight plan you will follow to keep people safe on the job site may help gain the owner's trust and approval. Perhaps the owner would be interested in using your photographs as well.  Also, having your Part 107 and basic drone liability insurance would be helpful as well. If that doesn't work, I agree with Av8Chuck, you will need to weigh whether it's worth the risk to jeopardize the relationship.

David

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I confess I have be hired to perform monthly aerial photo shoots for progress on two separate construction projects...One by the construction company and the other by the Realtor.  The question of whether or not the owner would object has never come up.  I suppose it could, though I find it unlikely/

I think David's suggestion of talking to an owner first is a good one.

...Jay
NorthShoreDroneService.com

 

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Anyone who has followed my replies knows I rarely suggest asking for permission first, but in this case it’s not to ask permission to fly, presumably you already have that, but it’s an intalectual property issue.  

You do not have the right to publish images of someone’s property unless they’ve explicitly given it to you.  The issue will rarely come up on the jobsite, it’s comes up when the owner of the propert sees it in an advertising or online.  

Most of the contracts we have state that we are not allow to post data we collect online or use it for promotional purposes without written permission.  I have seen this happen a lot when commercial drone operators post images on their website promoting their work.  

This Is a contentious issue that really has little to do with the drone and it applies to JSU about everyone on a jobsite. This is one of those things that says a lot about your integrity.  If you have permission it’s an indication you have integrity, if you don’t and someone sees the imagery of their property you might never know that’s why you lost out on future work.   

It’s not worth the risk.  Obviously common sense should prevail, it also depends on what your shooting/using.  But there are lots of things that happen on construction sites where the prime or sub contractors don’t want someone looking over their shoulders.  

 

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What about clients I am currently flying for. What would the protocol be for publishing media to my web page or FB page? Do I just need to Share the video footage or photos on my page after they have published to theirs? The few clients I have thus far have been tagging me (for credit) in the media they publish. Some have been adding visual effects and music to media. Are there any written or unwritten guidelines for that? I have no issue with it at this point, but would not want someone in the future to modify my work in a way that could hurt my fledgling business.

All just questions to educate myself. Thanks.

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Ok, for all the concerns you mentioned about what your customers might do with your footage is the reason that you can’t use imagery of their projects for promoting your business without permission. 

Here’s an interesting tidbit, as the photographer, unless specified in the contract, you own all the footage.  It does not belong to them because they hired you.  However, as we’ve been discussing, just because you own it doesn’t give you the right to use it.  

The best way to manage everyone’s expectations is to agree upon what can be be used for promotional purposes in the employment contract.  Keep in mind that the client who hired you, like a real estate agent, probably doesn’t have the authority to give you permission in the first place.  For the clients your already working for, just talk to them.  

However you go about solving this problem, GET IT IN WRITING.   The real problem your solving is one of expectations.  If you make an honest effort of trying to get permission to use any material for promotional purposes and get it in writing, then even if the wrong person signed your request you had the integrity to ask.  Most of the time the offended IP owner will simply ask you to stop using it.  But if you don’t make the effort and get it in writing then not only will they make you stop but it can cost you money.  

This is one of those topics where it sounds more complicated than it is.  Use common sense.  If your documenting the construction of the Disney Concert hall in downtown LA, your probably not going to get permission and you know you’ll get in trouble if you use any of it for promotional purposes. If your documenting the construction of an office building in rural America, people are less likely to care.  

 Also, if your working on a project that is federally funded or DoD related then it is expressly prohibited.  In those cases you must get permission. Depending on what it is, generally you will get permission if you ask but they need to approve hows it’s being used.  

In case you haven’t figured this out, this is a “quarantine” answer.  I’m bored out of my mind.  Answering this question is the most excitement I’ve had in days 🤬

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4 hours ago, Dave Pitman said:

Everyone thought that Mathew Roberts

Did Mathew work on that project or did he just fly around from outside?    

If he worked as a contractor and didn’t get sued for some reason he’ll probably never work on another Apple project. 

But your right, you never know.

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Hey Nick, 

What I normally do is send the client a proposal. Let's pretend it's for one morning sunrise shot of a construction site. In that proposal I put in the client name, date, when I will fly (if there are a range of dates based on the weather being good), pricing for the flight and a section on Rights. Under Rights it depends on the client - if it's real estate like a home, I just say the client retains the rights to use the footage and post it on whatever sites they wish as well as add whatever titles they need to in order to sell the home. I usually do that for them so they never have to add to it.  I also put "my name/Mike retains the rights to use the footage for promotional purposes only, such as a demo reel." - I've never had anyone have an issue with that. I've done that with large construction and architecture firms too. 

I feel like if you have something like that in your language with them then they understand you're using it to promote your business. Now, there may be an issue of timing with that. Your client may want you to hold off using it. For example, I did a huge university building project and they were holding a symposium discussing it and showing the video there, so they wanted me to wait until after they showed it to their audience before I put it on my website or social media. I was more than happy to comply with that. The thing is just asking upfront: "hey do you care if I use a shot or two out of this for my future promotional reel?". Keeping them happy = return business from them but also them referring you to the other contractors on that site and others they know. 

Here's another thing though: private links. I have tons of projects that I haven't shown publicly but when I get a call for a project and they say "have you done____?" I can send them a private link with a password to a video I've shot for a client that isn't public, or I just say "check out my client's website ____ to see the work I did for them". 

For your example of them adding titles and motion graphics to your work - this happens a lot. You've gotta decide if you can do it as well as they can and if you want to offer that for one, but also they may have internal branding that they never let their video contractors add because they have an in-hour person do it for all their images and video collateral. For one, it's less of a headache for you, especially with any changes they want over and over again with font sizes/color/movement for motion graphics. So it might be nice to just say "I'll go shoot it for you, you do the titles, graphics, edits." If you get smaller clients that don't have that, you should ask upfront for their branding guidelines: fonts, logos, colors. Most companies have a PDF with all that laid out in them. If the company is too small they might not, so I always ask if they're working with a graphic designer that did their logo. They can help you get a large enough logo file. 
If someone does something cheesy with your footage you can remove the tag of your name/company from Instagram (and maybe facebook too) if you don't want that to be associated with your business. 

I'd just keep updating your reel. Cut together your best shots you have right now and as you shoot more add them on or replace ones that you don't love as much with the new, better shots. 

The biggest thing I see though are people putting these super long reels of aerial shots with 12 shots of the same building that aren't that different. After about 3 of the same thing the audience loses interest unless there's really that much to see about a particular site. 

So here's a quick basic rundown: I get an email "I heard you do drone work, can you film x site for me and how much would that be?" - I get the address, check it on AirMap and see if it's Class G or if I need to get permission to fly there for the airspace. I ask the client what they're looking for: time of day, anything special going on like cranes moving on site, a huge load of concrete walls coming in, figure out when we could shoot it, etc. I also ask them if they want it edited or just shots that they can edit. I also say "I usually edit a 30-90 second spot depending on what you need" and include that price unless they just want raw footage. I then send a proposal with the pricing and that paragraph about rights. Typically they respond "that's great, let's try to shoot next week" or whenever they want it done. I also ask if they're meeting me on site or if I'm looking for someone in particular. If it's a big construction site it's usually a foreman and sometimes they'll say we need to wait a second for a truck or crane, etc. Otherwise with real estate I have agents that know my work well enough now that they don't bother to meet me at the homes anymore so I just text them when I'm on site. I do the shoot, do the edit, or I dropbox the digital files to them and send them an invoice on Square to pay, depending on the client. Most real estate agents like to pay with their card on Square, larger companies want an invoice over email and they mail a check. I might post a behind-the-scenes photo or something but I usually wait until the client has posted the shot to their social media before I post it. 

Hope that helps, Nick. 

 

 

Hey Av8Chuck - quick question for you: Can we/Nick just go out on a Saturday, taking off and landing from a public place (following 107 rules/airspace) and shoot buildings in plain site and use clips of those in a promotional reel? As long as he doesn't claim "I shot this for x company"? I only ask because our Economic Development Council wanted tons of shots of construction happening all over our city to show the growth happening at that time. So that's what I did - went all over town, took off from public areas, showed construction happening and used those shots in their video about how the city is developing. In my reel no one knows if I shot that for x company or the EDC, etc. I'm also not claiming that I shot it for anyone other than the company that hired me. I also didn't ask for permission from anyone, though I didn't fly too close to any of the sites to pose any safety issues, plus none of the cranes were operational on a Saturday morning. Just curious on your thoughts, I agree with what you've said in your other posts here - thanks! 

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10 hours ago, MikeV said:

Hey Av8Chuck - quick question for you: Can we/Nick just go out on a Saturday, taking off and landing from a public place (following 107 rules/airspace) and shoot buildings in plain site and use clips of those in a promotional reel? As long as he doesn't claim "I shot this for x company"? I only ask because our Economic Development Council wanted tons of shots of construction happening all over our city to show the growth happening at that time. So that's what I did - went all over town, took off from public areas, showed construction happening and used those shots in their video about how the city is developing. In my reel no one knows if I shot that for x company or the EDC, etc. I'm also not claiming that I shot it for anyone other than the company that hired me. I also didn't ask for permission from anyone, though I didn't fly too close to any of the sites to pose any safety issues, plus none of the cranes were operational on a Saturday morning. Just curious on your thoughts, I agree with what you've said in your other posts here - thanks! 

Not Chuck, but I'll toss in my  $.02

I think you are over thinking it a little bit.  Look at it this way.  Would you be concerned if the imagery you shoot was taken from the sidewalk in front of the subject rather than from above?  If not, and you are also following all land use and airspace regulation or ordinance, then what is the question again? 😉

Now, if one of the property owners of the subject of your photography finds it and takes exception with your use, then you would have to decide how strongly you want to use the imagery.  If no one questions your use, then what is the question again? 😉

That is how I approach it, anyway. 🙂  If your project is of the scale to appear in main stream media, then you might very well get contacted.  If not, then probably not.

(My opinion only)

Edited by Dave Pitman
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