Stock Footage by James Forsher (book review).

January 4, 2019 | By | Reply More

As James Forsher points out in the introduction to this book, ‘Stock Footage’, he wished he had this book when he started out. Although it is obviously American-orientated, the areas of copyright and permission is a world-wide consideration if you need to borrow from various sources. Forsher notes 16 sources, some of which are not on film, video or DVD so this might be handy to non-fiction writers as well when you particular photographs and paying for rights.

There are some interesting reveals along the way. The first film, made in 1912, came from France was the hour long filmed ‘Queen Elizabeth’ play and was the first presented in the USA. I would think if you’re going to use home video material, you better hope you can find a machine that can play it or be grateful someone transferred it to DVD. Interestingly, in 1898, the earliest special effects footage made that convinced the audience that it was real was the sinking of the US Navy ship USS Maine. Don’t confuse things here, if stock footage is out there, you still have to pay to use it. Finding out where and how to get it is the art of this book.

Forsher points out when he was making a documentary about Gene Roddenberry that the cost of a minute of a ‘Star Trek’ episode cost more than his entire budget. Something to keep in mind when you complain that not enough is shown. This made me think that this is self-defeating. After all, word will spread not to bother and then the commodity clip is never going to make any money. That’s clearly not economic.

The legality of copyright is explored in detail. As Forsher points out, if you get that wrong you can expect some serious legal bills when you get sued. Even more so if you libel anyone. It’s a lot safer to criticise with some objectivity with good and bad points about anything is my experience. I don’t know it there’s an equivalent in the UK, but Forsher points out its worth paying for Errors & Omission Insurance to ensure all rights are covered correctly. More so as errors can happen and when you think you’ve got everything covered, you find it wasn’t covered properly.

The final chapter explores if you are the owner of stock footage. If you don’t think that ever applies to you, think of clips on YouTube and elsewhere that you’ve put on-line and how much money you’re going to miss. I can see this book going to a second printing.

I thought when I started reading this book that it would be solely for the American market but there is a lot to be learnt here, far beyond TV and film-making.

GF Willmetts

January 2019

(pub: Michael Wiese Productions. 209 page indexed small enlarged paperback. Price: $29.95 (US), £23.50 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-61593-295-5)

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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