What is a video production contract?
A video production contract is an agreement between the video producer and the client or company. It’s a legal document and one that’s going to protect the rights and interests of all parties involved.
Note: Sign up to Bonsai and get started on creating your own video production contract template today.
Why do you need a video production contract?
There’s more to video production than being an artist. Sometimes, you need to wear your business hat and come to a contractual agreement about the role and responsibilities. Remember, between scripting, storyboarding, filming, and editing, you’ll be working closely with your client to deliver their vision and it’s important to have a clear view of what that exactly is.
And that’s why you and your production company need a solid video production contract template. By making sure that both parties are on the same page when it comes to the goals, objectives, and expectations of a shoot, you can guide a successful working relationship from day one. You can also get ahead on this by creating and sending a video production proposal to your client.
Ultimately, a video production contract template is going to protect your rights as an independent contractor and your production company, as well as the rights of your client. Payment details, the video production project, your videography services, intellectual property ownership, personal delivery, and more will be outlined and detailed throughout this entire agreement.
What should be included in a video production contract template
Before you get into the specifics, you first need to clarify who the contract is between and the nature of the relationship. A professional and legally binding video production contract template will also give your clients confidence that they’re dealing with an industry expert.
Scope of work
Next, you need to outline the scope of the production project in as much detail as possible. If you’ve discussed and agreed upon something as part of the project (either verbally, via email or certified mail), make sure it’s in the contract. A video creative brief is a good idea to use at this point to get as much detail on paper as possible.
And don’t be vague. Use numbers and dates when talking about timeframes and deadlines. For example, if you’re writing the script in addition to filming the material, clearly mention how many revisions you’ll do — otherwise, the scope could be open to interpretation which may lead to conflict.
Requirements & responsibilities
The basis for every good video production contract template is outlining everything involved with the video production project. You should also clearly name who’s responsible for what, and when you’ll need things.
For instance, if you’re shooting an ad for a local company, you might need supervised access to their property outside of business hours or a high-res copy of their logo for an overlay.
You may even find that your client wants the services of a video editor or videographer, more than a producer. At this stage, you can confirm if they need all your services or you can even change to a video editing contract.
Next, you’ll want to outline the key milestones, dates, and deadlines associated with the video project. Be clear about when something is due, such as the production fee or if you need special access to something.
If your client is late in sending you a logo or if they fail to grant you access to something by a certain time, this could alter your timelines and impact your ability to hit your deadline.
And if you fail to highlight this in your production contract, you could be held to that original deadline without any room to manoeuvre.
Deliverables and deadlines
Here, you’ll want to be more specific around the tasks you’ll be doing and when they’ll be completed by.
How long will the writing take, when should the editing be finished, or if you’re renting a space for shooting, what dates do you need to be there? These are all questions you’ll want to cover in as much detail as possible.
The best freelance video producers won’t lift a finger without having a contract in place. Why? Because before you film a single reel of footage, you need to agree on how much, as well as how and when you’ll be paid.
The amount you quote and the method of payment you accept is entirely up to you, but you may wish to put reasonable efforts into structuring a payment schedule. Having your own videography invoice is a good idea to ensure requirements are met every time.
It's good to note that asking for a deposit upfront is acceptable for videographers and video producers. This will safeguard your cash flow, your business and your other provisions.
Ownership of materials and watermarks
Your contract should state that anything you send to the client to review during the project will contain your watermark. You should also highlight that they won’t receive a watermark-less version until you’ve received payment in full. This will protect your intellectual property, clarify what the client owns, and stop them from running off with the finished film without paying you what you’re owed.
Even the very best video producers can overbook themselves. A cancellation clause is always a good idea to include for this reason, which will detail who’s responsible for finding a replacement video producer and if there’s any refunds or fees to be paid. This can also protect videographers and video producers from unreliable clients.
Termination of contract
It's important that both you and the client agree to the termination of the contract. This can be on a specific date or once the final payment is made.
Remember to include any reasons why the contract can end early too, such as a written notice period or due to any broken agreements.
Other factors or clauses to include will be based on the project or the client you work with. Only you will be able to know this, but some other factors to think about are:
- Force majeure
- Intellectual property ownership
- Requesting return receipts
- Liability around weather conditions
Our video production template sample
Below you can find a sample of our very own video production contract template. This is how your contract should look and what a Bonsai contract will contain.
What's the benefit of using Bonsai, instead of editing a template yourself?
There are a few key benefits:
- Your contract will be legally approved — all our contracts are vetted by lawyers
- It's faster. We guide you through the process, editing parts of the contract that are relevant to you
- Bonsai contracts require an electronic signature, which can be e-signed as soon as they're finished
- It saves you money. No need to hire a professional to audit your contracts. Bonsai has your back
How to create a video production contract with Bonsai
Step One - Choose Your Template
Select our video production contract template or start with a blank template. Add your client name, project name, preferred currency, and then click “CREATE CONTRACT”.
Step Two - Add Your Basic Info
Next, fill in your basic information. This includes your location (country and state/province), your legal entity (if you operate via an LLC), your production company name, and your client’s legal name (company or person). Then click “CONTINUE”.
Step Three - Add Your Scope of Work
Describe the scope of work in as much detail as possible. You can also attach a separate statement of work file here if you wish. Click “CONTINUE”.
Step Four - Add Your Payment Info
Determine how and how much your client will pay you for your video production services here. You can choose from a flat fee, milestone payments, or hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly rates.
You can also outline payment terms (net 15 days for invoices, for example), late payment fees, and contract start and end dates here. Click “CONTINUE” and then “CREATE CONTRACT”.
Step Five - Review & Sign Your Final Contract
You’re ready to review your fully fleshed-out and vetted freelance video production contract. If you want to make any edits to the template, you can do so at this stage.
Sounds good? If you’re happy with the finished contract, you can click “SIGN CONTRACT” to e-sign it and make it legally binding before sending it to your client to do likewise.
Now you can return to your personalized Freelance Dashboard to track when the contract has been delivered, opened, and signed.
Video production contract FAQs
What is the difference between videography and video production?
A videographer is almost always the person doing the actual shooting, while a video producer will be more involved in the planning, production schedule, production fee, art direction, post-production, and client delivery. That doesn’t mean a video producer can’t be the one filming too, it’s just they’re more involved in pre and post-production.
How much should I charge for video production?
For freelance video producers in the U.S, the going rate is between $25 - $100 per hour. This is for your rate only, and not the total production fee.
Of course, this all depends entirely on what state or county you’re in, what the video production project is, how long it will take, the equipment needed, your experience or specialisms, and the client too.