It’s becoming common that our clients provide some or even all of the content in a film- this could be photographs, video, music, text and even testimonials. The term used here is ‘User Generated Content’, or UGC.
Recently a client supplied UGC for a health and safety video. The only way we could explain detail was with photographs the client had in their archive. They also typed up the spoken words they needed in the film, so we took this and edited it to flow easier as a script.
The advantages of UGC are saving money and time, we don’t need to spend hours filming or doing photography. It could be something that’s already happened- such as looking back in time at an event that can only be done with UGC.
But disadvantages. Firstly image quality. Low resolution photos on a large screen can become pixelated. And the ‘aspect ratio’ is a common problem where photos taken on a smart phone are in portrait size so we have to either alter the image or zoom in so it fills the screen.
And the biggest risk is copyright. When we film or photograph something the client owns the copyright. If it’s unknown where an image or a music track comes from, the risk is the film needs to be re-edited at a later date to remove the item, but if a photo turns out to belong to someone like Getty Images, you could end up with a demand letter for around £600 per image.
Tips for your UGC: Some clients are individuals, others are large organisations, but this advice applies to everyone.
Firstly, when taking photographs or video have in mind that what you are capturing could be very valuable in the future. If you are poised to take a photo but not sure, just go with your instincts. Check with those you are photographing they don’t mind and go for it.
When taking photos take some portrait angled photos (where your phone is upright) and some landscape (the camera on it’s side). That way you have images or video for Twitter / Facebook (landscape) and Instagram / TikTopk (portrait).
When shooting video again try and get some portrait and some landscape video clips. Record the clips seperatley don’t just turn your phone mid way through filming as it’s harder to use the entire clip.
Also, when filming certain situations check the people are happy being filmed, then press record, and ask them a second time once filming they are happy being filmed. You now have their consent recorded in case anyone suggests you didn’t give them the courtesy of choice.
Then get into the habit of keeping your photos, videos and whatever else you harvest as potential UGC in folders and backed up (one folder ideally cloud based so it can be accessed online). Name the items correctly, imagine what search words you or a colleague would use to find the clips. So ‘Christmas Party 2023’ not ‘Xmas23’.