Video Release Form: Why Your Business Needs One

When you make videos with real people, they need to sign a video release form to give consent to use their likeness in your content.

September 7, 2023

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Austin Canary

Content

Are you creating business videos that feature people, be it employees, actors, customers, or anyone else? If you are, we’ve got a quick tip: Be sure to get them to sign a video release form before you get things rolling.

Video release forms not only help you avoid legal issues in the future but also protect your business interests, especially in the age of generative artificial intelligence (AI).

You might be asking, “What is a video release form and do I really need to worry about that?” If so, you came to the right place because we’ll answer these questions for you.

At Wistia, we make a lot of videos and we know a thing or two about having non-actors on camera — and how important it is to have them sign video release forms. Read on to find out what a video release form is and how to create one for your business video projects.

What is a video release form?

A video release form, also called a talent release form or consent and release form, is a legal document used by businesses to get permission from the individuals being featured in their videos to use their likeness and voice for marketing purposes.

Why do I need a release form for my videos?

A video release form paves the way for a smooth and legally compliant video production process by ensuring that everyone involved is on the same page when it comes to recording, marketing, and promoting the content.

By having your talent sign this form, you gain their written consent to use footage featuring them. This helps prevent any potential disputes or lawsuits if they later change their mind.

The form also gives your talent a clear understanding of how their voice and likeness will be used, which in turns protects their identity and reputation.

Without this consent form, you could face legal hurdles that might prevent you from using the footage featuring these individuals.

Anyone appearing in your videos, whether they’re hired talent like actors and extras, employees, customers, or even podcast speakers, should sign a consent form. This way, you’ve got everyone covered and they’re all okay with being in your project.

Tip
Actors are used to signing talent release forms, but non-actors like your customers and employees might need more convincing. Take some time to address any concerns they may have about how you’ll use their image and voice.

When should I get a release form signed?

Ideally, you should ask every participant to sign the form before the camera starts rolling. Bundle it up with other paperwork like contracts and non-disclosure agreements they’d typically sign during pre-production.

Tip
If you’re a company that makes videos with your employees, include an optional video consent form in their contract or onboarding documentation so that you can know who to reach out to when making videos in the future.

How to create a video release form

We’re not lawyers; we’re video marketers, after all! So it’s a wise move to work with your legal counsel to create a video consent and release form that suits your business needs. We’ve provided the elements above to help you draft one. Feel free to tailor it to the unique needs and scope of your project!

If you can’t lean on internal legal resources, you can still find some solid video release form templates online from legal service providers.

Austin Canary

Content

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