Can use. Cannot use. These are the questions.
Your documentary might not need any archival material. (Photos or film which is from an outside source.) But maybe it might. So where do you go to find images and footage? How can you be sure that what you use is not going to get you into trouble?
Carry on reading
Today, as hybrid and mixed media documentaries are more popular, so is the use for archival footage and photos. This is like opening Pandora's box - once you open the possibilities, there is no turning back. You are hooked!
Luc Bourdon created La Mémoire des Anges - The memory of Angels - entirely from off-cuts from the ONF. Amy, Stories we tell, and On the Way to the Sea are some documentaries that cross over to using Mixed Media. These films use their own archives, their own photos, and in the case of Luc Bourdon, he had the right to use footage from the ONF - Office National du Film - Quebec.
But what happens when you need images or footage and you simply do not have any?
You need to go and find them.
You go to Public Domain
Please read the section above on Public Domain so that you understand the ways you can access free material. Remember, each country will have different rules which apply.
Using the Public Domain, Common Creatives, and Commons Wikimedia means that the copyright for the images or film footage has expired and you have the right to use the media freely, or under certain conditions.
It frees you up from expensive costs, as buying footage can run into hundreds of pounds. It also gives you a huge scope, as long as you love experimenting, doing the research and have patience.
There are all sorts of odd loopholes connected with Public Domain, so you need to read as much as you can to be educated in rights. For example, Betty Boop is in the Public Domain. But not all Betty Boop is.
When I made The Sea Hut in 2018, it took me one year to track down what I needed.
For the audio I used:
18 online sources for inspiration and creation
Thank you so much for passing by.
Have a great week.
Please share if you enjoy.
Filmmaker, teacher, traveller and storyteller
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