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Producing an Indie film

3891 Views 35 Replies Latest reply: May 21, 2012 8:42 AM by Warren Heaton RSS
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skier1260 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Dec 29, 2011 12:17 PM

My friend and I are looking into producing a ski film (a.k.a indie film) this year and we have a couple questions, we didn't really know where to post them so we figured since we use most of apples programs to edit our films we would start here. Some of the specifications about our film are that it will probably be no longer than 45 minutes, it will consist of both nordic skiing and alpine skiing, All of the footage will be shot in HD and edited in Final Cut Pro 7, we would only like to print 100 dvds, and we will sell the dvds online from our online store. Below are all of our questions.


1.) Where is a good place to get dvd's printed? we would like to print 100 dvds with custom artwork on the discs and cases along with shrink wrap over all the cases.

2.) What dvd burning program is somewhat cheap but also has plenty of templates to choose from or is idvd professional enough to create the master of your film? We do not have DVD Studio Pro but if thats what most people use when creating films on a mac then we could invest.

3.) Do you have to lincense your music in your film if so how do you go about this? We have done a bit of research on this topic but havn't found any solid post anywhere explaining exactly what you have to go through or if you even have to go through anything seeing that it will not be a film hitting the big screens.





Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • David Harbsmeier Level 7 Level 7 (29,570 points)
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    Dec 29, 2011 12:54 PM (in response to skier1260)

    1.) There are several places available for this ( comes to mind quickly), but for only 100 discs, you may want to consider printing your own with something like this:


    2.) Since FCP 7 was only available legally as part of the Final Cut Studio 3 package, you should have DVD Studio Pro as well since it was also part of that package.


    3.) For smaller productions, most people use "buy out" music.  Essentailly, you pay a one-time incensing fee and are allowed to use their music in film/video and radio productions.  Some licenses will include both sync and mechanical rights, while others may require separate licensing for each.  There are many production music libraries available online:   If you want to use a normal song, you must negotiate the rights with the copyright holder/administrator.  It really doesn't matter if your production is not going to be 'hitting the big screen,' proper licensing is still required by law.  However, that fact may influence the fee that is charged for the licensing.



  • Meg The Dog Level 6 Level 6 (9,385 points)
  • David Harbsmeier Level 7 Level 7 (29,570 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 29, 2011 5:39 PM (in response to David Harbsmeier)

    Start with the website where you found the music.  If that doesn't yield any helpful information, you may need to contact them via email.  Also, a simple Google search can often turn up a lot of information.  Keep in mind that one song may have several copyright owners; the writers, composer, performer, the publisher and the record label may all own a piece of the copyrights.  In most cases of multiple owners, usually one is designated as the administrator - that's the person or entity that you will need to deal with.


    Another alternative is to find local musicians to create the music for your production.



  • Jim Cookman Level 7 Level 7 (23,435 points)
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    Dec 30, 2011 2:40 PM (in response to skier1260)

    Get it in writing! and be sure it is an inclusive license (publisher, performers, other copyright holders.)

  • David Harbsmeier Level 7 Level 7 (29,570 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 30, 2011 2:46 PM (in response to skier1260)

    It is normal business practice to have a written agreement, and as Jim advised, it should show every detail of the provisions and the limitations of the rights (e.g.; duration of agreement, number of copies allowed, etc).


    Great info on that link, MtD!  Thanks for that.  I've filed it away for future reference.



  • Meg The Dog Level 6 Level 6 (9,385 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 30, 2011 3:15 PM (in response to David Harbsmeier)

    The most important thing I have learned when obtaining music clearances from non-music library sources is to have bottled oxygen and a nurse standing by when you open the estimate.


    It also helps to have moved all the furniture with sharp edges to a far corner of the room.




  • David Harbsmeier Level 7 Level 7 (29,570 points)
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    Dec 30, 2011 3:43 PM (in response to Meg The Dog)

    Too true, MtD ... too true!


  • Gary Scotland Level 5 Level 5 (7,605 points)
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    Dec 31, 2011 5:07 AM (in response to skier1260)

    your are going about this the wrong way, and making it complicated and expensive for yourself. The most difficult part of using music is selecting appropriate recordings. You can select and licence production music on line in a matter of a few minutes.


    In Europe over 90% of TV, film and small independant video production uses what is called Production Music.

    This is music specially recorded for audiovisual production.


    look at the web site for MCPS, Europe's largest copyright licensing trade body -  it shows the three step simple process.


    If you live or work in Europe it is very important you use MCPS and of course you can use their services wherever in the world you are.



  • Nick Holmes Level 7 Level 7 (29,805 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 4, 2012 3:34 PM (in response to skier1260)

    Go to the site. It explains exactly what you have to do in plain English.

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