Should I remove laptop brand logos in short film?

Inarius

Member
Hi everybody. I've shot a short film. Before shooting it, my producer assured me that I don't have to worry about logos and brands popping up in my short film. However, after shooting it and editing it, my Editor told me that he might be correct if the logo was popping up here and there. The situation is that it pops A LOT. Like 20-25 times in the film, which is 9 min length. The film is one location, so we see from this camera angle a lot. I'm talking about the "Lenovo" logo on the laptop, as on this screenshot:


Screenshot

I intend to submit this film to festivals. The question is, how important it is to remove the logo?
I know it's safer if I do, but doing it costs a lot of money, because it shows up a lot during the film.
So my question is do I NEED to remove that logo?

I'd really appreciate your help, the question really bothers me.
Thank you
 

mlesemann

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
In general, my understanding is that you don't need to given that you're not focusing on it, and aren't being derogatory about it. It's "popping up" in the normal course of doing wheat it is designed to do, and that's OK.

But yeah, next time I'd suggest covering it in advance so this isn't an issue.
 

Inarius

Member
Thank you very much, yet I'm still concerned. Can a festival decline a film because of many logos or because of the same logo seen many times? 41 times (I've just counted) in a 9 min film, that 4-5 times per minute in average
 

mlesemann

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
A festival can decline a film for any reason, or no reason at all. That's not helpful, I know, but there's no real answer to this question.

You can leave it as is, re-edit it to reduce the number of times it appears, or spend the money to cover all or some of the times. Either way, it's a crap shoot. But it all is :)
 

Scoopicman

Pro Member
indiePRO
I don't know why you are worried about this for a short. Unless you are selling to a distributor for a possible big release and TV exposure. I haven't seen your shots, but I think the festivals would consider it a fair use situation, like using a car, etc. Their main concern is the use of music/songs that haven't been cleared. If I were you, I would look at the GUIDELINES for various festivals, then make a decision.

On the other hand, I did remove a laptop logo for one of my features. It is easy to do, if the shots are static (though possible to track on moving shots). Make two layers of the same shot, slide over the position of the second video, then draw a mask over the logo on the first layer. This allows a different area of the laptop (plain surface, where the logo is not) to pass through to that first layer, covering the logo.

When it comes to features and trying to get distribution deals, I avoid logos, brands, artwork, posters, etc. like the plague.
 

Inarius

Member
A festival can decline a film for any reason, or no reason at all. That's not helpful, I know, but there's no real answer to this question.

You can leave it as is, re-edit it to reduce the number of times it appears, or spend the money to cover all or some of the times. Either way, it's a crap shoot. But it all is :)
Well, covering it in some of the times breaks the continuity, which doesn't solve the original problem, and adds a new one :D

Anyway, thank you, I guess I'll go to Fiverr to find a freelancer at a cheaper price :)
 

Inarius

Member
Not sure why you think that. I just did this in Premiere, with the CROP tool. First picture has the logo. Second picture doesn't.

Because I have it in 41 shots in the film, where in most of the shots either the laptop or the camera are moving
 

Inarius

Member
I don't know why you are worried about this for a short. Unless you are selling to a distributor for a possible big release and TV exposure. I haven't seen your shots, but I think the festivals would consider it a fair use situation, like using a car, etc. Their main concern is the use of music/songs that haven't been cleared. If I were you, I would look at the GUIDELINES for various festivals, then make a decision.

On the other hand, I did remove a laptop logo for one of my features. It is easy to do, if the shots are static (though possible to track on moving shots). Make two layers of the same shot, slide over the position of the second video, then draw a mask over the logo on the first layer. This allows a different area of the laptop (plain surface, where the logo is not) to pass through to that first layer, covering the logo.

When it comes to features and trying to get distribution deals, I avoid logos, brands, artwork, posters, etc. like the plague.
I know how to remove logos in After Effects. The thing is the camera and the laptop are moving. Need to do Camera/Motion tracking. And I have such shots 41 times. It's a lot of work
 

seanmannion

Member
To echo what several people have said: You do not NEED to remove a logo.

I've gotten into this with a few people in my personal network. To the point I can refer people to U.S. case law on using recognizable existing products in a project. You pretty much only need to remove it if you don't want it or an advertiser/potential advertiser might be a competitor (or you'd rather have paid product placement).

Festivals are unlikely to care. Even if you could potentially get in trouble for your usage (unlikely), they don't bear any liability. Some even include language about that when you submit or when you're accepted just to cover themselves.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff member
Admin
If it pops up "A LOT" as you say, and is as large as in your screenshot and larger, you may want to remove it, not for legal purposes but for aesthetics. It could become distracting, as in "Okay we get it! Lenovo"! or "Is this a Lenovo commercial???" This however would be a win-win because it would take care of it legally too.
 
An easy fix with Adobe After Effects as long as you don't have something like somebody's stringy hair partially blocking the logo.
Whatever you do, don't ask Toshiba for permission. I've found out the hard way that companies are very anal about their trademarks. And once you ask, it can be used as evidence against you, that you knew that you needed permission.
Having said all of this, probably never in a zillion years will this ever be an issue. But it's always nice to sleep better.
 

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