How stock footage can save filmmakers

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A stock footage library is a marketplace for digital media experts, filmmakers, advertisers just like a shopping mall for fashion lovers. Finding the relevant content we need is sometimes easier than finding clothes that fit us. Thanks to the extensive stock libraries we don’t even need to leave our computers anymore. As contributors bring the world closer and capture a wide array of experiences we can browse through their millions of videos and photos taken across the globe and with a click of a mouse we can purchase, download and include that in our project right away. Before that we needed to location scout, travel there, hire models, actors etc. That often long and costly process is not necessary anymore given we find the content we need.

Even if we have the most perfect vision, organising skills and talent we still can find ourselves in a situation that we miss a shot that is needed for our material to connect the dots or just to raise the production value of our final creation.

In the past I found myself in situations many times when I just needed to add an extra establishing shot or a scene for an intercut to be able to get my message across in my project. Stock footage saved me and became my friend soon enough.

I have started taking video stock footages not long ago on my travels mainly for my own projects then became a contributor on Videoblocks and Pond5. 

I find these two websites user friendly to use, they have extensive libraries with loads of content to offer to the many clients who go onto these sites with the hope to find exactly what they’re looking for. I shoot in 4k which makes it a lengthy process to upload (ftp upload is possible) but I like to offer quality and the stock websites auromatically downsample them anyway to HD to be able to offer two sizes.

Ah and the money question, yes you can make a few hundred dollars here and there if you offer quality and material that is on demand. It can quickly multiply as you can sell the same content unlimited times. It sounds like a dream job to travel to locations and just film. It is indeed very enjoyable if you like to wave a camera around but not that easy though. It takes investment both financially to travel and time wise where you need to spend long hours on editing, uploading and tagging. So you have to weight it up whether it is worth it. With persistence and good content you can make some money. Professionals who create stock footage for a living feature around 10 thousand videos in their portfolio library.

You can check out my portfolios here. 

Videoblocks: https://www.videoblocks.com/portfolio/Horus

Pond5: https://www.pond5.com/artist/horus

Naomi Karpati

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