Video Stock Footage. Can It Be The Main Footage?

City Bus Driving At Night

Video stock footage might be used occasionally in a final edited piece, if at all. But sometimes stock footage is the main footage. Sometimes the stock footage dictates the action as opposed to the other way around. Sometimes rather than inserting the stock footage to look like it is part of the original production, producers do the opposite. They write the script and shoot their shots to go with stock footage scene they want to use. Interesting right?

Suppose a producer locates a piece of stock footage online, say at Suppose that footage is of someone getting off the bus at night. It’s just a random person getting off a random bus. But what is that person’s story. No one knows. This is where the producer’s imagination is allowed to frolic.

Maybe the person getting off the bus just got off work and is now trudging home to an unhappy situation. Maybe he doesn’t know whether or not his girlfriend will be there when he walks in the door of his apartment. Maybe the couple had a fight the night before that involved dishes being thrown. Even though the man doesn’t know what to expect he still he gets off the bus and trudges home. That’s one possible storyline.

Or another possible storyline is maybe the person getting off the bus committed a murder just moments earlier at a liquor store about a mile down the bus route and jumped on the Metro as a his de facto getaway car. Maybe he robbed and shot the clerk and three customers who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe he had a hundred dollar a day heroin habit and felt like the heroin itch that he had absolutely needed to be scratched. Maybe he hadn’t planned on killing anyone, just brought his gun to make everyone more cooperative, but one of the customers had a concealed carry license and decided this was his day to be a hero.

Obviously, the possible storylines of a man getting off a bus is endless. It’s not that hard to develop an entire movie from a single random scene. In fact, many have done just that.

Stock Footage Quality. How Do You Get It?

stock footage quality

Occasionally I am asked, “How in the heck do you do it?

My response is always the same. “Volume,” I answer, smiling a serious smile.

“No,” they say. “I’m talking about stock footage quality, not pricing.”

“Right. That’s what I’m sayin’ … quality.”

Typically there is a long pause from the questioner and then he or she slowly breathes out the word “Okay.”

But that’s how it is in video, right? That’s for sure how we do it at You have to shoot incessantly to get quality. You shoot and shoot and shoot and shoot and then you take a look at it later and conclude that yes, there is some good stuff but you really should have shot more.

But sometimes you can’t. Sometimes you are limited as to what you can shoot. Sometimes some of what you want to record is only available for a fixed period of time. Other times certain people interfere with your laser-focused need to shoot. Like the cops.

“You’re gonna have to move it, Lady,” a police officer has been known to say when a shootout spontaneously breaks out during an ordinary women’s softball game. Since he’s shooting with a gun and I’m shooting with a camera, I move it.

Alternatively, things that may or may not be within your control might come between you and your videoing. Like maybe you forgot to bring an extra SD card or maybe your one and only half-charged battery goes dead. Bad stuff can happen to good people. That’s what they say.

But let’s not dwell on the past.

Here are some professional tips:

  1. Use the best camera you can afford. 4K and even 8k cameras are the resolution du jour now so start there. Get a good lens too.

  2. Use a fluid head tripod. That satisfies both the steady and the smooth requirement.

  3. Plan your shoot.

    A. Look for shots that are

    1. Pretty

    a. flowers

    b. butterflies

    c. sunsets/sunrises

    d. nature

    2. Action shots

    a. riots

    b. fires

    c. implosions

    d. fights between neighbors

    3. Historical

    a. rocket blastoffs

    b. volcano eruptions

    c. olympics

    d. zombie apocalypses

    4. Establishing

    a. city skylines

    b. iconic landmarks

    c. location signs

    d. crazy politicians

And, when in doubt, kittens shots are always great.

So there you have it. Certainly there’s a bunch of other stuff that I could tell you but it’s probably way too technical for someone trying to learn anything from a blog.

Remember a person with a nice camera in their hands is a cool looking person.

Feel free to email me any and all questions.

Stock Footage? What Is It?

stock footage time lapse snowfall

When I tell people I know or even people I don’t know that I have a video stock footage website, their first reaction is almost always the same.

“What’s stock footage?” they ask, bored in advance.

“Well, you see it on movies and TV shows all the time,” I reply, trying to fire up the intensity gap through the sheer force of my bubbly personality. My voice gets louder and my sparkly smile gets sparklier.

“Huh?” they mumble, their initial faint interest fading fast.

“Like weather,” I say, continuing my explanation, even as my listener’s eyes and mouth begin to droop and goo up. I tell them that TV shows, movies, independent videos, and even blogs often use stock footage when a shot is needed to realify (not a real word) the scene. For example, if the script calls for snowy weather the producers cannot very well conjure up a snow storm and then run out and shoot that snow storm right? No. In fact, it might be impossible. They might be editing their piece at a location where it never snows or in a place that does snow but the word August stares them in the face from their desk calendar so it’s a snow no-go … or a snow-go as we say in the biz.

But I Persist

What is typically done instead, I tell them, is to purchase or download free a snowy stock footage clip from a stock footage website. Like say, It saves time, it saves money, and it is great quality. In those type of situations it is almost always easier and more cost effective to go with the stock footage.

It is usually at this point, while caught up in what seems to me a scintillating description of the purpose of my website, that I hear a little snoring. And then, almost simultaneously, I see my listener catch him or herself from crashing to the ground at the sudden realization that they have fallen asleep standing up.

Yup, that’s how it usually goes with my stock footage conversations. I guess it’s a little technical for the non-video person. I understand. People used to react similarly back in the day when I told them I was an accountant. That subject is sometimes considered dry as well. But seriously, if they only knew … like when you’re actually making the actual journal entry to accrue three months of prepaid insurance for the first time … OMG! You can not beat that for fun!

Welcome To Future and Former Users

Originally launched in 1991, began as an economical alternative to the pay-per-second large stock houses that dominated the scene at that time. Utilizing changes in technology, was able to provide quality stock footage and b-roll footage to budget-minded video producers all over the world at a fraction of the cost. It became the go-to site for students, independent producers, and feature filmmakers.

Following a brief hiatus, is now back bigger, stronger and more defined. Even as we rebuild our quantity of clips, you will see that the newest version of this site has a variety of quality resolutions to pick from: HD, SD, and web. 4K is coming soon!

NOTE: All of the web resolution clips are available for FREE download with no watermark.

Once again, welcome! And just so you know, clips and more clips will be added to this site on a regular and continuous basis. If you have any suggestions, do not hesitate to contact us.  We look forward to the privilege of getting to know you (or re-know you) and are happy that you have dropped by to take a look.