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.