Stock Footage for video production

Let’s talk Stock Footage

Stock footage is a great filmmaking resource. Find out how to use it in your video.

What is Stock Footage?

Stock footage is video content which has been filmed, edited, and then uploaded online for anyone to use. This footage could be of anything. It could be drone footage, aerial shots, people in offices, natural landscapes, city buildings, a dog running through the park, anything. This content is stored and shared on sites like ShutterStock and StoryBlocks. Most of these content sharing sites require users to have a subscription. Then editors will have complete access to the library of footage. It is possible to make a video entirely from this content, or just use a few clips to use alongside your original media.

Movie slate

When to use…

Often people will use stock footage to fill any gaps in their video. For example, imagine you have shot an interview with a business person. You recorded footage of them working, interacting with staff, and in a team meeting. During the interview the person talks about their office and where it is located. This information is important to the story but you don’t have any footage of the outside of the building. Instead of organising a r-shoot, you could search for pre-existing content of the area. Avoiding a re-shoot saves time and money. Stock footage is ideal for establishing and explaining an idea or location of a video.

Man filming

Where to look for content 

There are many online sites that share content. They work in a similar way to how you would find music for a video. Content creators will sell their footage to the company who will then house it on the site. Editors can then search for specific videos to suit their project.

Sound studio

How to use footage

The most important thing to remember when it comes to using video content which was shot by someone else, is to make it look seamless. You don’t want it to be obvious when you cut from one shot to another. So when you’re looking for content consider these things:

  • Resolution and camera quality
  • Frame rate
  • File type
  • Colour temperature and grading

Editing software

Top Tips for content 

Wherever possible, look for a series of clips rather than stand alone clips. If you are able to find three or more shots of the same event, action, or place, use them to create a mini sequence. This will make the content look more natural rather than having a number of clips one after the other that don’t have any connection.

Camera man

Next Steps

Stock footage is a great filmmaking resource, and can help bring together your next video. Kepp reading for tips on Green Screen.