Getting Started in Stock Footage :
This is not an exhaustive list, but will hopefully give you a good start into joining any Stock Footage company.
What is stock footage ?
Stock can be used in a variety of situations and for various reasons. A company that cannot afford to send a team at the other side of the world to shoot. A Youtuber that needs photos or videos to illustrate his narrative. News agencies that are working on a particular theme.
Let’s just take an example. You are a filmmaker working for an NGO after a natural disaster. You need to fly to X to document the results of an earthquake to raise awareness and increase donation. You can sadly only show devastation but will need footages of the same place before the event for people to understand the importance of donation.
Since you cannot go back in time, the most likely option is for you to go on a stock plateform and “shop” for the exact video you need.
What do you need :
Let’s be honest the better your gears, the best it is. But if you don’t have creativity and technique to post quality, someone with a phone will do more sales than your fancy RED.
So far I had bigger income from licencing a Gopro footage than the rest of my videos. This is only because I knew what I was targeting and the market for it. For your video to be seen among thousands you need your SEO to good but that is a different topic.
As you can see in my equipment breakdown I use my Sony A7III and DJI Mavic for most of what I shoot. To edit all of that I go back to my Lenovo T570 :
|Processor||Core i7-7500U (2C, 2.7 / 3.5GHz, 4MB)|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce 940MX 2GB|
|Storage||512GB SSD M.2 PCIe NVMe Opal2|
I only added 2 X 16GB DDR4 RAM from Silicon Power to boost my export, it did reduced my rendering time. Retouching image, multi-tasking while doing metadata, you name it.
What to shoot :
Quality over quantity ! Quality sells !
- It is better to have one shot with proper lightning and settings than 10 similar one with poor conditions, grading, stabilization, etc.
- You also need to ask yourself: “Who will possibly buy this footage ? Why ? Would I buy it myself ?” If you answer no to the latest, there is probably no time to waste on editing it.
For example I have some great macro botanical shots, there is a little less possible use of those clip than a cat, but I am not in a rush and it might sell next year, who knows!
- Think also that your clip SEO takes a month to reach its full potential. If you have a great idea for a Xmas theme, do not wait December to shoot it and add to your library.
- Find your niche. You can have the cutest dog in the world but there is already 12325 pages of a dog playing with a ball. What nobody might have is a dog wearing shades on a boat, playing with a ball (please send me the link of it, if done).
Where to sell :
There is various options out there. Different company like Pond5, Adobe Stock, Vimeo, Artgrid, Istock, VideoHive etc ….
I personnaly use BlackBox, for an easy reason, It is a time saver. I upload my clips to BB and once my metadata is done, they take care of sending it to the 4 major agency (Shutterstock, Pond5, AdobeStock, Vimeo Stock). That way I can focus on my shooting and editing.
It is also a great way to start if you do have quality footage but are not sure yet on how the metadata works. Metadata are the keywords and description and other infos of your clip. It is as important as the clip itself as it will allow your assets to have a better visibility. You can have the best sunset timelapse but if your keywords are not relevant, you will still be on page 12554 and the possible buyer will never even see it.
To make it even more simple you can assigned directly :
- sharers if you worked on a project with fellow creator.
- curators to edit your files, color grade or just add metadata.
- models for them to receive a % of the sales straight away. This can be different way to create and the model to be sure you are sharing income if some are made.
Your sales are paid once a month on the 20th as follow :
- Agency sale – Agency commission = Net sale to BB
- Net sale – BB 15% commission = Ammount that goes to you
So get your cards ready and go shoot