Video Production

5 Tips For Choosing The Right Stock Video Footage

Amy Onorato 01.22.2020

Whether you’re a seasoned in video production, or just getting started in video marketing, you’ve definitely come across the vast array of stock footage websites offering new and exciting ways to spice up your business video. 

Stock footage allows creators to access and leverage additional video they may not be able to shoot themselves, saving time and money when it comes to the production process. But when used incorrectly, stock footage can turn a powerful message into something well…pretty generic. Stock footage website Dissolve Footage pretty much says it all in their hilarious mock explainer video here: 

So, when stock footage is a need, how do video producers and marketers avoid the cliche? It all comes down to choosing the right video, and working with your production partner to flex your creative muscles and turn what could be perceived as generic into something that’s authentic and true to your brand. 

Here’s how you can get started: 

1. Evaluate Your Need 

Evaluating the need for stock footage should be woven into your video planning process. Work with your video production partner to create a video storyboard at the start of the planning process. This will help your team clearly visualize the project frame by frame and identify where stock footage may help fill in gaps or add more depth to your video narrative

For Stephanie Purcell, freelance video producer, only opt for stock footage if it will enhance your project in a way that is authentic. 

“You don’t want to be adding content just for the sake of it, Purcell said. “I always choose to look at stock footage as a need-based asset. If my project requires a piece of footage I am unable to shoot myself and the piece will not work without it then I start looking at stock footage. I view it more as a last resort than a starting point.” 

2. Choose The Right Stock Footage Website 

Once you’ve identified the type of footage you may need, it’s time to start searching — something that’s often easier said than done when you consider the vast amount of resources out there. 

Large stock footage sites have a lot to offer, but vast content libraries can sometimes make it more difficult to find the right content as you weed through hundreds of results. 

With stock footage, you really want to take your time to run a variety of searches and dig deep into the results to see what’s out there,” Joey Daoud, CEO, New Territory Media, said.

Take note of how the stock footage site is organized, make sure you’re using different keyword searches, and set the right filters to hone in on the exact content you need. The first results that come up may not always be the best fit for your video, or the most original, Daoud says. 

“Footage sites usually show the best selling clips first, but obviously that means lots of people have used those clips, so sometimes I’ll flip the sort to the lowest selling clips to find some unused gems.” 

Though larger stock websites may have a wide portfolio of content, you may be better off going smaller if you’re searching for niche or localized footage, says Boone Clemmons, chief strategy officer, Bandwagon LLC. This is especially important if you’re considering creating different versions of your video to appeal to regional audiences

“Sometimes local or regional stock footage sites sell footage not available on the big sites, Clemmons said. “For example, we needed footage of crawfish being harvested in South Louisiana. We were able to find a production company that sold stock footage via their website of all kinds of South Louisiana scenes, with harvesting crawfish being one the clips they had for sale. We saved the client thousands in account management and shooting time by buying from this small firm.” 

3. Remain Consistent 

Regardless of whether you opt for a larger or smaller stock footage provider, consistency in video type, specs and quality is key — especially if you’re blending stock imagery with pre-existing footage, says Jim Costa, photographer/video producer

“If the stock footage is 4K and your existing footage is HD, you’ll want to step the stock footage resolution down to match,” Costa said. “The same is true for frame rates that don’t match. This becomes an issue when the frame rates are really off, such as original footage shot at 60 FPS and stock footage shot at 24FPS. There are ways to fix this in your editing timeline, but it can be quite complicated and requires advanced skills to make it work.” 

4. Turn Stock Video Footage Into Something Original

The beauty of stock footage is its ability to be altered or edited to fit all different types of projects. So when it comes to editing, don’t be afraid to get creative! Animation, text, colors, transitions, and other effects can help transform what was once generic stock footage into something truly unique to your brand. 

“I look at stock footage as just one component to build out the story,” Daoud said. “I’ll add a variety of effects to make it fit into my video better and not feel like a stock shot, such as color correction to match the tone of the other shots, vignettes, and animated blur.” 

Incorporating brand elements, like color, fonts, and logos, can help keep the look and feel cohesive, while adding a production touch that’s completely authentic. 

“Incorporate the main elements that describe their brand, as much as possible,” Hassan Alnassir, founder/owner of Premium Joy, said. Those brand characteristics can include the logo, font, color palette, shooting style, relevant music, and any other unique attribute that helps to connect with the target audience. For example, you may want to use clips that are dominated by your business main colors, or perhaps utilize a black-and-white video style.” 

5. Shoot Your Own Video When You Can 

Stock footage comes in many forms and styles. Although many businesses have successfully leveraged stock footage to create entire business videos, incorporating your own footage and branding is ultimately what helps you stand out from the crowd. 

“You should opt to shoot your own video whenever you can, this gives you creative freedom and ownership,” Purcell said. “You are sure to get the footage you need and will not have to make do with something close to what you want.” 

The right video production partner can help you make sense of stock footage, and transform it into something spectacular. Get in touch to learn more about IdeaRocket’s unique approach to animated and live action business video. 

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