Gone are the days of shooting your own footage for a film or commercial. No, these days, everyone's using stock footage, because it's cheaper, higher quality and instantly accessible.
In this guide we'll be looking at the best stock video footage websites to suit every budget. From recurring memberships, to one time purchases, from HD to 8K video, there's something for all.
Over the last few weeks, we've been working on a new TV commercial, so we took the opportunity to compare stock footage sites, and below is our top 5 picks.
We've gone into great detail, looking at quality, pricing and other special features. If you've got any suggestions please leave a comment below.
Videohive.net is an online stock library where people can buy and sell royalty free video footage, motion picture graphics and video after effects.
Videohive is part of Envato Market, the world’s leading marketplace and community for creative projects.
Users can search for an item specifically using the sites search function or can browse through the most popular files or authors, as well as a list of featured items or the newest items added to the site.
Categories of products include items such as infographics, product promos, titles, backgrounds, transition effects as well as various stock footage categories such as buildings, lifestyle or holidays.
Items are priced on the complexity, quality and use of the file, and all prices include a buyer fee. For example, a graphics pack with a regular license costs $59.
All items are listed in US dollars and do not include any applicable tax. Each product listed contains an item rating, the number of sales, comments and reviews from other users as well as information about the creator of the product.
There is also an option to subscribe to Envato Marketplace where you can access all the products available on the marketplace from $16.50 per month.
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Pond5 is the world’s largest royalty free stock video and music library. The New York based company has around 10.5 million video clips available to license in its library, and adds over 20,000 new clips daily.
As well as video and music, Pond5 also offers photography, sound effects, after effects, motion graphics, images and 3-d models.
Pond5 does not own any of the content on the site itself, instead it hosts and sells the content created by thousands of individual contributors.
It is these contributors who determine the price of the various items in the library, and they receive 50% of the revenue with the other 50% going to Pond5.
The prices of items vary depending on the category and the quality or the size of the item. For example, a stock image of the New York skyline costs AUD$145 for a large version and UD$80 for the small.
A 9 second drone zoom in of New York is priced at $79 for HD and $199 for a 4K version.
There are several ways to purchase items.
You can pay as you go, pre purchase credit packs or become a member which costs $365 month to month or $1810 for a year.
Videoblocks is a subscription-based website providing royalty free, high-quality stock video, audio and images, as well as motion backgrounds, special effects, sound effects and editing templates.
Currently they have over 800,000 video clips, 100,000 audio clips and almost 500,000 images available to download. Videoblocks is used by some of the world’s top broadcasters, producers and creative companies and as well as content creators, freelance creatives and hobbyists.
Videobloacks currently offers two types of subscription plans- for individuals and for businesses, which can then either be payed for month to month or purchased for a year, with yearly subscriptions 50% cheaper.
There are three tiers of subscription available for individuals. The basic video subscription costs A$29 per month or A$13 if purchased for a year, which allows for 5 downloads of HD footage per month.
The Unlimited video subscription is A$59 per month or A$29 a month if purchased annually for unlimited downloads of HD and 4K video footage and after effects.
The Unlimited All Access subscription allows for unlimited downloads of all video, audio, image, and effects content.
The Unlimited All Access subscription is A$49 a month when purchased for a year, or $99 if bought month to month.
The business subscription is aimed at creative teams within businesses and corporations and vary in price depending on the needs of each business, but includes unlimited downloads with flat rate pricing.
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4. Shutterstock Video
Shutterstock Video is the stock video site of the New York based stock photography giant Shutterstock.
It has a library of over 10 million royalty free video footage available in HD, 4K and SD, from thousands of contributors from around the world.
The library is continually expanding with 90,000 videos added weekly.
As well as video, the company also offers Shutterstock Elements, a marketplace for video effects and Shutterstock Select, which are cinema quality clips shot by professionals in 8K available for one off purchase.
Shutterstock video offers several options for purchasing footage. You can pay as you go, purchasing each item as you need it.
Prices are fixed and cost A$249 for 4k clips, A$109 for HD and A$89 for SD. Another option is to purchase clip packs, which lowers the cost of individual clips.
For example, you can purchase a 5 4K clip pack for A$899, saving A$346 compared to buying the clips individually.
The third option is to purchase a monthly subscription, of which two are available. The first allows you to download 10 clips per month and is priced at A$2299 per year.
The second allows for 20 downloads per month and is A$2899 per year, lowering the cost to A$12.08 per 4K Clip.
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5. Film Supply
Filmsupply.com is the worlds leading platform for licensing premium, cinema quality stock footage.
Film supply is used by some of the biggest brands in the world and unlike other stock footage platforms, only uses footage shot by professional filmmakers.
Filmsupply only offers per clip pricing, with various prices depending on the required license. The lowest price is for an internal use license which start at A$79 per clip.
Internal use clips can be used only for internal meetings, shareholder meetings and training. The next licence is an industrial licence which start at A$159 per clip.
This licence covers uses such as events, sales meetings, tradeshow displays and in store promos. Another licence type available is a web/digital license which starts at A$159 per clip and the footage can be used for websites, social media and web ads.
The fourth licensing option filmsupply offer is an extended use licence.
This licenses the footage to be used in tv, film, VOD, theatrical and video games among other places. This licence is available on request only.
The prices are a starting guide only, as factors such as the quality of the clip, the type of end client and the intended audience can affect the overall price of the footage.
What is Stock Footage?
Stock footage of stock video footage is a piece of content in the form of a clip or shot, that is usually less than 60 seconds long, that is inserted into a larger or longer video production.
These clips or shots could be taken from the larger production or are specific shots that someone else might be looking for.
Often people with high powered video cameras will create shots with the purpose of selling them to others using platforms such as those we reviewed above.
Stock footage can then be bought, licensed and used by someone else, who found the footage on a platform. The website takes a cut and then gives the creator the rest.
Footage can then make an appearance in a whole range of content such as TV, Film, Commercials, Advertisements and social media content.
How Much Does Stock Footage Cost?
Stock video was always expensive but in recent years the price has come down dramatically. You can usually expect to pay around $50-$100 for a short clip on premium platforms.
Higher grade content may cost more, others may cost less. However, the real affordable options are monthly subscription sites that allow unlimited, or a large number of downloads per month for a specific price, such as $33 for Video Hive or $200 for Videoblocks.
I always query who pays these high fees for stock footage of a 10 second clip, but to recreate that clip yourself might require professional cameras, camera crew, lights and special effects, which would cost you a lot more than that $79 fee.
Stock Video Footage Licensing
There's various licensing out there including:
Be sure to checkout the licenses for the content you're buying to ensure you're not breaching any rights that could cost you more in legal costs. Some platforms such as Pond5 actually come with Indemnification cover from $15,000 to $1,000,000 for some of their content.