The 3 Best Websites for Stock Video to Augment Your Footage
While most of us wish we were Martin Scorsese or Steven Spielberg, the simple truth is we don’t all have the budgets, equipment or skills necessary to shoot stellar business video. How great it is then that you don’t have to?
In this blog we’ll discuss three services that offer free to paid content that you can use in your business video royalty-free to save time and money.
Full Disclosure: This blog has a link to a website that offers paid-for Royalty Free video content. Should you follow that link, know that we are an affiliate of Pond5, and if you choose to follow the link we’ll receive a small commission. However, I only recommend services that I actually use, so hopefully if you’re interested you’ll click the link so that I can deliver you more great free content on my blog!
What is Royalty Free Video?
Royalty free video is content that is licensed by an individual or company for a specific use. Most people are familiar with this because of copyright issues. Anything under copyright is reserved for a specific use or by a certain organization. Permission for use can be granted, usually for a fee. Depending on the use described the owner may also take a percentage of any profits that were made through the use of the footage.
Movies from Hollywood fall under that category. Video from movies or TV shows are generally off limits for any other use without special permission. Fair use laws sometimes apply, but as soon as someone is trying to use the video for commercial use like an ad or promotional use, copyright steps in.
Royalty Free videos, however, come with no such limitations. Once paid for or acquired from the owner with a free license, the video is safe to be used in any way without any more compensation to the original creator.
Royalty Free footage can vary from free to exorbitant in cost, depending on both the source and the quality. Though there are a lot of inexpensive options.
What is Stock Footage?
One last thing to understand before we get to the list is what stock footage is. In fact, TV shows and movies use stock footage all the time. Or did you think they actually sent a camera crew to the North Pole for that epic shot?
Stock footage is essentially video footage that has been saved to be reused in the future. For businesses, this can include all the video elements a company may need to create a stellar promotional video.
Free to paid (daily free videos)
Pond5 is an one stop shop that has really come a long way. While there is certainly footage that costs $30+, there is also a plethora of lower cost options. They give out free footage weekly, along with music, Adobe After Effects templates and photos.
What I normally do is filter the search list closer to my client’s budget.
One downside to Pond5 is that you need to download and keep the footage safe after you’ve purchased it. They only allow so many downloads of a file before it’s gone from your purchase history, and you can only download multiple files in a batch. Of course, this changes if you pay for a membership. However, these are just convenience things. You have full-rights to the footage forever. They just don’t keep it for you physically on their servers.
That being said, they have one of the best libraries outside of ShutterStock (not a favorite of ours at all) at a fraction of the price point. If you need a specific shot, angle or effect, go with Pond5.
Another benefit is that you can download a watermarked version of the file without paying for it to test it in your project. I will often do this for a client for a rough draft and then after getting their approval, buy the footage and replace it.
Annual Membership ($99- $5000 + paid for content)
This is my go-to website for stock footage. For a flat annual fee you get access to their entire member library with unlimited downloads. You also have full rights to it afterwards even without a subscription, so you can redownload videos you previously downloaded under your membership.
Downside is that their best footage is at an extra cost in their marketplace. It is rather robust and constantly updated. However, it does cost and can get expensive quickly. If you can’t find what you need in their membership section, you’ll probably find higher quality footage cheaper over at Pond5.
Free – Creative Commons
This is one the best free options out there, if not the best. While not as robust as others, they do offer a good collection of HD clips for commerical use. Watch out though because some videos require attribution to the creator under Creative Commons. Just double check that whenever you download what the license allows.
They also show links from ShutterStock alongside their own, so be careful when falling in love with a clip. It may not actually be free.