High quality stock footage routinely transforms video productions. It expands filmmakers’ horizons and can make a film look like it was produced with a much bigger budget.
After all, why go to the expense of shooting Bahamian palm trees when you can download a perfectly suitable clip for a few tens of dollars?
So you can certainly save money by choosing stock footage. But have you ever thought of making money with stock footage?
(Adobe stock video. Search terms: Bahamas, Palm Trees, Beach)
It’s definitely worth considering. Filmmakers with every type of background are out there, earning extra income from stock footage. But how do you do it? Where do you start?
The answer is, most likely, not by throwing yourself at it full time. There are ways to integrate stock footage creation with your existing day-to-day working life.
It all starts with noticing what’s around you. Remember that stock footage is not all about palm trees, exotic temples and aerial views of New York.
Instead, stock footage is about almost every possible situation, from the “only seen once in a lifetime” to something - anything - that might seem mundane to you, but exactly right for a stock footage purchaser. Remember that if your corporate video client makes ironing boards, then there’s a very high chance that you’ll want stock footage of someone ironing.
So, if you’ve got a really good scene set up with great lighting and talent, then why not shoot some extra to sell as stock footage?
In fact, it’s worth thinking for a moment about the question “what is stock footage” - but from a creator’s point of view.
Remember that at some point - sometimes frequently; sometimes not - someone will search for virtually every subject. And that means that virtually every shooting gig you accept will be a stock footage opportunity. All you have to do is ensure that your footage stands out.
In order to do this, you have to put yourself in the position of the person searching for the footage.
Let’s say that you’re shooting some on a farm. Maybe some product shots that call for a rustic setting. How can you take advantage of this?
Yes, there’s the golden-hour shot of the sun shining through the wheat. But what else is around you? Old tractors and farm equipment? This can look awesome in the right light. Try several variations. Maybe deep depth of field so that everything looks sharp. And the same again with an ultra shallow focus, so that maybe only the tractor’s steering wheel is sharp? Or perhaps a silhouette against the setting sun.
(Adobe Stock Video. Search terms: Sunset, farm, wheat)
And then, what about the buildings? Is there an old barn? How about a close up a barn door for use as a texture?
Almost everywhere you look there’s an opportunity.
As always, your images need to look good. Lighting is everything. If possible, create moods in your images and always have a clear, unambiguous description in mind so that anyone looking for your footage will find it. Remember that your clips should be at least five seconds and a maximum of sixty seconds.
They’re more likely to find it if it is something that they’re searching for. It’s a good idea to reverse-engineer from this situation and create “magnetic content” Do some research and try to figure out what people are looking for. What are the trends? What are the hot topics? You can even try to look ahead. What might be in demand in a few weeks, or months, or even years? If you get there first with the right footage, users will find you and download your clips.
Not everyone’s a starving filmmaker. Even seasoned professionals can earn extra money on the side with stock footage, doing something that you love doing.
All it takes is awareness, which, expressed in practical terms, means always being on the look-out for images that can make you money.
We’ll return to this in future articles where we’ll also be looking at how to make more effective videos using Adobe Stock footage. Meanwhile, click here to learn how you can contribute videos to Adobe Stock. And don’t forget to check out Adobe Motion Graphics templates here.