What are the magic ingredients that make the perfect shot?
Talented filmmakers can make money out of stock footage. Here are a few pointers to help you get the best shots for the stock marketplace.
Identify people’s needs
Creating the perfect stock footage isn’t just about getting the prettiest shots. It is also about shooting footage that customers will find useful. See if you can identify current trends and demands. These could be current topical issues, such as weather or climate. For example, in the summer, customers might be after lifestyle and holiday footage, while in winter they might want shots related to Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Discovering niche subjects that others have not covered extensively is also a way to guarantee that your footage stands out, especially if you can make a series of shots that can lead to you being recognised as the person to go to for a particular type of footage.
Finding shots that suit particular needs, such as summer lifestyle themes, is important - Opolja / Adobe Stock
Be picky about your light
When thinking about lighting for a shot, it is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that everything has to look beautiful. The perfect sunset, or glorious shafts of light falling through the mist on a very early Spring morning.
In reality, having the perfect shot means that the lighting meets the needs for what you are trying to shoot. And that could mean everything from storm clouds to a wonderful summer’s day. If a dramatic feel is your aim, lighting needs to emphasise that. Sometimes you might need it to be raining: but you still need to be picky about how the light reinforces what you are trying to achieve.
Rain, for example, needs back light in order to be visible, and will therefore be much more effective than relying on the environment simply appearing wet.
Be picky about your light - Anton Petrus / Adobe Stock
Take good care of your lenses
If you are going to shoot beautiful sunsets or any other subject for that matter where strong backlight is required, always make sure you have clean lenses. You could be filming the most amazing landscape shot, but if your lens isn’t clean your hard work could be in vain. This might at first seem an obvious consideration, but in the excitement to get a shot it is an easy thing to forget.
Shoot to edit
If you edit video you will know how important it is for the camera operator to factor in a top and tail for the shot for freedom in the edit. The same rule applies to stock footage. A good general guide is to leave a few seconds at the beginning and end of each shot. For example, if you have an actor walking into shot, you will need a few seconds from the start of the shot until the actor walks in. This allows anyone who is using a shot within in an edit the freedom and choice to either perform a straight cut to the shot by trimming it, or a cross dissolve or fade before the actor comes into frame.
If you are recording a time lapse, the idea of shooting for the edit can be an easy thing to miss because you are not recording in real time, but you should nevertheless factor it in when creating such a shot.
Can you bring a unique perspective to things? - Determined / Adobe Stock
Don’t be afraid to experiment to make your shots different and unique. See if you can identify fresh ways to cover subjects that might have been done before. Can you introduce movement into the shot? Can you introduce a new sense of perspective? Take care over your compositions and aim for the highest quality that you can.
The client mindset
One way of achieving the best footage possible is to think of each shot as an individual job from a client. Imagine that someone has asked you to get a certain shot for them as part of a paid project, how would you approach things? Making sure that you have this mindset will help you to work at the best of your abilities at all times.
After you’ve captured your beautiful footage, make sure you keyword properly in order to ensure that buyers will find it. Adobe Stock recommends around 25 keywords. List the most important and prominent elements of your clip first, and include conceptual words towards the end. If you need more tips on how to optimize your keywords, check out Adobe Stock’s contributor guide.