Thanks to desktop editing programs, making videos is cheaper and easier than ever. As a result, more companies, bloggers, and entrepreneurs are discovering the power of video. One of the most cost-effective and time-sensitive ways to make video these days is to incorporate some stock footage. Similar to stock images, these clips can help move a story, set the scene, or show off a beautiful landscape.
However, finding the right footage for your needs can be laborious or downright frustrating. Here are five tips to get you started with your search and discovery:
Focus on one thing.
Since stock images are stuck in place, they usually won’t be guilty of being distracting. Since footage moves, though, it can sometimes offer the viewer too much. Make sure that the clips you choose aren’t too busy and deliver the message or meaning that you wish. People-on-the-street clips showcase this balance well. You can have a crowed street without the video appearing itself to be too busy.
Get in close.
Aerial shots are really popular because they help to establish a location for the action to continue. Yet, sometimes they can be too broad in scope. If you’re looking to tell a story taking place within a city, make sure that the end of your aerial shot really leads into the next scene. Otherwise, the audience will find it relatively jarring to find themselves suddenly indoors somewhere they don’t recognize amid a natural progression.
Avoid timelapse when possible.
Yes, this sounds counter-intuitive considering that timelapse videos are among some of the more popular stock footage clips. But what these videos also come with is a strict structure for the timing of the shot. Veteran video producers will know how to speed up a typical clip themselves and can really pinpoint the exact pace they wish. That way, you’ve taken over the creative control you sorely need.
Look for accompanying clips.
Once you’ve landed on the right clip for your project, you may want to include a followup shot of the same person or or a sequential event. Even if you don’t use both videos, it’s worth looking at the contributor page for a given filmmaker to see if they can offer you this kind of flexibility. Downloading an extra clip and leaving it on the cutting room floor is a better outcome than being left without the clip you so desperately want to follow.
Some of the best stock video is from nature. Think beyond meadows and forestry. If you take your attention underwater, you will uncover a world of possibilities. Underwater clips are so colorful and majestic, and, depending on who is featured in the clip, they can showcase happiness and innocence and other emotions better than anything.
Danny Groner is the manager of blogger partnerships and outreach for Shutterstock.
Image via Shutterstock