stock video footage

What Is Stock Video and Why You Need It

No need to shoot all the film yourself.
June 27, 2021
7 mins read

If you are an aspiring filmmaker or someone who just wants to post video content to push a brand or service, then stock video could be just what you’ve been looking for.

Stock video, or footage, is a resource that has become an industry — one that is servicing millions of clients every year. This growing demand (and supply) comes from a rapidly growing demographic of content creators with a voracious, near-limitless appetite.

A stock video provider offers those who have signed up, most commonly on a subscription basis, a huge catalog of professionally shot material. They provide video content that covers a wide range of genres and sub-categories, all labeled and organized in a way that makes searching through them an easy undertaking and one that aids the creative process.

Why Use Stock Video?

There are many good reasons to use stock video, but perhaps the most important ones are time and cost. If you are looking for stock footage, it’s usually because you might not be able, or have time, to film what you require yourself.

Stock video, especially in 2021 when the industry is truly a professional endeavor, is an option that can either greatly improve the visual product you may already have or act as an entire visual undertaking of its own.

A good stock video provider will have literally thousands of high-quality clips of varying lengths that are ideal for a great many purposes. These can be used as establishing shots to jump start your production, act as transitions in your film or TV show, as a basis for documentary work and a million and one other ways that are constantly evolving.

The desire for professionally made, creatively produced film content has reached such heights that even Hollywood productions choose to use stock video. This is a sign of the quality of the leaders in the market and proof that what is being produced is more than fit for its purposes.

Ways of Using Stock Video

The ways in which you can use stock video are near-infinite and are only constrained by your imagination.

Some use stock footage as a buffer, and others choose to use the material as the very basis of their film or video production. Here are some ways you might consider using stock video.

Video as Transition

You can use the professionally produced footage as something of a B-roll, effectively using the video as a good transition between scenes. Again, this is often done to aid and establish the narrative.

For instance, your film may be set in a big city, and as such, your transition material could be an aerial view of a metropolis. It could also be a busy street scene, closing metro doors or hundreds of other useful images that work as subtly as you need them.

Making the Impossible, Possible

Often you may not be able to get the shot you really want, either for budgetary or geographical reasons. Stock video, when used well, can fool the viewer into thinking this wasn’t the case.

Want to persuade your viewers that your action is taking place by a stunning waterfall? No problem. Need to convince an audience that the conversation between your two leads occurs in a sprawling prison? Stock footage will have that sorted.

For Adverts or Promotional Material

Perhaps the video you are shooting isn’t super-creative and is, in fact, primarily a sales device, such as an advertisement. In order to save time and/or money, you might look to supplement your own material with footage of smiling satisfied customers or a family enjoying a day out to indicate happiness (which can be a neat allusion to your product).

Once again, you can make this kind of choice as subtly as you wish. The intention is to use the stock video to assist you in producing the finished article.

Stock Video Backgrounds

These are very useful. A stock video background is usually a scene that can be played behind a set action you are producing. In this way, it can act as a green screen but could also be more literal, i.e., an actual background for a conference, perhaps, or a discussion group.

Additional Benefits You May Not Have Considered

As well as the finished article being of high-quality and often ideal for your specific circumstances, you might want to take into account some other additional benefits that you may not have considered.

With the best stock footage resources out there, you’ll find that the content you download has been cleared for any use you see fit. This means you won’t have any concerns about breaking any licensing agreements or being the subject of copyright claims.

Also, in most cases, the stock videos you download during your subscription period are yours to keep long after your subscription has come to an end. This means you are free to repackage or rethink earlier uses of the footage, or even edit the resulting clips for a new narrative, at no extra charge.

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