Using Stock Footage in Video Production: Pros and Cons
Stock footage is a convenient way to fill gaps in film and provide shots that you may not be able to obtain yourself. From b-roll footage of rolling hills or stormy skies to actors doing office work or engaging in other activities, stock shots can be easily implemented into your video project, but should you?
b-roll explainedWhat is the difference between B-roll and stock footage?B Roll would be any clips you put on top of that, for example stock footage, shots of scenery, drone shots or shots of a product, etc. B-roll is a film roll filmed by camera B (secondary) Usually camera A is the main with the best quality and B is just for failsafe or different angle, can be lower quality.
At Xtraweb (Patrick R.), we use our years of experience in graphic design communications to create quality video productions for your business. Using original/stock footage, helping companies reach new audiences with videos designed for online marketing, corporate communication, and more
We also aim to provide as much information about the filming process as possible, and in this piece, we’ll explore using stock footage in your film, what that means, and the pros and cons. Using stock footage in your film can help cut costs and reduce shooting time, but it’s important to ensure that the footage truly fits your film.
What Is Stock Footage?
So, what is stock footage?
Stock footage films are clips that have already been recorded and made available to purchase and use in your films. These clips come with different licensing options. Some may be free, but most good-quality stock footage will come at a cost. The fee you pay depends on the kind of video you are using the footage for and whether you will be using the video to generate revenue.
How Can Stock Footage Be Used?
Stock footage can be used in many ways, but perhaps the best way to use it is a b-roll. Given that stock footage is generic, it’s important to only use it in scenes used to set the stage or accompanied by a narrator.
When your film focuses on something specific, with a narrator explaining an important concept, stock footage can provide visual cues that don’t always need to be specific to your business. Rolling hills or footage of children playing, for instance, may be relevant to your business and won’t need to be filmed at your business premises.
Other ways to use stock footage include:
Pros of Using Stock Footage
Using stock footage offers several benefits – but remember not to use this kind of footage for your entire film. Some of these benefits include:
You Can Save Time on Shooting
Stock footage can help save time on shooting. Social media video production, for instance, can benefit from stock footage when combined with a voice overlay from the narrator or subtitles at the bottom. The stock footage may help set the scene in these videos while the viewer focuses more on what is said. It’s a great time saver for social media marketing.
Stock Footage Can Be More Affordable Than Filming
Sometimes, stock footage might be more affordable than filming something original. This is particularly true for footage that you may be unable to capture yourself – even with a professional team. For instance, if you live in Dublin, it may not easy to get original footage of perhaps the Lahinch Surfers or the Burren. This is where stock footage can save you money.
You Can Create Better Storytelling
Stock shots may even help you tell your story better. When you create a corporate video, it’s essential to include plenty of footage of your employees and team members, as well as footage from your office space. However, you may also benefit from stock footage that helps you tell a story.
Stock footage is so varied and extensive these days that you’re bound to find something that helps you tell your story.
You Will Receive a High-quality Footage
Thanks to the fact that videos are more often used by businesses to market their video products and services, more stock footage is available online than ever before. And it’s good quality, too.
Stock footage these days is typically recorded in high definition or 4K resolution.
Stock Footage Can Be Reused Multiple Times
Another benefit to stock footage is that you can use it multiple times, mainly if used for b-roll. If you find footage that you like and find that it works well when used in your company videos, nothing stops you from reusing the clip when appropriate.
Cons of Using Stock Footage
Stock Footage Can Be Expensive
You Can’t Control the Footage Distribution
If you use stock footage, nothing stops a competing brand from using the same footage. That’s true whether stock footage is free or if you’ve paid for a commercial license to use it. With original footage, you can make sure nobody else uses your footage.
May Require Additional Work on Editing
Given that stock footage is designed to be used by a wide range of people and projects, it can be hard to edit the footage so that it fits your project perfectly. We think that original footage is not only easier to edit and incorporate into your video, but is more relevant and personal, too.
It Can Look Way Too Stock
Sometimes, stock footage just looks like stock footage. Whether the filming style is different from the rest of the film, or the actors look like they’re acting, it might throw off the vibe you’re aiming to achieve with your video.
Patrick R.