Using Stock Footage Effectively

Stock Footage usage is more common than you might think; appropriately used, it can be extremely effective in marketing and promotional videos, even fiction. However, used badly, it can ruin a video. So here are some tips for using stock footage effectively:

Use it as B-Roll

Movie trailers, short films and even TV dramas will occasionally use stock footage, for establishing shots of cities, cars travelling, nature shots etc. If you have a montage or a sequence of clips, stock footage can make these better without you breaking the bank on filming the shot.

Don’t be cheap!

When stock footage is used well, you barely notice it. Use it badly, and it’s all you notice. If the audience recognises a stock shot that either you’ve used before, or the clip doesn’t match the rest of the action, then you’ve broken the illusion, and your film will look cheap as a result.

Explore the free options.

Although the paid services take the best clips, there are plenty of free-to-use stock footage sites out there. Perfect if you need a quick shot of something if filming it isn’t possible.

If they have what you need!

Although there’s plenty of free footage available, if the sites don’t have what you need, don’t be cheap and use something that doesn’t match, viewers will notice. If a paid clip does the job better, then use that.

Consider a Subscription.

If you’re going to be using multiple clips on a regular basis, buying them separately could lead to a lighter wallet. Fortunately, many providers now offer subscription options where users pay a monthly or annual fee in exchange for a large number of clips, or in some cases, unlimited clips.

But only if you need it!

If you’re purchasing the odd clip every few months, this might not be the best option, we’d recommend subscribing if you’re going to use it regularly, and the subscription cost is less than the individual clip cost.

So those are just a few tips on using stock footage effectively. Have you ever used stock footage? If so, how?