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What is stock footage and what can you do with it?


A constant question we get from prospective customers is "what is stock footage, and what can you do with it?". This is a valid question - as until recently, filmmaking in general was almost exclusively done at film studios, television broadcasts and indie filmmakers. These days, stock footage is used more and more by individuals creators as they express themselves on social media. Stock footage like everything else is being repurposed in a way that wouldn't have been imagined just a decade ago.


In a nutshell - stock footage or b-roll is any footage that can reused in other, multiple projects. A videographer usually records more video than what is needed, usually to capture everything in case something is missing from their project, or for future projects. It saves filmmakers time and money by allowing them to quickly locate, purchase and utilize specialized footage for their projects. Another name for stock footage is archive footage.


Stock footage takes many forms for different needs and purposes. Historical footage, like World War II film is unique, hard to find, and coveted for use in historical documentaries and sometimes for historically accurate movies. Other footage, like currently events is utilized by the media to create editorials on events happening around the world. Yet, another type of stock footage is made for television displays to display their resolution and color range.


This type of video and film can be a low resolution home video clip made with an old VHS camcorder that is used for a biographical movie, or it can be a 4K UHD video clip that will be used in a food commercial. The possibilities with stock footage are endless and sometimes what may be insignificant to one person may be invaluable to a media crew. Therefore, the device used to capture the footage is so varied it would be difficult to pinpoint a specific camera that is used for making stock footage. It could be an 8mm film camera, a Arriflex movie production camera, a webcam and sometime, a smartphone.


Stock footage can be used in multiple ways. Everything from making a personalized video tribute for a loved one, to making a full documentary about the history of airliners - the possibilities are limitless. Until now, it was fairly pricey and difficult to obtain archive footage. These days, due to the internet, and e-commerce - just about anyone who has an idea, editing software and a connection to the internet can utilize stock footage to see their idea become reality.


People, more than ever, are using and creating videos. Video consumption is growing at an exponential rate. Social media videos have went from low resolution shaky clips to high quality productions with excellent lighting. A single individual now has the power at their fingertips to create just about anything they see fit. Indeed, the availability, affordability and power of the modern computer turns an individual into a production studio.


When it comes to using stock footage, you'll start hearing the word 'license'. This means that every clip that is owned by a videographer has an inherit copyright that protects it from being used without the owner's permission. Generally, the owner of the footage decides the way their footage will be utilized in a project. More often than not - most footage falls under a 'royalty-free' license. This means that once a customer purchases a clip for use in their projects - they can show the footage in that specific project as much as they like without having pay royalties to the original owner of the film. The only stipulation, usually, is that one must buy another license for the clip if they plan on using it in another, separate project.


There is another category of licenses that fall under 'creative commons.' This, like other types of licensing is a very in-depth subject which we will cover in another article, but for all intents and purposes, a creative commons video is the owner allowing the user to download the clip free of charge and use in as many projects as they see fit. Some licenses allow you to monetize the footage and others are purely non-commercial in nature. Stock footage is licensed in certain ways due to the nature of the content and the decision of the owner. Sometimes, due to what appears in film - it may only be possible to use in documentaries. It is important to take this into account when planning out your video.


One very common use we've seen our stock footage used for are mini documentaries. You'll typically see these type of videos on Youtube. A Youtuber will cover a subject, explaining the history of it. Recently, a Youtuber used a clip from our free New York stock footage in a video talking about the history of a person who became famous due to their bizarre interview on the news. Having stock footage is extremely useful in this circumstance as it would have been fairly expensive and a lot of work to have actually gone to New York to film a short, specific scene for a short video. In another instance, one of our clips was used as the background for a creepypasta horror story reading. It was clip of a woman preparing a certain type of food for the holidays. Imagine our (pleasant) surprise when we came across this video. The level of creativity our customers is absolutely amazing and inspired us to creative more footage to provide for their projects. At this time, our footage has been used in dozens of projects and have been watched millions of times across the world.


Music videos, fitness motivational videos, nature videos and many other various projects use b-roll stock footage to complete their projects and to add that finishing touch. Here, at brollstock, we have everything from historic SD stock footage to 4K resolution footage that in many cases you can use for free, without royalties. In addition, we have video packs at very affordable prices, and we have motion videos that can be the perfect background for a graduation or a concert! We have countless videos of well know celebrities that can used for editorials, such as documentaries. Please check out our unique selection of videos and accomplish your project today!

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