The demand for stock footage has never been higher. Companies are looking for a fresh way to advertise their products to potential customers. While apps like TikTok and the growth of Instagram Reels have created a demand for video footage, even while budgets for content seem to be declining. Stock sites are a common way that large companies save money on their campaigns, but as a videographer they can be a great way to bring in passive income between higher paying jobs. In a new video Matt Johnson shares his tips to get started filming stock videos and start making passive income fast.
Tip #1: Film in High Resolution
When shooting stock footage its good to shoot in the highest resolution possible. Most stock sites prefer to accept footage that is shot in 4K, 6K or 8K—and many of them charge more for those high-resolution files. Shooting at higher resolution makes your footage more versatile and means a higher margin of profit for you.
Tip #2: Film in High Frame Rates
Keep frame rates on stock footage at 60 fps or higher. Having clips that were filmed in slow motion (ie: a high frame rate) will make your footage more versatile in the edit. It will also make your clips smoother, eliminating any in-camera shake.
Tip #3: There are Pros and Cons to Shooting in LOG
Although shooting in LOG typically gives you more flexibility in adjusting colors, any stock website is going to want you to upload color graded footage. Filming in a standard picture profile instead of LOG will allow you to get your footage uploaded much faster. However, certain stock websites will ask you to upload both the LOG footage and the color graded footage, others charge more for LOG footage. Ultimately there are pros and cons to shooting LOG when shooting for stock websites. Do you research on what a particular site is looking for and make the decision that is best for you.
Tip #4: Keep Clip Length Under a Minute
Try to keep your clip length between 5 – 60 seconds. Most sites have a minimum upload of about 3 seconds and a max upload time of 1 minute long clips. If you are filming clips in slow motion that time will be compressed
Tip #5: Shoot Scenes
When shooting stock footage your goal should be to get as much variety as possible. It’s better to think in scenes than shoot a bunch of random angles when filming stock. When filming stock think of all of the angles that you can capture to help tell the story of whatever is happening. Capturing multiple wide shots, tight shots and different perspectives will make it easier for potential clients to edit your footage into a cohesive story.
Tip #6: Don’t Worry About Audio
Client buying stock video footage don’t care about audio, so don’t stress yourself out about capturing it while filming stock. The vast majority of people downloading stock footage are going to add their own voice over audio or music to your tracks, including it in your clips might just be distracting, and so its better to eliminate it.
Tip #7: Get Model and Property Releases
If your stock footage includes identifiable people its crucial to get model release forms signed. Every stock site is going to have different model release forms that they will want you to fill out. Just because someone has signed a release for one website doesn’t mean that it will be applicable for a different stock website. It can be useful to use a more generic release form so you don’t have to keep reaching out to people that you shot with one time for multiple release forms. Johnson recommends the Getty Images release form, as he has found its accepted by many stock websites. If you are filming in a location with recognizable landmarks you will also likely need to get a property release form signed.
Tip #8: Think Creatively, but also Generically
Some of the best selling pieces of stock footage don’t require any releases at all. The piece of stock video footage that Johnson has made the most money from is a shot of a drone gliding over some pine trees. It didn’t require a model release, or a property release, because as he puts it, “there is nothing unique about these trees.” Ultimately people who buy stock footage are often looking for beautiful, but somewhat generic video clips—keep that in mind when filming.