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Using Stock Video to Create Your Own Production

Stock video refers to pre-shot footage that can be used for multiple projects. For instance, if you needed a shot of the Amazon rainforest, you could utilize stock footage instead of having to go there and film it yourself. Unfortunately, many people hold a common misconception that stock footage always looks generic. In reality, stock video databases offer high-quality and unique footage that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.

Stock video can be used to supplement your production or even create a full production from scratch. Using stock videos can end up saving you money and time, and it can add a bit of high-polish to an otherwise average production. It’s important to work with skillful editors and creative directors to understand the right ways to incorporate stock video into your footage. 

COVID-19 has made it even more important to utilize stock videos to create enticing content. This post will introduce the different types of stock videos, explain how to use them, and explore the benefits of stock video footage. 

Who Can Use Stock Video

Anyone can use stock video if they subscribe to a stock video database. With a subscription to a database like Getty Images, your production team can gain access to a wide selection of videos. This allows their marketing professionals to constantly pull clips for advertising campaigns, social media posts, reference material, and more. 

A variety of companies do this, from small SaaS startups to large, product-based manufacturing companies. Subscribing to multiple stock video sites provides a large selection of clips. A subscription makes sense if you’re making a lot of videos to justify the monthly expense. On the other hand, some people choose to download individual clips. This is more expensive but makes sense if you’re infrequently making videos. 

Now let’s understand who can and should use stock video. You might be thinking that, if you use stock footage, you’ll end up with a video that looks just like everyone else’s. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are turning to stock video databases for content. A better approach is to figure out how you can use stock video in a unique way to tell the story of your business. This requires a creative strategy as well as a master editor. 

Overall, stock videos can be used in many different applications, from micro-videos on your social media to long-form videos on the company website. In the end, it’s all about the strategy behind the production. The rest, like accessing stock videos on a database, is easy.

Overview of Different Types of Stock Videos 

Let’s explore the different types of stock videos. They vary in terms of length, quality, content, and leasing permissions. Some stock databases specialize in a certain type of video, but you can generally find a wide variety of footage on every popular platform, like our partner Getty or Shutterstock. Users can search by locations, interior vs. exterior, type of shot (close-up vs. aerial), and by the demographics of the people represented on-screen.

A popular type of stock video is model-released footage. These clips feature diverse actors in authentic-looking scenes who have given their permission for the footage to be used in other productions. For instance, you could look for model-released footage if you need a short clip of a diverse group of millennials attending an office meeting.

Another popular type of stock video is aerial footage. This type of video is shot using a drone, allowing for the creation of gorgeous sky-high footage of cities, landscapes, and more. If you’ve ever seen a nature show, then you’ll recognize this type of footage from the slow, rising overview of a forest. Paying for pre-existing aerial footage is popular because it allows you to save money on hiring a helicopter or drone. Lots of stock footage can be used as a look-alike for other locations, in fact. Unwitting viewers might think they’re watching a Quebec forest if the company is Canadian, but the company may simply have used pre-existing aerial footage from a Vermont hillside. 

Finally, there’s the green screen category of stock footage. These feature a green-screened laptop or mobile device, which can be replaced with footage of your own product or website. This type of video is often used by SaaS companies to showcase their product in action.

How to Use Stock Video to Supplement Your Production

Now, let’s get into actionable suggestions for ways that you can integrate stock video to supplement your own productions. No matter which type of video you’re making, stock footage can help. Remember, stock video is not about filling in the blank spaces. Depending on the footage you choose, it can help give your final video more of a worldly feel, or even the feel of a higher-budget production. When combined with in-studio footage or user-generated content, stock video can pack a real punch.

Let’s say you have a coffee company and you want to tell the story of the Indonesian beans and the growers that cultivate them. You could start with stock footage showing a sweeping vista of a Balinese forest, mist swirling. Then you could smash cut to a close up you filmed in-studio, featuring a branded bag of coffee beans on a kitchen counter surrounded by dollar store leaves with steam rising from a cup of fresh coffee. That’s a highly effective five-second ad.

Let’s say you have a SaaS company that helps swimming coaches find their own clients and set up a side hustle by booking time in local pools. You might already have some footage you shot last year of adults learning to swim while wearing floaties while a teacher gives instructions in the pool. However, now it’s COVID-times and you need to find a way to leverage your existing footage for new marketing materials. Perhaps you’re pivoting to virtual swim lessons instead!

In this case, you could find stock footage of a green-screen laptop with kids watching the screen together. Start your ad by showing your old footage of people jumping into pools. Then add a graphic about COVID and preparing for better times ahead. Then cut to your green-screen stock footage and insert the video of the coach teaching from the pool. This is a great way to instantly refresh old footage.

Using Stock Video to Create a Full Production

If you’re wondering whether it’s a good idea to create a video entirely from stock, then you have a lot of options to consider to achieve your goal. One of the smartest ways to create a full production strictly from stock videos is to combine it with custom graphics, music, or voiceover. Stock videos are a great way to set up a use case with model-released videos.

For instance, you could use a video that shows someone from your target demographic experiencing the problem you solve. Perhaps you show a business person depressed and hunched over the computer or a busy parent who doesn’t have time for grocery shopping. Then, simply overlay your own text on the video with your company’s solution and URL. Now you have an affordable, beautiful custom advertisement. 

This tends to work best for companies that sell services and not products. When it comes to product-specific content, you may need to shoot some original footage that shows off the unique features of the product. Alternately, you could supplement stock footage with product photos. The same goes for “Meet the Team” videos where you need to show your actual office and the actual members of your team. However, any company can use stock footage to create a full production with the right strategy. Check out our BriefBuilder™ to start building yours. 

Overall, the major benefit of stock video is that you can edit it to make it yours. You can change color to black and white, or you can crop in or add effects. Stock footage doesn’t have to look generic. Add a custom voiceover or branded graphics. Find a way to make stock videos look like they belong to your company, and customers will be none the wiser.

Customization To Make It Feel “Not Stock”

Yes, there is always the possibility that one of your competitors has found the same stock video. But there’s no need to panic. Editing is where the real magic happens, and it’s here where your brand can shine through.

Stock can be unified through the use of color grading to make different footage look like it was filmed in the same place, at the same time of day, with the same camera. You can also use multiple clips with the same stock actors. Multiple clips can create the feeling that they were filmed for your production and not part of a one-off clip. 

You can tie together stock footage by adding a custom voiceover, too. Overall, it’s essential that you have a strong visual identity before incorporating stock video into your production. Your team needs to know what types of content to avoid and which types will align with your brand. Once you have this nailed down, your production team can confidently determine which parts of the video could be covered by stock footage.

The simplest way to customize stock footage is by adding a voiceover and graphics. It’s highly efficient and it can be very high impact, too. Speak with your editors about the emotional setup and payoff that you want viewers to feel. It’s possible that you could create an impactful and affordable video using purely stock footage paired with a custom voiceover.

Do People Really Do This?

Yes! Videos are the best way to reach your target market, whether with stock footage or brand new footage. Studies show that viewers retain 95% of a message when shown in video format. Notice that this statistic doesn’t say anything about length or stock vs. new footage. The bottom line is that the moving image can reach more people. Even on LinkedIn, posts with videos get 5x more comments than other types of posts.

Video marketing is embraced by top brands everywhere, who sometimes include stock video in their campaigns. This video for Valencell, for instance, uses stock footage to tell an effective and unique branded story. Whether you have a lean marketing budget due to COVID or simply a remote and nimble production team, stock footage can be the key to unlocking great video content for your company.

Benefits of Using Stock Video

Stock footage can add production value to your video at a lower cost than filming a production. There’s no need to pay through the roof to hire a helicopter to capture footage of the Rocky Mountains to include a five-second clip in your advertisement. Instead, you can purchase stock footage that communicates your message at a fraction of the cost.

It can be more impactful, too. You could supplement original video footage with stock video during transitions or cutaway to give your production a sense of gravitas. Combine stock video with custom graphics and a voiceover and you’ll have an affordable yet impactful video that will stand out in the marketplace.

The ROI for video marketing is inarguable. Consumers prefer to get their content in video form. One study even showed that, by the year 2022, online videos will be more than 82% of all consumer traffic on the Internet. Given that fact, it’s critical that businesses think ahead and create a sustainable video production strategy that can see them through to the next phase of the industry’s growth.

Stock videos are a smart way for businesses to stay competitive, supplementing or replacing their existing video production strategy. For expert assistance in determining the right strategy for your business, reach out to the Dream It Reel team today. We offer everything companies need to create unique, high-impact, on-brand videos that fit your budget.