Royalty Free Stock Footage: A New Reality in Video Production
In the past, producing a video meant producers had to hire an entire production team and transport them to the actual location. Now, thanks to technology, the world of video production is a very different battlefield now.
After booking your crew, you are at the mercy of bad weather, or the possibility of your talent not turning up. Even worse, what if your client disapproves of the final result of the shoot?
The world of video production is a very different battlefield now. With the advancement of fiber optics and broadband technology, producers are literary shopping their video footage on the Internet.
Instead of assembling a team and going to the location to achieve the desired shot, stock footage providers of all genres, from all over the world, have instead presented their own footage catalogued and nicely sorted on a website, allowing the producer to select, view, purchase and download instantly without ever leaving his or her desk.
We are talking about Royalty Free Stock Footage library. Royalty free licensing is an agreement that allows buyers unlimited use of the footage in a wide variety of ways. There are no restriction as far as the number of projects, release locations, and time frame; they are all covered under a one-time licensing fee. The only restriction is resale, in whole or in part.
Royalty Free Stock Footage are usually categorized by different genres, e.g. animals, landscapes, people, business, food, sports, time lapse, technology, medical, landmarks, background, elements, visual effects and 3D animation just to name a few. They can further be divided into sub-categories, e.g. 3D animation can be sub-categorized into spinning globes, waving flags, ocean and water etc.
While the availability of Royalty Free Stock Footage on the Internet is exploding, it is far from being saturated because every project has unique needs. For example, an outdoor shot can have different lighting moods and environmental settings, weather conditions, color tones, camera angle and camera movements. Likewise for 3D animation, each animator may create, texture and render each scene differently.
In the past, there were only a handful of stock footage companies around. They typically charged a few thousand dollars per clip, and those were not even royalty free. Your licensing cost had to depend on how many times you intended to use the footage, and in how many countries or regions your footage will be broadcast or distributed.
Now, thanks to technology advancement, more people can afford to own high quality video cameras, desktop editing systems and animation software. With increased broadband speed, people across the world can now deliver their own Royalty Free Stock Footage online, via niche websites that offer to consolidate individual video into a huge mega stock footage library. This online stock footage library is easily browsable, offers a secure payment system, and also includes a digital download delivery back-end. Some videographers and animators even set up their own online stores selling their personal video or animation footage. As a result, cost is lowered exponentially.
Typically, Royalty Free Stock Footage prices can range from 10 to 50 dollars per clip, depending on video resolution, uniqueness and technical demands, or if the footage includes identifiable people. They are sometimes sold as a collection of 20-30 clips for as low as a few hundred dollars. Compared to hiring a production team, these affordable rates provide video producers with great purchasing power and incredibly vast choices.
Of course, with great power comes great responsibility. With so many stock video contributors, there is great diversity in levels of professionalism and skill. Video producers must decide on the quality of the shot, based on information and previews provided by the website, reputation of the website to properly screen footage before accepting them, and the reputation of the stock footage providers.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eddie Quah is the founder of MotionCow, a website dedicated to providing high-quality royalty free animation & visual effects for 2D & 3D artists and video editors. Globes 360 and Flags in Motion are animated stock footage library collections that focus on animated 3D spinning globes and waving flag respectively. They are all available at www.motioncow.com