Top 5 Stock Footage Websites - Where To Buy Quality Footage for Your Videos

When it comes to filling out a video, be it a commercial, educational short, instructional, political or even personal, stock footage is one of the most popular means of accomplishing the task.

Stock video has been a part of the film industry for well over a century and has been used in all types of film and video productions.

Stock footage is used in a wide variety of situations that run the gamut from simple transition shots to background plates for driving scenes to creating an entire world from the past.

Today, it is almost second nature for production companies to obtain free or buy affordable stock footage for a wide variety of reasons. Quite often, the ability to buy video footage can be the key ingredient in completing a video production.

Why Buy Stock Video?

For most video production companies or producers, the thought of buying stock footage is probably not one that they are all that comfortable with at least at first. While the benefits may be attractive, there are naturally concerns that the footage itself will not incorporate well with the video. The truth is that good stock video works well with any video production if it is used correctly.

Save Time and Money: The most obvious advantage when it comes to purchasing footage is that it is the timeliest and most cost effective solution as compared to shooting the video yourself. Even just sending out a camera person to take some random shots costs time, money and effort that can be covered by simply purchasing stock footage.

Cover Mistakes: One of the biggest issues facing many production companies and producers is editing together the footage only to see that certain shots do not work or are simply not right and there is basically no time to go back and re-shoot the video. This is why having prepared footage can save the day when it fits into the final version smoothly and effectively with little in the way of cost.

Bring New Perspective: One subtle advantage of stock video is that it can bring a new perspective to a video that could not be accomplished for reasons of budget or perhaps time. For example, a video production that centers on an historical event can be augmented by stock footage that was shot around that time, something that would be very difficult to recreate today.

There are a number of other reasons to buy stock video, but in terms of actually saving you time, money and effort, it can really pay off for your production company.

Why Sell Stock Video?

For production companies and individuals that video a great deal of material, selling stock video makes a great deal of sense. For them, it does provide a revenue source that is ongoing and will be used for many years to come, even if the footage seems out of date. This is because many video producers are not just looking for a particular shot, but also for a specific time period.

This means that for those who shoot good, high quality video, there is a market for what you can collect and provide for production companies as well as the public. While you can set up your own site, there are several marketplaces where you can upload your footage and even set your own price. For videographers who shoot a great deal of footage, this can be an excellent way to generate a little extra cash on the side.

I personally sold footage worth of $1000 by being directly contacted by production companies and advertising agencies. They just found my videos on YouTube and wanted to use a few shots of my material for documentaries and commercials. That was a pleasant surprise because I didn't expect to get anything out of those videos - except, of course, some YouTube fame. :)

By the way the shots that I sold included action sports videos (cliff jumping) and footage of people installing solar panels - green energy seems to be big these days so shoot some of that if you have it around you.

The 5 Best Stock Footage Websites

While there are a number of sites where you can buy stock footage, the ones mentioned here offer a very wide selection at reasonable prices.

1. iStockPhoto

This is a really nifty site that offers plenty of videos, illustrations, photos and even audio on their site. You have to purchase credits first which can then be used to pay for the footage that you want. In addition, you will become eligible to get a free monthly video as well. It can become a bit pricey, but for what they have it is definitely worth it.

2. Open Footage

This site specializes in time-lapse video footage which makes it quite useful as this is very popular with many types of video. They also provide a number of .jpegs and additional textures for your photographic productions. The good news about this particular site is that it is free so you can download what you want without having to pay.

3. Pond5

The most expensive of the five best places to buy video footage, but it also has one of the best selections as well. With roughly 2 million videos and growing, Pond5 is a marketplace where people can upload and price their own videos which means that you will find practically anything in stock. The site itself is very easy to navigate and for the right footage the price can be worth it.

4. Video Blocks

This is a rather unique site with hundreds of thousands of stock videos for you to choose. However, instead of individual payments they offer an annual subscription that allows for unlimited downloads. There is a free trial where you can download a pre-selected number of clips, but this is the perfect site if you are in need of footage for many different projects.

5. X Stock Video

You will find some of the best high quality stock video on the net at this particular site. About the only downside is that it is not the easiest to navigate so you will have to take a little time to go through all of what they offer. It helps if you can choose the right keyword for your search, but given that this site is free it can be well worth the effort.

Other honorable mentions include:

If your video production is in need of new material, then you should consider the option to buy video footage to augment your production. The beauty of stock footage is that it is inexpensive, easy to purchase and the entire process can be accomplished in minutes compared to the hours or days that it would take to shoot the footage yourself.

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