Stock Footage Intro

What is it?
Stock Footage is often termed generic or B roll footage. It’s used to fill in shots. Maybe a movie or TV show needs a cinematic fly over of New York city, or a corporate video needs a shot that means “Enthusiasm”. Or just footage of a dump truck, rice field, person at the top of a mountain, you get the idea.
A lot of the Zeitgeist films used stock footage. A lot of the Jay Shetty videos is stock.
Where can you buy/sell it from
There’s a lot of different stock websites.
There’s probably other drone specific websites as well that have sprung up recently.
General Information
Stock footage is almost always 5s to a max of 1 minute long, it’s without audio and is best in 4k resolution although 1080p is also accepted.
There’s some great options, from people, to nature, also things like slow-mo, timelapse, drone footage, 360° and more.
The main issues to consider when filming stock footage is the requirements for no visible branding, shots that have meaning and the need for Model and property release forms.
No Branding
If you film a person up close and their clothing has brand logos on it, you can’t sell that footage commercially. It’s considered distracting, but also there’s trademark and copyright issues. The same is the case for filming a generic shot of a shopping mall, there’s brand logos all over the place.
Even focusing too close on a single car can cause problems and the footage will be rejected.
I think this is generally a lot less of a problem with drone footage.
If you fail this you’ll likely be rejected due to visible trademark.
Model Release Forms versus Editorial Content
When filming, if there’s a person who could identify themselves from seeing the footage then that footage needs a model release form.

If you are filming in certain locations then they’ll need a property release form. I got one filled out for a theme park I filmed at. If you tried to film a cultural heritage site, or somewhere you need to buy a ticket to enter then that’s a great example of where you’ll need a property release form.

I personally use the Easy Release mobile app to help me with getting model and property release forms.
There is however a 2nd type of video. Editorial content. This isn’t for movies and the like, but instead for news organisations and can also be footage you have that advertises a specific brand, e.g Coke or Grab or Nike. Those companies or even their competitors can buy the clip if they happen to like it.
Setting the submission to editorial content is also often done for things like big groups of people, etc..
Stock Footage (and stock photos) is a long game. To make enough money to quit your day job you usually need thousands of clips and of content that people want to buy. Expect $5-30 for the sale of a decent video clip, depending on the website it’s sold from. Most clips won’t sell. There’s some stats about people getting an average of like 20c to $1/month per clip. Of course it looks more like a logarithm I’m guessing. The best 20% of clips are likely worth 80% of your income.
So there’s a stock footage website where you can’t actually buy any footage from. It’s called BlackBox and it is a syndicated submission service. You upload your footage to BlackBox, fill in the various info and then they’ll submit the content on to the other main stock footage websites.
There’s more to it than that though. Because they are already dealing with the money transfers from various sites, they can also enable things like revenue splitting.
This means that I can assign say 20 or 30% of the revenue for a clip to a friend for helping curate the content. Dealing with the release forms, adding the keywords, title and other information to the videos. This is something that’s fairly easy for them to do. I’ve already uploaded the videos, they just need a laptop and can watch the video and add the info. But I’ve got a backlog of over 100 clips I’ve not published because I haven’t done this, so having someone else do it means actually getting them out there.
You could also do a revenue sharing arrangement with say a model in the video. If you filmed a dancer or a stunt driver then you could give them 50% revenue. They’ll need an account with BlackBox though.
More resources to read The general Blackbox FAQ’s – A video by Chris Hau which is basically an advert for BlackBox. – A beginners guide to selling stock. Contains another advert for Blackbox
—- – Info about how one guy managed to make a resonable amount of money selling stock. Now he runs his own stock website. – A much more realistic version of stock footage sales. He earned $6,675 in 13 months. I love his aerial shot of the Kayakers going down the rapids. Great drone footage! Netted him about $700 in sales.
The 9 tips are:
1. Keep It Quality
2. Pick a Niche
3. Include Actors
4. Exclude Branding
5. Submit Aggressively
6. Work Out Who Pays the Big Bucks
7. Flaunt Your Work
8. Get Your Analytics On
9. Dream Big — But Not Like, Too Big – You can download the model release forms from Shutterstock here. You’ll need a model release form for selling commercial video where people are identifiable in it. E.g where there’s 1 or 2 people walking along and you film them.
I would like to point out that as of the time of writing I’ve only had about 5 videos and about 20 photos actually published to a single stock website and haven’t made any sales in the month they’ve been up there. I have a lot more footage to add, but work full time programming websites, so don’t have the time to deal with keywords and the other stuff, hence why Blackbox is attractive to me right now.

Open Cut v2 – It has arrived

Well, I just received my G-Raid mini (250Gb) with my Open Cut v2 footage.
For those that don’t know, Open Cut is a competition where professionals, to ametures can get some pre-recorded Red One footage, and edit it together.
A decked out Red One camera
What is Red One? Well Red One is a new, fully digital, very amazing video camera that can shoot up to 4K resolution. This is the start of the end for Film.
The body of the camera alone costs USD$17,500 and a semi-decent setup with lens, hard drive, and other bits will set you back around $30,000. A lot?Not really when you are making a 5 million dollar film.
Anyway, back to the G-Raid hard drive.
The external 250Gb drive accepts both USB and Firewire, and doesn’t need an external power source, unlike my 500Gb external drive.
Unfortunately however, the drive came pre-formatted with a Mac OSX partition.

Thankfully I had previously installed Ubuntu (a Linux distribution) on my Laptop that can read the partition,
and I am currently copying the 120Gb of Red One footage onto another external HDD I have, so I can format the G-Raid drive for windows (likely NTFS), and then copy the data back again.

Instead of booting into Linux I could have installed the trial version of MacDrive, on one of my Windows PC’s, however the reviews I read of that particular program were rather bad, with people having to boot into safe mode to load a previous system restore point.
Aren’t computers great…. when they work :P

Anyway, for anyone in the Adelaide (South Australia) area that is interested in editing some RedOne footage let me know and you can get a copy of it from me.

For more information regarding the Open Cut competition visit

Michael Kubler
Grey Phoenix Productions

PS : I am in no way affiliated with Silverado systems, or the Open Cut competition.
PPS : If you truly want to edit Red One footage… I hope your computer is up to it.
PPPS : The Open Cut competition closes on the 31st of August.

Schoolyard Justice – Release date

As per Rodney’s blog, over at Fernby, the short film both of us have been working on will be released this month. In fact, the local premiere will be on Thursday the 26th of June, with the International Web release on Friday the 27th June.

Original blog post :

If you would like to be notified when the movie is released feel free to subscribe to it’s mailing list, or simply check out the website.

Actually I suggest you check out the trailer, to wet your appetite, and tide you over until the movie release.

Now I better get back to working on the site :D

Being and extra on a big budget film (for Australia)

Well, on Monday I was an extra on a reasonably large budget film, and I can tell you that being an extra can be summarised as interesting but boring.

I got up at 5am, so I could pick up a friend at 6:15am, to get to the Rosewater Oval in time.

To be honest, I didn’t sleep much the night before, I kept thinking about what if I forgot something, or what if my clothes aren’t good enough, or how awesome it would be to help out.

Well we arrived at location, with the early morning mist still hovering in the air. After handing in our model release forms we waited, and waited. Eventually around 7:45am all the extras were gathered into a group and given a brief talking to. The scene was that of a football match (as the email we received the night before explained), and we were the crowd. The extras were lined up along the oval, then sorted roughly into teams before being given our final places, where we stood and waited. I’d forgotten to bring any decent reading material, but spent the spare time talking to my friend.

Eventually the film crew rocked up, and my eyes lit up. Goodies! Big cameras, tripods, reflectors, diffusers, and people running around with radios talking to each other and organising stuff. Having done a lot of work towards making Schoolyard Justice, I appreciate the amount of work required to create a reasonable Australian/Hollywood movie. I heard estimates that the production has a budget of ~$3million.

Back to the waiting. The football players, seemed to be mostly wannabe actors who were previously extras in other scenes that had been roped into playing. Although some were too young for that. Still, they managed to spend their time warming up, while I was glad I was rugged up with a bright blue jumper and nice thick red scarf. The football players/actors then had fake dirt, and sweat (I think it was spray on grease) applied to make it look like they had been in the dirt, although some of them had been already. After the film crew had setup the game began… probably over 8 times. That’s the thing with films, once isn’t enough. I think every shot, from every angle was redone at least 5, and usually 8 times. When the actor steals the ball at a toss up, and the crowd goes wild, they have to do the sequence many times, and on demand. The hardest bit was that we were meant to be looking at the football game, but the players would play for a little bit, and then the camera might focus in on the coach, and with the players no longer running around you had no reference point, no idea if you should be cheering or booing, and your eyes drifted to the camera. A big no, no.

Things perked up when Alex Vega arrived on set. She was the main girl in Spy Kids, but has significantly grown up, and filled out since then, and in all the right ways. She was very hot, and was very good at being the peppy American. She had people fussing over her occasionally, and at one point someone gave her a slurpy (iced soft drink), and I almost felt sorry for the person who had to drive around and get it. But in general she seemed very nice, was happy to talk to the occasional bunch of extras when she wasn’t in front of the camera, and occasionally had her photo taken with them. She also seemed a little flirtatious with some of the ‘spunkier’ male actors, but I think that’s probably just her personality, especially when compared to all the Aussies on set.

As the day draw on the the extras were moved a couple of times, and at one point the blonde girl that had been standing next to me and occasionally keeping me from being too bored, was moved next to Alexa and was meant to look like she was her friend. If they use that shot, she’ll get some decent and recognisable screen time for a random extra.

At one point we had to film the crowd leaving at the end of the football match. Initially my friend and I were told to walk behind the main building, which we had to repeat 10 times, even though the camera wasn’t on us. We were then told to walk another way, around the front to the other side of the building. Again repeating until our feet didn’t want to move. Then they changed their minds again, and we were told to stay and chat to each other, while most other people left. So there’s possibly some footage of us two talking to each other, in the background of some scene where Tommy (played by Luke Arnold) talks to his love interest Kat Rogers (played by Alexa), after the football match.

Some things I noticed about how the movie was being made.

  • They had two RedOne cameras. The RedOne is something I dream of owning. It’s a high quality, fully digital camera, with all the mod cons, designed in a modular way. A film makers delight, and at very attractive prices, except when your almost broke…
  • They were filming at 4K res, in Raw. The best quality you can get, although the sheer hard drive space, and post processing required is incredible. I’d guess they would need over 1.5Tb of Hard drive space for the raw footage alone.
  • They were using high quality Arri zoom lenses.
  • The second camera was setup on a steadicam, with a more simple (likely prime) lens, and the camera operator attached the setup to the suit on their body using a pneumatic looking arm.
  • When using the steadicam, they had a remote controlled focus controller, and viewing monitors!
  • They only used one camera at a time (this one perplexed me, there was times when they could have used both, maybe they didn’t have enough people, or the configuration of the cameras didn’t allow it easily?).
  • On the main camera they had two display monitors, with different extra information depending on the person viewing. Histograms and basic information for the DoP, and some other display (that I didn’t recognise) for the focus puller.
  • They physically measured some of the distances with a measuring tape, and used a laser range finder at other times. I believe they physically measured the distances for when the focus needed to be very specific, but used the range finder when there was going to be a lot more action and they likely closed the aperture (increased the DoF) as it wasn’t going to be as predictable.
  • The lenses had very nice bokeh (from what I could see), and generally a very shallow Depth of Field.
  • TRUCKS, there was 2 trucks just for all the diffusers, reflectors, tripods, tents, chairs, and basic equipment, another bunch of trucks for everything else, and Alex Vega got her own trailer.
  • They used diffusers whenever the sun was out (and especially when filming a close up). They had two main diffusers. One was an approximately 1×1.5m rectangular frame with a soft light diffusing material inside. The frame could be held up by a single person, but it would usually only affect 1, maybe 2 people onscreen. The second diffuser was a giant frame, probably 5x5m square, and required assembly by two people, with a big, but translucent canvas stretched around the metal frame, which was held up by two heavy duty tripod like legs, which were sand bagged to prevent the setup falling over. The whole thing needed at least two people to move it.
  • They only used reflectors near the end of the day when the sun was nearly gone, and dark clouds had filled most of the sky.

Some interesting notes. Only about 1,700 RedOne camera’s have been produced so far, to have two of them indicates that the production team either put an order in early, or are likely hiring the equipment. Either way, I’m jealous.

Please note : At no point did I sign anything that even resembled an NDA. However should someone have an issue with the content of this post, I will obligingly remove it.