Film stock footage is a quick and easy way to up your film production value while saving resources.
There are two different types of film stock footage available to the public. The first is public domain. This is free and available stock footage for anyone to use. Whether you are just starting to put films together or you have been in the industry for a while, you can usually find these in historical archives or from free offerings.
The second is copyrighted stock footage. With these, you need to pay a once-off fee to be able to use the footage legally. These are clips that are created by professionals and sold. Often, these are of far higher quality and value.
When to use stock footage in your film
All this may sound all well and good, but how do you know when to actually use stock footage in your film. There are a few pointers that may help position you.
- When it enhances your film. This can be displaying different flowers as the film explores the value of flowers. Or, aged TV screens to enhance a vintage concept in your film. You can place stock footage over long monologues to speed up the audience engagement without taking away from the film.
- Establishing shots. Establishing shots are hard to take as you need a drone or a really high vantage point. This isn’t always a reality for every filmmaker. So, when it comes to long establishing shots that place the audience in the right location, we recommend turning to drone stock footage. It is clean and professional and doesn’t take away from the film but rather helps your audience to situate themselves.
- On a more practical side, you can use stock footage when you only need one or two shots and you don’t have the time or money. Hiring a crew and finding a location takes a lot of time and a lot of money. So if these are just not a reality to you at that moment, we suggest turning to film stock footage. It does the job with half of the struggle.
- When you get to post-production and you are done with the process and realize you are missing a clip. Or if the clip is entirely unusable. This may require you to get a bit more creative and stock footage proves extremely handy.