If you feel like you’re seeing more stock footage than ever lately, you’re not alone. Video content itself is on the rise, and stock footage has been filling the gaps over the last several months as in-person productions have become more complicated.
The “stock” concept sometimes gets a bad rap— mostly because stock images like these ones exist. Both stock images and stock footage are sometimes assumed to be cheap looking, cheesy, or just plain weird. Thankfully, there are tons of reputable outlets you can use to find high-quality stock footage for your next video project.
As a video production company, we’re experts at filming brand new content in our studio, but we also incorporate stock footage when a client’s video goals call for it. Whether filming an in-person production isn’t feasible or we need a specific clip to move a storyline forward, stock footage comes in handy in ways you might not expect.
Here are our recommendations for stock footage at any price point, whether you want to stick to free downloads or have a dedicated stock footage budget. Check them out!
Free Stock Footage Libraries
1) Pexels Videos
Pexels is a great site for both stock photography and stock footage, and everything on the site is free for personal and commercial use. The only restriction on Pexels content is that it can’t be used in a political context, which they define as supporting any political campaign or policy agenda.
Other than that, you’re good to go! Plus, unlike some other sites on the list, on Pexels you can download content without creating an account. The company’s mission is to make stock content simple and quick to download and use, so the download process has no strings attached whatsoever.
Similar to Pexels, Pixabay offers both stock photography and stock footage. Everything on the site is free for personal and commercial use. Also like Pexels, you don’t have to create an account to download from Pixabay.
Ultimately, the two sites offer similar functionality, so check out both to expand your content options. The clearest difference between the two is that Pixabay also offers royalty-free music downloads, so you can find audio clips at the same time as your footage.
Videvo is another useful resource for stock footage, with over 15,000 clips available. With Videvo, though, you’ll want to note the specific license for each clip. All Videvo content is free for personal and commercial use, but some content (content under the Videvo Attribution License) requires you to credit the artist when you use it.
In addition to stock footage, Videvo offers royalty-free music tracks and sound effect downloads. Also note that with Videvo, you do have to create an account before you can successfully download anything.
Rounding out our free recommendations, Splitshire is unique in that all the content offered on the site was personally created by its founder, Daniel Nanescu. This dynamic gives the clips on Splitshire a slightly different feel than the other sites on this list, which source material from content creators across the globe.
Splitshire stock footage is free for personal and commercial use. The only exception is “inappropriate” projects, which the site defines as those that “incite or promote violence, racism, discrimination, prejudice, or intolerance toward any individual or group, religion, sexuality, gender, or political view.”
Paid Stock Footage Libraries
Storyblocks offers paid content, but its model is unique in that you don’t pay by the clip—you pay a subscription fee for access as either an individual or an enterprise.
For individuals, there are three tiers of membership. The basic video package costs $99 a year and gives you access to five HD video downloads a month. The unlimited video package costs $199 and lets you download footage to your heart’s content. The unlimited all-access package is the most comprehensive, offering unlimited downloads of HD footage, 4k footage, and bonus content like stock photos and sound effects for $349 per year. (Note that each tier also offers a monthly payment option, but the monthly billing cycles cost more than the annual billing cycles.)
The membership model that Storyblocks provides is perfect for individuals or teams that have robust stock footage needs. It’s also great for use cases that require flexibility. If you want to download and test 20 different clips before committing, Storyblocks saves you from having to pay for all 20 of those clips individually.
Dissolve is another library of high-quality stock footage and imagery, but unlike Storyblocks, you do pay by the clip. An SD clip will cost $29. On the other end of the spectrum, a 4K clip will cost anywhere from $49 to $549.
Dissolve footage is protected by either a royalty-free license or a rights-protected license. In the latter case, the pricing reflects the intended use case for the footage, so you’ll choose from a drop-down menu to describe your project before seeing the cost.
Pond5 houses the world’s largest collection of royalty-free stock footage, with over 20 million clips total and thousands of new clips added every day. The pricing structure for Pond5 footage is incredibly versatile. You can pay by the clip, pre-fund your account with credits, or choose a monthly or annual membership. It’s safe to say that the site has an option that will work for you, no matter what your situation calls for.
Pond5 also has an award-winning visual search feature, so you can find a clip that matches any composition or color palette you come across.
After browsing the footage on these sites, we’re confident that you’ll start to see stock footage for what it really is: an incredible opportunity to find the exact clip your project needs without filming it yourself. Say goodbye to cheesy stock content—these seven platforms prove what’s possible in the stock space, and it’s only getting better over time.
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