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What to Expect From Your Stock Footage Video Project

June 1, 2023 5 min read444

Stock footage can be a wonderful resource to add unique visuals to your video project. When capturing the exact footage you’re looking for may be challenging, time-consuming, or expensive, stock footage is the perfect way to enhance your video project and help tell your story.

If your next video project may include stock footage clips, here’s an overview of the process so you know what to expect.

What Is Stock Footage?

Stock footage is video footage that has been recorded by a videographer outside of our Lemonlight community. Our relationships with third-party stock footage vendors allow us to purchase those video clips for use in client projects, helping to fill the gaps for footage that is too difficult or expensive to film within your project scope. 

Stock footage clips have watermarks to ensure that the content can’t be used without payment. In order to remove the watermark, you have to pay for the clip and its appropriate usage rights. Why? The videographer who captured the footage owns the rights to the clip, so your fee serves as a royalty to unlock access to its use.

Through our stock partners, we have access to millions of stock clips that cover just about any scenario you can imagine. Videographers worldwide contribute to stock footage libraries, sharing unique, niche content that may one day be needed by clients like you. The clips themselves fall into two main categories, which we’ll explore in more detail below. 

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Types of Stock Footage

The two main categories for stock footage are basic clips and premium clips. 

Basic clips feature simple images that are more generic in nature. They’re high-quality and can work very well for specific use cases, but they can sometimes have the look or feel of stereotypical “stock” clips. In other words, when you work with basic clips, you may feel like you’re accessing imagery that you’ve seen in other videos. However, if you need a quick shot of a common scene, like a generic office meeting or a beach sunset, basic clips may be just what you need. 

Premium clips, on the other hand, feature more unique images with highly specific details. The quality of the clips tends to be higher, and you’re less likely to feel like you’ve encountered the same content in other videos.

If you have strict criteria for what you’d like to see in your stock clip, premium clips are more likely to fit the bill. For example, a standard cityscape shot might be a basic clip, while a cityscape featuring a woman in her 40s walking down the sidewalk holding an ice cream cone would be a premium clip. Fortunately, you might be surprised at just how much high-quality content is available online and how many of these details we can fulfill for clients.

With those distinctions in mind, how do we decide what’s best for your video? Let’s take a closer look at our stock video process here at Lemonlight.

Lemonlight’s Stock Video Process

At Lemonlight, whether you’re creating a fully curated video—videos that utilize existing assets including stock footage, product renderings, or screen captures—or just supplementing new footage with stock content, we begin by determining your stock footage budget during pre-production. We’ll handle the process of purchasing the rights to the clip on your behalf and bill you for the cost of the footage, so it’s important to get a clear understanding of how much you’re willing to spend.

We’ll also need to know the types of shots you want to include and how specific you’d like to be about the clip’s details. As you can probably tell from our explanation above, this helps us understand whether we’ll be focusing primarily on basic clips or premium clips for your content. 

For budget context, basic stock footage will typically cost roughly $30 per second, so a 30-second video made entirely of stock footage would cost about $900. This benchmark can be helpful in assessing what you’ll be able to create within your budget. If you know you’ll need to work with premium footage for more specific shots, it’ll cost roughly $60 per second, or $1,800 for a full 30-second video. 

Once we understand your budget and which visuals in your video need to be filled in with stock footage, our expert post-production team will begin sourcing the perfect clips for your needs. They’ll pore through all the available content from our stock footage partners to match available content with your budget and narrative needs. 

When we send the first draft of your video content (or, in some cases, a storyboard), you’ll be able to see the watermarked content in action. This will be your opportunity to review and approve the stock footage we’ve selected. If you’d like us to swap out any of the clips, we’ll find appropriate replacements and share an updated cut of your video.

When you approve the stock footage clips, we’ll complete the video’s final details, like adding any graphics you may have paid for. Then, when you approve the final cut of your video with all the finishing touches complete, we’ll provide you with the total cost for all the stock footage we used throughout. This will be the final amount we’ll charge you for.

Last but not least, we’ll purchase the footage on your behalf, remove the watermarks, and deliver your video file! From that point forward, you’ll be free to use and distribute the video as you please, and we’ll celebrate another successful project in the books.

If you have any questions about stock footage projects, we’d love to hear from you. Schedule a call with our creative team to learn more about the process and how stock footage can take your video content to the next level. 

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