The Pros and Cons of Using Stock Video Footage

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It’s a big question! If you are looking to use stock video footage but unsure if it will take away from your brand, you’ve come to the right place. Use these tips to weigh up the value of using stock footage to ensure your video marketing efforts are achieving the right results.

What is stock footage?

Stock footage refers to video clips that have been professionally shot and intended to be used again in other video productions such as social media videos, Vlogs, interviews or any other marketing campaign. Stock footage, stock video, a stock shot or b-roll is usually a clip less than 1 minute in length and created to represent a generic topic. Therefore, the footage can be used across a variety of video production styles and formats. You can find stock footage for a wide range of categories, from business and lifestyle to outdoors and travel, as well as aerial drone footage and much more. Stock footage can either be rights-managed or royalty-free. Rights-managed stock footage requires the user to purchase a one-off usage license. Whereas royalty-free stock footage is able to be used multiple times once the license is purchased Royalty-free stock footage can cost the user, or in the case of this site, Mixkit, be completely free.

Why marketers use stock footage?

Brands cannot be built on words alone. Imagery, graphics, and videos help to tell a brand’s story. Today, with video consumption at an all-time high, marketers can get creative with how they tell stories with stock footage and use clips in a myriad of ways such as:

For more ways of how you can incorporate stock footage into your video content marketing, check out the article 7 creative ways marketers can use stock footage.

The advantages of Using Stock Footage

1. Tell your story more effectively

Stock footage can be an awesome option to have onboard to tell your story better. It can help you frame your production, fill in gaps, and maintain quality. Ultimately, stock footage can give your video production a sense of flow by acting as a bridge from scene to scene. Another reason stock footage assists in telling your story, is by the range of clips available. You can choose from pan shots, extreme closeups or wide shots, to give clarity to your story and help your audience follow along with ease. For example, if you are producing a personal training video you could establish the location by including stock footage of people working out in a gym.

2. Save Time

Using great stock footage is a massive time saver. The time saved by not having to scope for a location, find talent or set up a shoot, can be better spent on editing or finishing other jobs. There are tough time constraints on delivering videos. By finding high-quality stock footage online, you can crush those time pressure demands. 

Did you know, 83% of marketers would increase their reliance on video as a strategy if there were no obstacles like time, resources, and budget.


3. Save money

There is a good reason why stock libraries are well received by budget-conscious marketers, amateur film producers and even professionals alike! When you choose free, high quality, royalty-free stock footage, you can create videos with no budget at all! While some royalty-free stock footage sites may charge a fee, it is likely going to be a lot less than having to film the shot yourself. 

4. High quality and professionally created

Choosing to use stock video footage does not mean you have to compromise on quality. Stock footage is often produced by professional videographers who use fantastic equipment and have an eye for detail. You may also be able to choose the resolution option of Full HD (1920×1080 or 4K) for the footage. By selecting high-quality stock footage, you are able to seamlessly incorporate each shot into your projects. 

5. When you can’t get that shot

What if you need an aerial view shot of the ocean, but your friend has taken your drone overseas and you aren’t that tall even on the best of days? Stock footage saves the day! It is great for achieving those difficult, expensive or impossible shots within a tight deadline and budget. Often there is no need to reinvent the wheel. For example, if you are looking for an aerial ocean shot, look no further!

6. Versatile uses

The wide range of stock footage available unlocks hundreds of creative uses. For example, the same beach video can be used for an advertisement with a text overlay. Or separately as backing to a music track when changed to black and white. 

The problem with using stock footage

1. It’s not unique footage

The fact of the matter is, stock footage is available to everyone, so it may not be the most unique shot to use. A way to differentiate stock footage is to incorporate brand elements like colors, fonts, and supers with your brand’s style.

2. Stock can be too… Stock

Overly staged and full of cliches are two attributes you will see regularly if you have ever scrolled through a stock library. Finding relatable footage (especially featuring people) can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible!

3. It can be expensive 

Some stock footage websites charge a pretty penny for both single and multi-use licenses for videos. The higher the quality and less cliched, the more a clip can go for. Luckily for you, you’re on the Mixkit website and all of our clips are free! 

4. Understanding copyright and licensing terms

It is important to understand the fine print! Do your due diligence with the stock footage website as well as the company that the video be used on before purchasing or featuring any stock footage. If you use the footage incorrectly this could lead to costly consequences.

How to use stock footage to not harm your brand

It is a great idea to look out for clips that are consistent with the look and feel as the rest of your video and that complement your brand. Pick out color tones, lighting and angles to avoid making a mismatching video. This also means to avoid stock footage that looks posed or staged, but rather look for believable footage that doesn’t distract viewers from the rest of the project. Working with a plan and script from the beginning will help you avoid non-complementary footage.

There are incredibly creative ways to use stock footage, and with high-quality libraries filled with royalty-free footage across a range of categories, finding the appropriate clip for your brand has never been easier. With the time and budget efficiencies that stock footage can contribute to a brand-related project, every marketer should be considering stock footage for their next video.