Stock Videos vs. Your Footage

We live in a world with infinite outsourcing options. For pretty much any job you perform in-house, there are probably hundreds of companies out there that would gladly take over the responsibilities. Video production is no different. For any bit of footage you can capture by packing up a camera and going to a location, there’s probably already professionally produced stock videos you can buy on the internet somewhere.

Of course, I’m referring to stock footage, and there certainly is no shortage of sites providing these types of videos. It makes a lot of sense to incorporate these into your videos. At the same time, there are some things to take note of before you decide to completely rely on stock videos.

Pros of Stock Footage

Professional footage you can use immediately

We’ve seen a drastic increase in the popularity of stock footage. Filmmakers can find finished footage within minutes and have an instant ability to use it in our own video. It can often take several hours or even a full day to set your equipment up to get the same type of footage, not to mention the added time of post-production to ensure top quality. With stock footage, you see the fully finished product before even making a purchase.

Complicated set pieces

We produce a healthy number of videos for Personal Injury Law Firms. These messages tend to include some intricate set designs and/or people with actual injuries. In lieu of organizing a production where we crash two cars into each other, we could find some stock footage that presents the same scene without hindering our intended message.

Talent requirements can also put a strain on productions. If you have a message that requires a number of people on screen, using stock footage of the scene could help save significant time and manpower needed to cast and schedule the needed talent yourself.

Cons of Stock Footage


Teams will often produce stock videos with a simple goal in mind: To make them as widely usable as possible. It needs to be as relevant for filmmakers in New York as those in North Dakota. For instance, say we produce a stock video of a car crash that happens to have palm trees in the video. No one producing videos for an inland client would choose to use your footage.

If you’re producing videos for local clients, it’s absolutely worth the effort to capture a “local flavor” with your messaging. Setting up productions that include relevant landmarks and locality can help your local message land more successfully with your audience.

Loss of Authenticity

Since stock videos are vague by design, many audiences will be able to see through the lack of authenticity. For branded auto dealerships, it would serve the client much better to produce footage of their store and their inventory. You would probably stay away from stock videos of some generic dealership with unspecified inventory.

Similarly, by using someone else’s stock footage, you are inherently settling for someone else’s vision. Sure, it may fit within your vision in ways, but the most authentic method of following through on your creative vision is to simply produce it yourself.

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