So it occurred to me today as I cursed at the heavens after stubbing my toe on a stack of G-Tech drives that I have literally a crippling amount of footage lying around. As a travel content creator who has produced hundreds of videos around the world I have a robust collection of media to say the lease. It was there in the searing pain as my toe turned blue that I had a moment of clarity and thought to myself, yes, stock footage is the answer.
HOW CAN YOU SELL STOCK FOOTAGE
Frankly I never have given stock footage much thought which is odd considering how much I use stock on jobs creating mood films and pitch decks. I could be sitting on a gold mine (or perhaps a coal mine) of footage. Then came the glaring questions; how does one sell stock footage?
HOW DOES BLACKBOX WORK
There are a ton of sites I know, Getty, Shutterstock, Pond5, Adobe Stock etc … but man it seems like a lot of trouble to upload to each site. That’s exactly what BlackBox does. You upload your clips there, and they distribute it to the other stock agencies. That’s pretty simple. They take a 15% cut on each sale for doing that work for you and you keep ownership of your footage.
They also have a big community of users that can help do the crap work of setting up all your stock footage. Let’s say you have a ton of raw footage but don’t want to edit it down… you can upload it and basically hire someone to do the cutdown, the color, even the metadata and keywording for you. Everyone works off a percentage of the sales, so you are splitting the profit with those that helped get it online. If you want to do all that work yourself and keep as much revenue as possible, then that’s not problem either. That’s what I’ve done because I’m a masochist that likes to render out hundreds of files.
WHAT’S THE PROCESS LIKE
The process is long and formulaic, but sometimes I really like work like that. Loading up all my drone footage from one trip, breaking it out into locations, then cutting it up into clips between 8 – 60 seconds. Grading, then exporting each clip into a folder. Then batch uploading via FTP to BlackBox, batch tagging them, and that’s it. The computer and internet does most of the heavy lifting, and once it’s done, it’s done.
- One stop shopping. Uploads your clips to multiple stock sites for maximized revenue with little work.
- A community that will assist with the more tedious aspects of stock creation giving you more time to watch Frasier.
- Free to sign up, pretty easy interface to upload and you get paid directly to PayPal.
- They take an additional 15% of sales from you, and if you collaborate with others then you will see even less of a return.
- Footage has to be “submitted and reviewed” and it takes anywhere between 3 days and a few weeks to have that done. It also may be rejected.
- May see bigger returns uploading to individual sites, but then again, it would take 4 times as long to do so and you’re making zero bucks using them as a footstool.
THREE TIPS I’VE ALREADY LEARNED
- You need a lot of footage. It’s a numbers game and more is better. It also has to be quality footage because no one is going to pay for garbage. From one drone flight I can usually get out 20-30 unique clips to upload. I have about 30 flights from different cities around the world, so we’re talking about 1k clips more or less, which is a good number to have. Generally you’re going to want to start with at least 100 clips to see any activity at all from what I’ve read.
- Sequences are good to have. In my case I have drone and camera footage that matches. As an editor I’m always looking for multiple clips of the same subject to create stories. Selling them as a “series” helps make them valuable.
- It is time consuming and patient work. Lots of cutting, lots of exporting, lots of tagging. Pour a long drink and sit down to knock the work out. Be very organized so if something doesn’t upload or you need to make a correction you can easily do so.
Im looking forward to see what comes out of this. More than anything I’m just happy that all this footage has the chance to live out in the world somewhere, as part of some new project. That and the millions of dollars I’m going to make from droning sunsets. All in all I just started yesterday, so I will be updating this post as I go. Stay tuned and happy shooting!
Sept 26th, 2019