As video becomes the norm in web content we have the challenge of supplying that need within our clients’ budget. It was tricky enough getting business owners to pay up for decent images a decade ago and now we have the same problem with video – which is considerably more expensive.
As always, that demand has been met by various platforms that now offer cheap access to video footage. We even have a few free options floating around which can come in genuinely handy. So here’s a quick run down of the best sources for stock video I’ve been using.
The budget options
If you’re after some basic footage for something like a hero background, then you might get what you need from budget clips. The quality of footage on some of the budget/free options is surprisingly good. The limitation tends to be choice, but you can only be so fussy at the bottom end of the price range.
Videohive comes with a wide range of stock footage, motion backgrounds, animations and other visuals recorded or designed by professionals. You generally pay $10-$20 per clip and you can filter your search by category, tags, length, resolution and price.
Pixabay is probably the only resource I would recommend to anyone for free images. There’s more to Pixabay than photos though; it’s also an impressive collection of public domain video clips. Which means you can use them and edit them for free, without attribution, on any commercial project.
Pexels Videos is much like Pixabay in the sense you can use and edit videos for free, without attribution. The kind of videos on offer are very similar too, although Pexels tends to stick to live-action footage, rather than any digital rendering or animation. The only reason I prefer Pixabay, though, is because the Pexels preview system can be painfully sluggish.
If you can’t find the clips you need in the budget or free options, then you’ll have to up your budget (or your client’s). You’ll find most of the paid stock video platforms allow you to buy individual clips or sign up to a membership for reduced rates. These sites also do stock images and other types of media, which might make the membership more appealing.
Shutterstock is basically the go-to name when it comes to stock media and it has the largest selection of videos from the places I’ve used. It’s particularly good if you have clients in the travel or food industry where you really need the right selection and quality.
Not as well-known as Shutterstock, Dissolve also comes with a smaller library. It’s still a good alternative option if you take the pay-per-clip approach. There’s a strong emphasis on people, places and art with Dissolve. It’s a good place if you need clips of musicians, dancers, artists, skateboarders and other people plying their skills.
Pond5 is a newer entry into the stock footage market but it aims to up the quality. It can be more expensive than the other options if you pay-per-clip but the memberships are nowhere near the price of Sutterstock. It’s by far the smallest collection of videos from the sources I’ve mentioned today but it’s another option for your list.
Of course, there’s a limit to what you can do with stock footage. You’re not going to get a promotional video out of these sites but they can prove useful. If stock video isn’t going to cut it and your clients need a more customised approach then they have to accept paying more. That said, there are a few budget video editors we look at in a recent article that can be of some help.