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DevonChris

Camera to shoot stock video?

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1 hour ago, kye said:

I have spoken to a few people who make money from stock footage (I'm not an expert by any means) but what I was told is that a few clips will sell like hot-cakes and the majority will hardly sell at all, and you can never predict which is which, so you basically try and output as many clips as possible to maximise your chances.  They also said that things can sit and sell solidly for years, decades sometimes (I got told about real examples of stills imagery doing this).  It's a long game that takes ages to build income but can have a return that also lasts a long time, your historical content also supports longevity of sales.

I wouldnt be very optimistic about the long term income prospects for stock video

Take this site...

https://www.shutterstock.com/

Look at the stock video rates - typically US$79 for a 1080p clip and US$199 for 4k - sounds like a good business right?

Then take a look at the stock photo rates on the same site. A US$29 monthly fee gets you 10 images or US$2.9 an image. And if you want a lot of images a month, you can get them for as little as 27cents an image.

Essentially stock  photo prices have fallen by over 95% in the past 15 years (with the democratisation of photography). I know of 3 photographers who 15 years ago were working full time on stock photography (for Getty) and say they were making a very good living. Now they make almost nothing.

My guess is that video is probably half way through that democratisation process (which basically ends with everyone having decent video, video af, stabilisation on their cameras.) And it is pretty likely stock video prices will fall pretty rapidly.

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8 hours ago, Robert Collins said:

I wouldnt be very optimistic about the long term income prospects for stock video

Take this site...

https://www.shutterstock.com/

Look at the stock video rates - typically US$79 for a 1080p clip and US$199 for 4k - sounds like a good business right?

Then take a look at the stock photo rates on the same site. A US$29 monthly fee gets you 10 images or US$2.9 an image. And if you want a lot of images a month, you can get them for as little as 27cents an image.

Essentially stock  photo prices have fallen by over 95% in the past 15 years (with the democratisation of photography). I know of 3 photographers who 15 years ago were working full time on stock photography (for Getty) and say they were making a very good living. Now they make almost nothing.

My guess is that video is probably half way through that democratisation process (which basically ends with everyone having decent video, video af, stabilisation on their cameras.) And it is pretty likely stock video prices will fall pretty rapidly.

I agree with your analysis, however don't mistake overall trends with niche markets or individuals.

If there's a niche that is unfulfilled and the OP fills it, it could work well.  In terms of how risky it is, that's something for the OP to assess.

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On 5/3/2018 at 6:58 AM, DevonChris said:

Hi

I am thinking about shooting stock video footage. Most of it will be outdoors, but I might extend into interior shots such as food, where I can control the lighting.

My thoughts are to aim for 4K 10 bit 4:2:2 delivery so the GH5 looks ideal.

I am considering either a GH4/Atomos Inferno or GH5 internal 10 bit to get started. Should I be considering something else?

I currently use Fujifilm XT2's for photography but there are no 10 bit recording capabilities with these.

Thanks, for your thoughts.

Phantom 4 Professional.

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1 hour ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

Phantom 4 Professional.

Ha ha - good suggestion, however in the UK we need to get a commercial drone pilots licence if we use a drone for anything where you are earning money such as acquiring stock photos/footage.

We have Dartmoor National Park on our doorstep and some great coastline about 1 hours drive away so it is possible to get some amazing drone footage, although there is quite a lot of that available already.

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12 hours ago, kye said:

At the risk of getting flamed (yet again) for posting logic instead of camera specifications, here is my take on it.

  • You are talking about starting a business - therefore this is a business question not just a technical question
  • You should be choosing your equipment based upon two factors: what type of files will sell, and what it will cost you to get those files to market
  • I have spoken to a few people who make money from stock footage (I'm not an expert by any means) but what I was told is that a few clips will sell like hot-cakes and the majority will hardly sell at all, and you can never predict which is which, so you basically try and output as many clips as possible to maximise your chances.  They also said that things can sit and sell solidly for years, decades sometimes (I got told about real examples of stills imagery doing this).  It's a long game that takes ages to build income but can have a return that also lasts a long time, your historical content also supports longevity of sales.
  • So my recommendation about what will sell is to future proof yourself with formats.  4K was a dream only recently and now my phone does 4K60 - these things change quickly.  More resolution might be useful for things other than broadcast standards (3d trackers for example love resolution).  The cost of your camera is only a small part of the total time to identify locations, research best shooting times of day and seasons, arrange permission and releases, travel there, setup, shoot, as well as all the post-production, media management, and management of a sales pipeline.
  • In terms of what it costs to get files to market you should consider what formats might be easier to handle in post.  If you're shipping the files straight-out-of-camera then it's a question of what the sites you're selling on or end-customers will require, otherwise you should consider what transcoding or other conversions are required.  Not all media standards are created equal.

I hope this proves useful - and best of luck finding those winning clips that sell regularly and turning this into a profitable venture!

It may sound like I’m a newbie to stock footage/photos, but actually I still have a portfolio of footage which I put up onto a few agencies about ten years ago. I just want to get back into it again now as I have a bit more spare time.

You are absolutely correct in not being able to predict what sells. My best selling footage is a of a hand (mine) putting coins into a piggy bank, I shot that on a Canon 550D (T2i) 8 years ago with the lighting setup, shoot and editing taking not much more than 20 minutes in total.

It’s an appealing business model whereby you can have a long earnings tail from your portfolio, but I am the first to admit that it is really competitive and very hit and miss. You also need a huge number of clips to get over its randomness,

I’m not considering this as a main earnings stream, but more of an add on to my client work and other earnings streams.  

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4 hours ago, DevonChris said:

Ha ha - good suggestion, however in the UK we need to get a commercial drone pilots licence if we use a drone for anything where you are earning money such as acquiring stock photos/footage.

We have Dartmoor National Park on our doorstep and some great coastline about 1 hours drive away so it is possible to get some amazing drone footage, although there is quite a lot of that available already.

Same here in the US of A. When I got my drone pilots license* the test is US $150 in the states, and quite frankly, even if I wasn't interested in flying legal, studying for the test is really helpful. I shoot real estate (both photos and video) and it is - in my opinion essential. Very happy I got it. If getting your drone license in the UK isn't too expensive, I would highly suggest looking into it.

*Technically the term here in the States is Unmanned Small Aircraft System Airman Certificate

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These are the details for the UK drone permissions. The problem is that you have have to prove competence with an approved training company that costs well over £1000 for a three day course, so obtaining these permissions can be expensive.

Of course, this is also an opportunity as it presents a barrier to entry for commercial drone work and footage.

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On 3/5/2018 at 10:02 PM, HockeyFan12 said:

Not at all. I wrote technical image quality. (We might also aim for a better image aesthetically, but I suspect no one here is getting close to that!)

It makes sense. On a bigger production you have massive lighting set ups to reduce your need for dynamic range in the camera. And generally your output is 2k DCP on a feature for a (low contrast) movie projector and then maybe a blu ray for tv, where that's all you need. 35mm film is less sharp than an Alexa which is less sharp than a GH4, let alone a GH5 or A6300. Just look at some film scans from blu rays, and that's with post sharpening. Red made this fuss about how film is "3.2k" but that was 20% MTF on 50D film shot perfectly and scanned and sharpened and I think they still fudged it. With 500T film you're not getting close, particularly with Fuji (which aesthetically is gorgeous). Whereas the Alexa might be 100% mtf to 2k, and overall that looks a lot sharper because the integral of the area under the mtf curve is greater than film's, where it slopes toward lower mtf values sooner even if extinction might be a little later.

On a desktop monitor (particularly with HDR) you benefit more from a sharper, higher resolution image–often desktop displays are in excess of UHD–and with better dynamic range. I suspect there's a reason Netflix is 4k and network tv isn't (though some shows are starting to be finished in 4k due to the popularity of streaming services, which I suspect is why Arri released the LF). Desktop displays are sharper and closer to the eyes than tvs or projectors so you need a lot more resolution.

This is why I was rightly made fun of for saying 1080p was enough for my YouTube vlog. It is for me because I can't justify spending more on a camera, but that isn't to say it is for everyone!

The broadcast specs are for the A camera. I've worked on a lot of broadcast shows (in a very minor role) and there is a lot of go pro footage and stock footage in them and it's often 1080p or worse. If 4k were available the client would have paid a premium for it, but as long as it's properly exposed HD, you've got a better image than you need.

Of course, if you're shooting rather generic footage, image quality will be a better differentiating factor since there's already a lot of cityscapes, etc. If you're shooting a shark attack, less so, because there's less supply there and more demand. There might be a whole new market emerging for 120p 4k 15+ stop HDR-ready stock, one that presumably would pay a huge premium, but that seems like a steep cost of entry. 

To caveat that, I see VFX elements at 6k+ being sold online sometimes, and the higher the resolution there, the more they cost. So for vfx elements where they might be heavily scaled and manipulated, you might want higher resolutions and frame rates. But the BBC specs are for the A camera, it's not a big deal for stock footage if you don't meet them.

what do you on these productions? From your writing I would bet that you just finished film school, or something.

There are EBU standards, that include all major European networks. These are the standards we follow here in Europe.

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On 03/05/2018 at 6:34 PM, HockeyFan12 said:

. I remember on Wolf of Wall Street (which I didn't work on, I wish I could have!) they used iPhone 5 footage for a shot. I never noticed in the theater. Some of the drone footage was also 1080p 8 bit (C500 but without an internal recorder).

https://www.fxguide.com/featured/boom-times-the-wolf-of-wall-street/

This article says they used a C500 with the Gemini recorder (12-bit)  and shot in 4K. Actually worth a read besides that too. 

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On 5/4/2018 at 12:59 AM, Robert Collins said:

I wouldnt be very optimistic about the long term income prospects for stock video

Take this site...

https://www.shutterstock.com/

Look at the stock video rates - typically US$79 for a 1080p clip and US$199 for 4k - sounds like a good business right?

Then take a look at the stock photo rates on the same site. A US$29 monthly fee gets you 10 images or US$2.9 an image. And if you want a lot of images a month, you can get them for as little as 27cents an image.

That is only one model for selling photographs.  I've never sold a royalty free photograph for pennies.  I agree those schemes erode prices but there is no need for anyone to participate.  You can sell photographs "rights managed" for hundreds or thousands of dollars.  In fact higher quality businesses do NOT use those penny royalty free images and they never will.  If you value your brand and spend millions on an ad campaign the last thing you want is any other joker to be able to grab the images you popularize for pennies and erode your brand value.

Photo prices have definitely collapsed but pennies an image is not what even hobbyist like myself sell our best work for.

On 5/4/2018 at 4:56 PM, DevonChris said:

These are the details for the UK drone permissions. The problem is that you have have to prove competence with an approved training company that costs well over £1000 for a three day course, so obtaining these permissions can be expensive.

Of course, this is also an opportunity as it presents a barrier to entry for commercial drone work and footage.

Do you have to get a license if you are just starting out?  Does anyone police this?

Anyone can go out and shoot drone footage as an amateur.  They can't prove you are a pro.  If a year later you sell your work through an agency are the police going to demand the identity and citizenship of everyone selling clips and check to see if they have a license?

Honestly I don't even do the paperwork to declare my stock visual sales on my taxes.  I don't write off the cost of the equipment so I don't bother to alert the Feds to a few thousand dollars here and there.  If it became a bigger thing of course I would formalize everything.

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Do you have to get a license if you are just starting out?  Does anyone police this?

Probably not, but if something goes wrong, for example crashing your drone on a car roof, then questions will be asked. As I am a content creator and do write off equipment against taxes, then I am a pro.

It would be legitimate to buy a drone as a hobby and start out without a licence though, but idk about insurance, or even if you need insurance at that level.

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On 04/05/2018 at 5:23 AM, jonpais said:

VR or HDR footage might be the next big thing. 

VR will always be the next big thing (like 3D has been for the past 60 years)

HDR will become the norm matching the display technology.

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On 5/4/2018 at 2:56 PM, DevonChris said:

These are the details for the UK drone permissions. The problem is that you have have to prove competence with an approved training company that costs well over £1000 for a three day course, so obtaining these permissions can be expensive.

Of course, this is also an opportunity as it presents a barrier to entry for commercial drone work and footage.

In the US, we have verifly, which is $10 for one hour of liability coverage up to a million US. In theory, this will cover those who fly as a "hobby" or those who fly professionally. Maybe there is some sort of similar service in the UK???

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Obviously get the best you can afford, but stock video is one of those things where subject matter truly is king.

My best selling clips are old 720p clips shot on a Panasonic HMC150. They still sell regularly today.

 

 

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