In general, stock footage has no boundaries; you can shoot what you want, where you want, when you want — and someone, somewhere will need that shot in their timeline. However, that’s not to say you can shoot anything and sell it thousands of times over – its important to understand your audience and what they’re looking for.
There are some stock video shots that are just a step above the rest in terms of general popularity. These are the shots that everyone should have in their portfolios, and will get downloads year after year.
1. Motion Graphics and Footage Backgrounds:
The reason why abstract backgrounds are so popular is usability. Abstract backgrounds can be applied in a wide variety of situations such as After Effects intros, green screen applications and overlaying onto footage to create cool effects. They can be created in software such as After Effects or shot on a camera. If you’re creating backgrounds from scratch in After Effects, try and ensure your backgrounds are looping animations – this will increase the usability factor by an order of magnitude. If you’re filming a scene to be used as a background, you can sometimes edit the clip in post so that it loops – this takes a bit of work, and may not even be possible if the scene has multiple variable elements.
2. Business Related:
One of the top users of stock video are businesses, or producers working on behalf of businesses. They need stock for presentations, big screens at events, promotional videos and much more. Although this niche is very saturated, there’s always room for another cool business shot in anyone’s stock library.
3. Your Nearest City:
If it’s big enough to be called a city, then someone, somewhere will probably want stock footage of it. When shooting cityscapes it’s important to consider the kinds of shots an end user is likely to need for their production. Think establishers, crowd shots, town centre, land marks — shots that really get the cities identity across will do well here.
4. Something Niche:
Are you well connected? Can you get access to somewhere that not many others can? Flaunt it! The less competition the better and if you are able to get a strong shot of something that’s hard to go out and shoot on a whim then you’re in a very strong position. Here’s a pic of me inside a meercat enclosure. Getting up close and personal in this situation gives me an instant advantage over someone shooting from the other side of the barrier.
Christmas, Valentines Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc. These are all great opportunities to grab the camera and capture some footage of these seasonal holidays. The window is narrow, but every year millions of people will search for this content — if you can create great tailored content for these events it can really boost your earnings.
6. Set up a scene:
Do you or someone you know have an interesting house? What about some interesting props? You’ll be amazed what kind of scenes you can set up with a bit of creativity, and the key here again is thinking about the end user. What is the underlying message of your setup? It’s important to think about what your clips could be used – randomly shooting various sections of your home will not cut it. A small tip here is to de-clutter your shots – often minimalist is the way forward.
7. Something you know:
If you are an expert in a particular field then you should be using this to your advantage. Your shots will have an added level of authenticity that imitators will lack — therefore making the choice of your shot an easy decision.
These are just some very general tips to get you thinking about the kind of shots you’d like to go out and get. I often find that a lot of stock comes in the form of an opportunity you only spot while you’re out and about. If that happens, seize the moment! It might only present itself once.
Thanks for reading, now go out and shoot some stock!