Creating Stock Footage for Online Sale: Tips on Selling Your Film Shots

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Going Back to the Stock

Stock footage is one of the most important parts of filmmaking, especially for those who do not have the resources to get every image. Both documentary and narrative films employ stock footage as ways of showing videos of places and events that are either part of the story space or can help illustrate a point. Right now there are large libraries of stock footage being developed as a commercial enterprise. From here filmmakers can then purchase stock footage to use in their films, which can often be cheaper than producing the image yourself. Many videographers are now finding ways to produce stock footage for sale to distribution companies. This can be a lucrative option that requires you to think creatively about independent images that do not hold any context.

Footage Type

There are a number of web services that will take your footage and help you sell them, but most of them will not take everything that you have. They usually have to approve the footage and they will often deny footage that is common. For example, you may have trouble selling video footage of Los Angeles beaches, yet will have better luck at a rare beach in a foreign country. The best way to balance this is to look at the footage you have and run it on keywords through the website you are thinking about using for distribution. If you do not get any similar footage then you may be looking good.


Another consideration is the quality of the footage you have. If you are using low end film stock or amateur camcorder footage you are going to have a tough time selling it. Instead you are going to want to shoot this video with the best possible equipment that you can find and even possibly altered during post-production. Your stock footage has to have professional quality so that it can match in to other projects.


You have to keep legal concerns present with your stock footage as well. Make sure that you have photo releases for everyone you possibly can unless it is in a clear public place where there is no expectation of privacy. This is also true with brand names, trademarks, copyrighted background imagery, and other things that may be a problem.


From here you have to find a proper website for selling your stock footage. is a very common one that allows you to submit footage for sale. You then end up getting twenty to forty percent of the ticket price of your video. There are several others including and that do similar services. If you just want to get some of your footage out there first you may want to go for some free services, such as the Prelinger archive at

This post is part of the series: Stock Footage

Here are a series of articles that deal with the production, edit, and sale of stock footage.

  1. Tips for Filming Your Own Stock Footage
  2. Creating Stock Footage for Online Sale
  3. Tips for Editing Stock Footage
  4. Tips for Inserting Stock Footage into an Editing Project