|$100 Bills Raining Down – US|
The easiest way to make money selling stock footage is to get someone else to sell it for you. Sure the stock footage agencies you contribute to take a large percentage of your royalties, but you are responsibility free. All you need to do is sit back and watch the money roll in…unless you want to make even more money in which case you should get busy making more stock footage.
Should I register to sell my stock footage with one or many agencies? Some stock footage agencies offer higher royalty rates if you contribute to them exclusively. Personally I think you’re better off contributing to a few agencies. Which stock footage agencies are the best? From my experience iStockphoto, Pond5, Shutterstock, Clipcanvas and Revostock are by far the most lucrative. Other agencies I have contributed to include ClipDealer, Fotolia, CanStockPhoto and Motiondrops. Why not contribute to every stock footage agency I find? You have to decide whether your time is better spent uploading and tagging videos or producing more content.
Which stock footage sells best? The best way to see what sells is to do some research. I like to do my research at iStockphoto since they allow you to see roughly how many times each video has been downloaded. For example if I do a search on iStockphoto for clown, only 100 videos are available and the most popular one has only been downloaded >30 times in over 4 years. You can interpret this in two ways; people aren’t interested in purchasing footage of clowns or they didn’t like any of the footage on offer. At the top of your search results you can select Sort by Downloads to see which footage has had the most downloads. Scroll to the bottom of your search results and click on Display Settings, under File Details select Downloads to see how many times each video has been downloaded directly in your search results. iStockphoto Trends is a helpful page that lists the best selling videos, don’t forget to select Video from the drop down menu to see the statistics for stock footage.
If you see something that sells well and you think you can do it better or present it in a new light go for it. Alternatively you can try and find a hole in the market and fill it.
Produce your stock footage at Full HD 1920×1080 using progressive frames rather than interlaced. Also keep in mind that Quad Full HD 3840×2160 will most likely be the standard within a few years. Stereo 3D stock footage is now available at some agencies but I don’t forsee it taking a big piece of the market until their is a larger adoption and use of 3D televisions. Some agencies to consider contributing stereo 3D stock footage to include Artbeats (must be exclusive), Stereobank and Pond5.
Give your stock footage as much exposure as possible. Logicaly the more people who see your stock footage the more sales you’re likely to get. Uploading to Youtube and Vimeo with links to where your stock footage can be purchased is a great start. Keep in mind you can only use Vimeo for business or commercial purposes with the purchase of a Vimeo PRO account.
Having my stock footage on Youtube and Vimeo has also landed me some freelance work from international clients on projects like The Darkest Hour film and the Maritime Xperiential Museum Typhoon Theatre ride on Sentosa Island in Singapore.
|Growing Global Network|
My best selling stock footage is Growing Global Network and Jellyfish Nightlights. Growing Global Network sells well because of its universal appeal, it can represent anything from the expansion of a business to the spread of a virus. On the other hand Jellyfish Nightlights sells well because it fills a whole in the market. The hole exits because filming something similar would be difficult and generating it in 3D isn’t easy.
If you keep your stock footage under 30 seconds in duration, under 750MB’s in size and encode it as a Quicktime (Photo-JPEG at 95% quality) you will meet the submission requirements of most of the stock footage agencies.
Uploading and assigning keywords to your stock footage. The easiest way to upload your footage to the majority of agencies is via FTP. I use a simple free FTP client called Filezilla. iStockphoto punishes its non-exclusive contributors by forcing them to upload via their website. Keywording or tagging refers to the task of assigning keywords to your footage. Stock footage agencies use a combination of your title, keywords and a myriad of other statistics to decide what results to show potential buyers when they do a search. All stock footage agencies require 50 or less keywords for each video. After I’ve run out of ideas for keywords I have a couple of tools I use to help out; Yuri Arcurs Keyword Tool and Googles Keyword Tool. If you’re are still a few keywords short, simply search for similar footage on iStockphoto and see what keywords other contributors are using. Deep Meta is an awesome free tool for managing your iStockphoto portfolio.
Keep a spreadsheet record of the titles, descriptions and keywords used for all your videos. This is useful
if you decide to contribute to other agencies in the future or if you produce a similar video.
How much money can I make? As you can see from the graph bellow, it doesn’t take long before people start buying your stock footage and sales start to ramp up. For something you can do in your spare time the extra money in your pocket is worth it. I haven’t uploaded any new stock footage in the last 12 months and sales are still on the rise with my most profitable month ever in January 2012.
Can I make a living from selling stock footage? From my own experience, I see the potential too. I think the best approach would be to work on it part-time for a couple of years until you have built up a large portfolio, then when your stock footage income can supplement your regular income quit your day job and work on it full time.
Due to the ever increasing pool of available stock footage and changing market you could never stop producing content and expect to maintain the same income.
We look forward to reading your comments and will gladly answer any questions you might have. Check back for monthly sales reports. To follow is a list of stock footage agencies to consider contributing to, I suggest starting with the top row.
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