You might have come across my thread on how to make money selling stock footage.
If you did and want more information...
THIS IS FOR YOU…….!!!!!!
How I got into this:
Last year when I was backpacking SE Asia, I met a couple who traveled for their work and on the side shot stock footage around the niche - “traveling couple interactions.” This is going out to dinners, cinematic interactions, filming each other walking down beaches holding hands, basically creating content that brands/companies can license off stock sites to use in their videos to target couples.
I was in shock, I never knew about this. They told me they had over 3000 clips up on sites from over 3 years of shooting and on average made around $2500+ a month. They had mentioned some months spike and they would make $5000+ (pre-summer months when tourism companies need marketing assets).
There is money to be made everywhere on the internet….
Once I learned I could sell my footage I started compiling my best drone shots, That is where my shots are the strongest
And learning about where I should sell it
First off, I made a few mistakes, some sites don’t let you duplicate postings, they will ask you if it’s being sold elsewhere, you can’t have listings on multiple sites unless you use Blackbox global to distribute (recommended)
To be 100% upfront honest with you, the video I tweeted had one direct sale for $700 to a tourism brand plus other sales from stock sites.
Not every sale will make you big earnings, it will all vary.
However, some sales if you decide to curate yourself could be around $120 per sale
I like to shop footage around via email, build a dropbox folder, upload 50 clips with my watermark, ready to go footage for whatever creative they wish to use it for, and send a bunch of emails. Mass blast clips to brands to license and use for creatives, ad videos, websites, anything.
Outside of stock site sales, I sell 1-3 clips a month to brands, websites, along with tourism connections for location-specific shots.
Many websites use video headers & want specific video content made for them.
How to get started while using a curator, the “passive” model….
What's a curator? Well they vary, you could have a curator that only does metadata - search words/titles for stock sites, think SEO for video
Or you could have a full process curator, he/she will cut, color, upload, metadata…The time-consuming work. This has its advantages.
You will pay more commission per sale to this type of curator (around 30-40% of sale), but if you find a good one they will crush it!
They know what parts of videos to cut and what will sell, trust me, they want to make sales as much as you want to make sales.
A good curator cuts your 1-minute clip into the best 10-15 second clips. If you look around stock sites, you’ll notice most clips are 5-15s and sell for the same rate.
Sales example, my curator started in March and my footage with his expertise has made him around $900.
He gets that direct from the curator agreement (We Use Blackbox Global). $900 to him, I've earned around $2800 straight from his curating.
I also do my own curation as mentioned above shopping around footage / charging clients more $$ if I use my drone footage in videos for their social media videos.
This is a HIGHLY competitive space, you might have 200 clips uploaded and get 1 sale a month…. nothing is guaranteed.
BETTER QUALITY, MORE SALES.
USE ND FILTERS, STABILIZERS, NO SHAKE, FLAT CLEAN COLORS.
REMEMBER PEOPLE ARE BUYING YOUR CLIP TO USE IN THEIR PROJECT & POTENTIALLY PROFESSIONAL GRADE PUBLICATIONS.
WHEN YOU FILM, SHOOT FLAT PROFILES WITH LIGHT COLOR GRADS.
DON’T OVERDUE IT WITH A BLUE LUT…
THE TWITTER VIDEO I POSTED WAS GRADED FOR TWITTER,
THE VIDEO BEING SOLD HAS BEEN FLAT W/ LIGHT GRADE.
NOTE: If anyone is identifiable in shots, you MUST have a model release for every single person to sell that stock footage. Simple, signed doc provided on stock sites.
Some locations “require” releases but I can say I have never filled out one, once. The clips still sell.
I am only selling stunning drone shots from around the globe, my main focus is the landscape and shooting something that has viewers in AWE…. trigger emotion[s], SELL clips, Emotion SELLS…
Originally, I started with Shutterstock, did all my own work, had around 100 clips uploaded, I did everything, made around $1000 in 6 months. Not time efficient but you can make money here.
When I stumbled upon Blackbox global, this site is badass, it basically takes your uploads and distributes it to various stock sites automatically and tracks sales / pay you out directly to PayPal.
Once you create a Blackbox account, you head over to Facebook, join this group https://www.facebook.com/groups/blackboxglobal/
Introduce yourself, post a footage sample, explain what you need, this is where people will reach out to work with you.
Ask them for proof of sales,
you want a savage curator who knows what he/she is doing.
In 24 hours, I had 30 dms after I shared a few strong shots. Once you have curators in your dms, interview these people.
Find out how good their past sales are and what % they want for their work.
Blackbox has it so you can’t be scammed as they have to upload your clips into Blackbox and then you will need to approve each and every shot.
Make sure the titles (locations of shots) are accurate for metadata.
Clip approval is a good time to make sure you like how the clips were
1) colored 2) length of clip 3) make sure the location data is correct
When you share footage to curator:
create a dropbox,
subfolders for every location,
name the folders exactly where the footage comes from,
City, Country, Famous Landmark, whatever, organization is key
METADATA will sell your footage,
it is how buyers search and stumble upon what you offer…. More sales, the higher the algorithm places your clips on these sites
METADATA is your #1 most important way for people to find your clips
If you end up doing all the work, take time to make sure your shots are money…. AGAIN make sure you use an ND filter, NO SHAKE, SLOW shots, touch up color (twitter video wasn’t the color that’s been sold, way flatter on stock sites).
I would study a few of the top clips under different searches on shutterstock, the higher up, the more sales they are getting.
Few categories getting higher sales right now:
Environmental impact shots
COVID related - masks / people social distancing
Skyscraper construction in big cities
Once tourism starts picking up, cruise ship videos, travel locations, tropical, hospitality
You could also become a curator and strictly cut, color, metadata, upload while taking a 30-40% fee of every sale. Ideally, you would spend a couple of hundred hours to upload a pool of content, say you have 10,000 clips under your name, the goal is that it turns passive, and you trickle in a few thousand a month.
That would be a ton of work upfront to pay off later.
Personally, I would rather focus my energy on creating, doing client videos, and leaving the work to my curator as it’s not worth my time to spend hours cutting/sorting.
Time is valuable.
If you decide to use Blackbox, read every FAQ, there are certain ways to shoot to maximize creating HIGH-QUALITY FOOTAGE. THE MOST IMPORTANT PART.
As always, I hope this helped YOU.
If you have any questions, tweet me, DM me, hit me up, I am here to hopefully answer every question you have and point you in the right direction.
Tweet me if this helps you or if I can help you in anyway @hunter_weiss
Stock site I now use with a curator: https://www.blackbox.global/
Leading stock site for photo and video (self curation): www.shutterstock.com
P.S. You can sell your photos on shutterstock as well, check that out. I haven't done it but know people who do.