Producing stock footage content can be rewarding. Both artistically and financially. With consistency and a little planning, you can easily turn your art into a stable monthly income.
It’s an amazing time for videographers. Cameras and lenses are getting not only better but also cheaper. You don’t need to pay $20K for a Red Helium or Arri Alexa to produce a good quality video. A simple $3K-$5K setup will get you nearly the same results.
Filmmaker Jakub Gorajek has turned his passion into a career by going from zero to making over $250K selling stock footage content. Here are his five key principles of success:
1. Start Small
You don’t need to invest thousands of dollars in the equipment. Chances are you already have a good DSLR capable of shooting high-quality HD or even 4K video. Start with what you have. You’ll learn during the process if there’s any more equipment that you need.
2. Find Your Niche
Find out what kind of footage sells the best and plan how you can produce it without spending additional money on travel, models, etc. Maybe you live near a beautiful lake and have stunning sunsets every evening, or maybe you have a sister who wants to practice acting. Shoot, upload and test what kind of content works. If your film flunks during the premiere, it’s catastrophic. If your stock footage clip won’t sell after you upload it, it’s valuable feedback. A part of the fine-tuning process. No one judges you. Simply learn from it and reshoot it. Once you get it right, focus on this.
3. Tell a Story With Each Shot
Each produced shot should convey a story or emotion. People who buy stock videos have a message to deliver. If the narrative of your clip matches their script, your video will have a greater chance of getting picked up.
4. Be Consistent
Don’t be discouraged if your clips won’t sell for the first few weeks. It’s normal. Just keep producing the content. Create a consistent schedule and stick to it. Whether shooting every day or just once a week, you will grow your skills and increase the likelihood of clients discovering your footage.
5. Like Piloting Drones? Consider Shooting Aerials
Aerial footage is getting more and more popular. It gives people a distinct vantage point, a bird’s-eye point-of-view of something. At the same time, flying drones is super easy. Anyone can do it. Find an interesting place – an inspiring landscape, a district with unique architecture – bring your drone to a hover, and experiment with framing. You can also use drones as a dolly to create smooth horizontal camera movements or a camera crane to zoom in and out from the set. That said, be careful! Drones are not toys. Stay focused every time you fly. Avoid filming in crowded locations, and make sure you’re not doing it in the no-fly zone.
There are many stock footage platforms and even more creators. Getting started may feel overwhelming at first, but once you get going and commit to the process, the feeling quickly disappears. There is ever-growing demand for high-quality content. Just keep in mind that you probably won’t generate hundreds of dollars in the first few weeks. It may take some time and effort to build it up, but consistency will eventually get you there.
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