If you were to ask just about any serious cinematographer for their thoughts on stock footage, the general consensus would be one of derision. In a digital age where content creation is often more important than the complaints of said cinematographers though, using stock footage is a tool you might want to seriously consider. That advice is not without a warning label though.
Back in April the team at No Film School gave us 6 awesome reasons to consider using stock footage in our work: the cliff notes version is that,
- It’s often cheaper and easier than shooting something yourself,
- Hollywood uses it,
- It’s ready when you need it,
- Not all stock footage looks like “stock footage”,
- You don’t have to travel everywhere or pay for permits, and
- Guess what — stock filmmakers are filmmakers too.
If you have never heard of Dissolve – it is a stock footage provider, though their branding works quite hard at differentiating itself as a provider of better quality stock than you might get elsewhere. By and large, I like their stuff. With that being said, their own array of stock collages (of which today’s clip is just one example) prove an important point… too much of a good thing really can be terrible! For me, it also highlights this fact: some stock footage really does just look like stock footage – even when you have a better quality stock product!
Some stock – like the turn smile – just has that look about it. And you know what? That is okay. My point is that if we can stay somewhere between the extremes of outright stock derision and attempting to create a piece using only stock, we might be surprised at how handy – and effective – some well placed stock footage can be.