Sep 30, 2020
Stock video footage can be used in a variety of ways. But one example that has become increasingly common is background videos on landing pages.
Web developers and digital marketers alike know that a page only has a few seconds to capture someone’s interest. And video is one of the most interesting ways to engage with someone, or at least intrigue them enough to scroll down to see something more.
So yes, video is a powerful medium. And that isn’t just restricted to Instagram stories or YouTube videos — it’s something you can (and probably should) take advantage of in your emails and web content too.
Of course, there are quite a few steps between “I want to use a background video” and “I’ve got the perfect .mp4 file ready.” Probably the biggest obstacle is actually finding stock video backgrounds for your site.
If you’re not sure what stock footage is or why it’s useful, then just think about stock images you’d get for projects or web design. These are images uploaded by photographers, which then can be downloaded or purchased for use in other things.
Well, that’s stock video in a nutshell. Except instead of a .png it’s an .mp4. And yes, it really is that easy. Go to the site you want, browse the video options, choose the winner, and go through the “checkout” process.
The most common obstacle (mainly for video editors) is that you won’t have control over the file type, aspect ratio, etc.. So if you want stock video to fit into a larger video project, you may have to do a little more digging to find the perfect match. But that’s pretty much it.
Yes, this is an easy resource to tap into. As a result, stock video is a tool that content creators are finding more and more uses for. That particular industry has grown into a marketplace where filmmakers can make some extra cash by selling or licensing unused video footage.
More importantly, it means that the rest of us can get high-quality video for a whole lot cheaper than contracting a videographer to get a few short clips for us. And that has turned stock video backgrounds into a more common practice across the internet.
Technically speaking, any video could be turned into a video background for your website. It all comes down to trimming the clip, sizing it correctly, and making sure it is compressed to keep from slowing down page loading. But that’s neither here nor there.
The topic you’re here for — the question you want answered — is how to actually find stock videos that you can use as backgrounds, either for your website or pages that you will work on in the future.
There are three primary sources. But assuming you aren’t interested in reaching out to individual filmmakers and getting video from them, let’s remove that option and focus on the other two: Paying for access to a large library and buying videos a la carte.
As you might expect, Adobe offers a high-quality selection of stock videos. Adobe Stock offers one of the biggest and best libraries out there, and all of the assets will be incorporated right into the other Creative Cloud apps you already use.
I’m going to assume you already have a Creative Cloud subscription, whether you’re a filmmaker or animator or graphic designer. If that’s true, then you might already pay for Adobe Stock access. But if not, a subscription will cost you a minimum $30/month for 10 downloads.
Videvo offers a library of free videos, but if you spend much time searching through them you’ll realize that most of the good ones are locked behind a paywall. Still, in principle, you can find some free stock video options to start with.
The subscriptions start at $15/month for 25 premium downloads or $25/month for 50 premium downloads. All of these videos are royalty free, which means you won’t have to worry about securing individual licenses to actually use these clips as website backgrounds.
Pixabay is a reliable stock image spot, but the site also has free stock video downloads. You won’t have many options in terms of file type or resolution, but there’s a decent variety of quality videos available.
All of Pixabay’s videos are registered under Creative Commons, which means you won’t have to worry about copyright or licensing issues.
I’ve always thought of Pexels as the “tails” to Pixabay’s “heads.” It’s another reliable library of free stock images, and it also has a separate section of videos available.
Also like the previous entry, Pexels’ videos are all registered as Creative Commons content.
Sticking with the weird trend of names that start with “P,” Pond5 is another great option for stock video footage. The library is on the same level as some of the subscription-based libraries, but the pricing model is an a la carte model.
Videos are priced for $80 or less, and these purchases included individual licenses. If you want to license the videos for a team, that price jumps up considerably, but that’s because Pond5 offers different tiers of licenses based on the needs of your project.
Convenient, but pricey.
Most filmmakers already use Vimeo as a platform to upload, share, and distribute their videos. (It’s basically a more professional-focused YouTube.) So it’s safe to assume that Vimeo Stock is sort of like a stock video boutique: Premium content for premium prices.
Prices for individual downloads vary depending on resolution — you might pay around $100 for an HD video, and $200+ for a 4K version. However, if you sign up for a membership, you’ll pay at least $20 a month but save 20% on every video purchase.
Of course, these are only a small fraction of the different stock video sites out there. Pricing varies on each page, but so does the video quality. That’s the difficult part of the decision to make, and it absolutely depends on your individual needs.
If you work on videos (or just need video backgrounds) for an ad agency, then maybe signing up for a premium library makes the most sense. But if you are a freelance web developer, it probably makes the most sense to buy individual clips or browse for free options.
Either way, stock video is an easy and cheap way to add high-quality video backgrounds to any project. And you’ve never had so many options for where to find it.
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