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Why Stock Video Footage Is Essential for Musicians

Sep 03, 2020

Engaging video content is a must for today’s independent musicians. When video shooting is expensive and time-consuming, stock footage may be your best bet. Learn where you can find the best footage for your videos.

Why Stock Video Footage Is Essential for Musicians

In this post, you will find numerous places where musicians can go to get video content. As you will see, when you consider the factors of time, cost and quality, royalty-free stock footage sites may be the best source for your visual material.

When you’re an independent musician or a band, even if you’ve been at it for a while, it’s a real probability that after spending on recording, mixing, mastering, duplication, registering your copyrights and distribution, there’s not a lot of money left in your coffers. Especially when live performances don’t produce enough revenue, every dollar counts.

One area where musicians absolutely need to spend is video content. It starts with music videos, of course, but goes through promotional and social media content that are essential tools for growing your audience. And there are also nice-to-have video content like background visuals for live shows, which are awesome for making your concerts more engaging.

And if you choose to go with stock footage, make sure your license gives you as much creative freedom as possible, so you don’t run into any copyright issues or drain your budget.

Where Can I Get Video Content?

Shoot It

One solution is to go out and shoot the footage yourself, and then edit it according to your needs (for example, background visuals as opposed to music video).

Even though creating videos is more accessible than ever to the unprofessional creator, it still has some major drawbacks you should consider:

  • Time-consuming: If you’re not a pro filmmaker or editor, creating your own video content could take a lot of time, and the final product might not turn out the way you envisioned it.
  • Expensive: You could hire someone to do it, but making videos is a team effort, and that’s where the price starts to go up.
  • Limiting: The concept of your video has to be limited to shots you can film. Going to film in the desert may be challenging, expensive or even impossible, depending on where you live.

That’s why you need an alternative source of footage that you can use to fit your vision. There is a lot of video content on the web, but as with music, you can’t use it without getting consent. Copyright is a complex issue, especially when it comes to video since it involves more parameters that need to be addressed, like actors and the backdrop.

Stock Footage

Stock footage is a great tool because it frees you from your geographical limit, it’s much quicker to get, and it’s a lot cheaper than going on a shooting day. The releases and all the paperwork are already done by the company that provides it to you, and you obtain the right to use the footage.

Free Stock Footage

Free stock footage sites are a possibility, of course, but only if you compromise on quality. When you use free footage, your final product risks ending up looking bland and generic, which would not do good for your marketing efforts.

Royalty-Free Stock Footage

Another option then is to license footage from a royalty-free stock site. You get an upgraded quality and a license to use the material. Most royalty-free stock footage sites charge by the clip and put limits on where you can use the footage, so make sure to check all the terms and conditions of the site you want to use.

If you don’t want to get bogged down with all the legal mumbo jumbo, you can use a stock footage site like Artgrid, that offers a straightforward and universal license that lets you download as many clips as you want and use them on any platform from YouTube to Instagram to Facebook to your website. And once you download a clip from Artgrid as a subscriber, it’s yours to use forever.

What to Do with Stock Footage

Now that we know where to find stock footage, let’s see what you can do with it.

Make a Music Video

Stock footage can be very helpful from the very beginning, in the concept development stage of your music video. You can just browse through clips on a site like Artgrid while listening to your song and get tons of ideas for the story or for the look of your video.

Let’s see how using stock footage can give you creative freedom and save you money when it comes to three types of music videos:

A Video with a Narrative

If you take a look at the Artgrid footage catalog, for example, you’ll notice that it’s organized by Stories. They are collections of different shots from the same production. When you have several shots with the same actors and narrative, you can build an entire video with a coherent story, all from stock footage.

This video for a German hip hop artist is a stunning example for creating a narrative music video using only Artgrid stock footage:

Concept Video

If you’re looking to create a video with universal themes, you absolutely need to go to a stock footage site. Where else will you be able to get clips of different types of people, places or animals?

A perfect example of a concept video that relies solely on Artgrid stock footage is Max Richter’s latest song “All Human Beings,” which features readings of the American Declaration of Independence:

This video for the song “Potted Plants” by The American Dollar is a beautiful example of how you can play with stock footage clips, alter them, and create a unique and mesmerizing video:

Lyric Video

Instead of a black or static background, you can use stock footage to create interesting backdrops for this trendy type of music video.

Get Missing Shots

Another stage where stock footage comes in handy is when you’re looking for missing shots for a video you already filmed. Need an aerial shot of New York? No need to go to the hassle of getting a drone up. There are plenty of stock urban aerial videos you can use.

Marketing Ads

Promoting your music on social media requires short attention-grabbing videos, and a music video is too long to make a marketing ad for Instagram, Facebook and the like.

Carrying out entire productions and going on shooting days for these social-media-bound promotional videos will definitely drain your budget.

Stock footage is an excellent solution for making bite-size videos that will stand out and make people aware of your music.

When you have unlimited downloads of footage at the highest quality, like on Artgrid, you can make a bunch of promo videos without spending on more footage. Test them out to see which of them works best!

Live Show Background Visuals

Background visuals in live shows started in the 1960s with rock legends like Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and Pink Floyd. The psychedelic images they displayed made their concerts even more of a mind-blowing experience for their fans.

Today, the genres of musicians who use live show visuals have expanded and the types of videos in those shows is highly diverse. You have more narrative videos like Kendrick Lamar’s “Kung-Fu Kenny” and “Pulitzer Kenny,” the more hypnotic visuals like in the concerts of art metal band Tool and electronic musician Amon Tobin, and you have an interactive spectacle like The Flaming Lips’ engaging shows.

You can use filters to browse through a series of abstract shots for conceptual background visuals or choose any other theme filter to make a more narrative video.

Final Thoughts

Visual content is a must-have for any musician or band, and whatever type of video you’re creating, stock footage should become an essential tool in your arsenal. Having a vast source of clips at your disposal just makes everything that much easier and helps you focus only on the creative side of video creation.

When you look at some of the stock footage sites out there, make sure to check their pricing plans and license. Paying per clip could be very costly in the end, and a limiting license could cause you legal issues in the future. Choosing a site like Artgrid could simplify all the legal stuff, so you can be free to create without limits.