5 Sources for Stock Video

It’s not unusual to be looking for stock photographs to use in content such as presentations, brochures, advertisements or websites. But what about stock video when producing video content for presentations, websites or advertising? Here are five prominent sources for stock video I found:

  1. National Geographic Digital Motion – has a range of content including time lapse video, high definition (HD), health and science 3-D animation, and footage of China. I ran a search for “New York” and pulled up over 600 clips. Searching for “library” pulled up 25. Search for video clips, and then submit a request for a pricing quote to license. In the description of one of the demo videos they note:

    Due to the success of Michael Moore, Spike Lee, and Ken Burns, producers across the world are beginning to understand the benefits of producing new films from archival footage. Producing from archival footage saves companies hundreds of thousands of dollars while helping preserve memories and history. National Geographic Digital Motion (formerly National Geographic Film Library) is the archive and licensing agent for all National Geographic Television-produced film and video. We are a creative resource for high-quality, engaging video and production services.

  2. NFB Images – from the National Film Board of Canada, this site includes both stock photos and stock video in HD. Create an account to view, edit, share and download content. Research and copyright clearance services are available. It looks to have some great Canada-related content:

    NFB IMAGES features images from around the world: classic and contemporary material on war and conflict, industrialization, rural and urban lifestyles, celebrities, wildlife and a treasure trove of film footage on the Arctic.

  3. iStockphoto Video – iStockphoto is well known for stock photographs, but also has video. Stock video is contributed by the iStockphoto community and can be licensed directly from the website. Royalty free.
  4. Getty Images Footage – Another site known for stock photography, Getty also has stock video. This is commercial quality video, ranging from rare archival footage to current entertainment and news clips. They have industrial quality high definition video as well as royalty free video. I like the idea of their green screen clips to which you can add your own backgrounds. In addition, they have teamed up with iStockphoto to create what they are calling iStockFootage, which is user-generated, royalty-free content.The video below was making the rounds of some of the blogs as having used footage from Getty. This is a promotion video for music by Ratatat. Video by Blink Art & Colonel Blimp~
  5. Inamédiapro – This is the archives of France’s Institut national de l’audiovisuel. Billed as being “for professional use only” it includes the Institut’s extensive newsreel and television archives, film that was broadcast by French public television channels between 1949 and today, and Actualités Françaises newsreels from 1940 to 1969. You can either conduct your own research (after registering) or pay one of their archivists to conduct the research for you. Some content needs copyright clearance before licensing.

Have you ever used stock video footage? What source did you use? What did you use it for?


  1. I’m not sure how much use stock videos will be on a legal web site. Although I’ve heard that Google likes video, I won’t be jumping to include some of these movies as an SEO technique as they really don’t provide much in terms of content. Having a potential client click to play a video that doesn’t tell them much about my practice or the subject of a particular page is not how I’d like them to be spending the few seconds or moments they are willing to spend on my site. In cases where a video plays automatically (I couldn’t decipher if they play when the site opens like Flash or require a click like an embeded YouTube video) there may be bandwidth issues as well.

    I did check out istockvideos and thought it would be fun to download a video to put onto my site (perhaps on a less utilized page) to share here but the credit cost (which would convert to around $10-15) did not make this worthwhile, although it would be a worthwhile investment if a certain video did serve a purpose.

  2. Great comment, Adam. I believe the point of stock video is to use it to edit in pieces to boost your other content. So, for example, the green screen clips from Getty Images could be people reacting to something someone else is saying in the sound files that would be added over top.

    I haven’t worked with it before, but my guess is one could get quite creative with it. For example, a law firm celebrating a big anniversary might want to use some of the historic film clips from NFB Images at an anniversary event.

  3. I haven’t looked at it too closely, but just discovered Shutterstock has stock footage in addition to photos: http://footage.shutterstock.com/