When creating commercials or marketing videos, there’s no limit to what’s possible when you’re creative. However, there are times when filming isn’t an option, which can put a damper on your vision. That’s why we set out to create a commercial using only stock video. Being stuck at home right now, we decided to look to the future when we could travel again and create a spec travel commercial for Expedia. Check out our video using only stock footage and then 5 tips for using stock video in your own commercial or video.
Here are the tips we came up with to make stock video more effective.
Pick a concept that doesn’t require the same person throughout. It’s not that you can’t show people, but you more than likely won’t be able to find multiple stock clips with the same person, so make sure that’s not important to your creative idea.
Tip: You may benefit from browsing your stock footage catalogue of choice while brainstorming your concept. Seeing what’s available to you will not only help you avoid any speed bumps later on in the process, but may also inspire your conception of the concept you go with.
Because the footage might not be very cohesive, a voiceover can go a long way to tying everything together. Getting your message across strictly using stock footage can be very difficult, as stock footage clips are created to be as vague as possible so it can be used for a wide variety of projects. This is helpful for us, but also means we shouldn’t rely solely on the visuals. You likely need to utilize your audio to give your viewers the context of what they’re looking at.
3. Sequence Settings
Stock footage can come in all shapes and sizes, i.e. different resolutions, aspect ratios, and frame rates. Pick the settings that make the most sense for your video, and convert the other videos to the same. For example, if your video is 24 fps and one of the clips is in 60 fps, you can either convert it to 24 fps (which would skip frames) or make it slow motion.
4. Motion Graphics
Custom motion graphics can help tie the different clips together, as well establish branding for your company or product. Motion graphics can really help distract from the fact you’re using stock footage— viewers may not even realize you’re using stock footage if your branding is showcased via clean & accessible motion graphics.
5. Color Grade
There is no standard for how stock video clips will be color graded, so it’s easy for the video to feel disjointed without adjustments. Because you will likely be using footage made by several different creators, you will be dealing with footage filmed on different cameras, using different settings, resolutions, white balances, etc. One way to make the clips feel more cohesive would be to use a color LUT (Lookup Table), so that the color grade is consistent throughout the final video.
A LUT (Lookup Table) is a color modifier that will take in your footages color values and output corresponding colors based on a predetermined color palette. This is an easy way to get your footage to pop, as professional colorists have already done a large amount of the work for you by creating the LUT.
In fact, here is a set of free LUTs we created for this project.
These are just some of the ways you can effectively use only stock video to create a commercial. If you have other tips, please comment below!