By Nita Deshmukh. Posted on September 24, 2015
Working on a tight budget and looking for some rare or unusual footage to accentuate your films impact? Visual effects can help you but it's not always possible to budget for them. Imagine having to shoot a forest fire or an eclipse? How long will you wait for either? What's the alternative?
Free online stock footage is the answer to your woes. Free online stock footage can make a big difference to your film. Saving on time and money are two of the most obvious advantages.
This is not a new thing. Many acclaimed filmmakers have used stock footage in their films. Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, considered by many to be the greatest film of all time, used recycled footage. If we carefully observe during one of the picnic scenes with Kane’s wife Susan Alexander, the background is taken from the The Son of Kong.
Earlier Disney would frequently use recycled footage from their older animated films. For example Robin Hood took footage from The Jungle Book and The Aristocats. 21 Jump Street used stock footage for certain insert shots. Michael Bay recycled footage from The Island for Transformers. We could endlessly list the films that have used this technique.
Here's a list of Top 5 sites for free online stock footage that we think you should check out.
Archive.org is a library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, and more. Its large 35mm stock footage collection consists of material especially shot for stock footage purposes as well as feature film outtakes and unused material that were conserved for future use in other productions. This site is extremely useful for old and vital footage. It also has more than 2,000 public domain films on the site, most of which are noir and horror films from the 30's to the 50's. If you want a footage of NASA spaceships launching or that of volcanoes erupting or home videos of birthdays or archival news clips dating back to the early days of TV, you will find all that here. A great source to spice up your documentary or fiction film.
Wikimedia Video is somewhat similar to Archive.org, although not as big. It is an online library of open source sounds, videos, photos, clippings and other media related material covering a wide range of video clips across all genres. A great source for for interesting cultural and technical footage. You can find really old archival footage from the early days of cinema to the latest news clips from around the world.
As we know, footage for a documentary or a topical film is very different from that for a feature. The News Market offers some exclusive news footage, interviews and rare documentaries. The News Market allows people to upload their news content. You can get clips on news events from across the globe. For example The News Market has extensive footage on the latest Syrian refugee crisis. The search feature makes it easy to find exactly what you are looking for.
Movietools.info is another free source of video background, animation loops, lower third animations & motion objects. This site is specially good for free animated 2D and 3D background animations. For example the section on themed lower third footage is impressive. If you are making an animation or a fantasy or a sci-fi film, Movietools is the site for you.
If your action adventure film needs footage of mid-air explosions or gun shots or natural disasters like volcanoes & earthquakes, then Detonation Films is the site for you. While some of the videos are in SD, they can still be integrated into HD. The footage here is prekeyed which is a big advantage.
However not all the videos at Detonation films are free of charge. You better check their licensing & pricing policies before downloading clips from the site.
Apart from the above mentioned sites the other sites that you should check out for free archival videos are Videvo, Xstockvideo , Freeanimalvideo.org , World Clips, Hollywood Camerawork, Footage Firm and Krisha Creation