Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How to Turn Your Footage Into Money - by Mark Schulze

1994_ot_pi_wheelieImage by cleopatra69 via Flickr

Today I wanted to inspire you to put your video footage to good use. If you have shot any interesting, unusual, rare or awesome clips, there could be a market for them.

My wife, Patty Mooney, and I started our stock-footage library, New & Unique Videos, back in 1994, when we returned from a journey around the world, during which we collected dozens of hours of stock footage for our mountain bike documentary, the award-winning "Full Cycle: A World Odyssey." It won kudos, multiple honors and lots of reviews in publications around the world, but was never broadcast on television.

We have never lost hope that it would some day be broadcast, because we do a lot of broadcast television work, and we know this is a stellar show. However, where we seemed to get ROI (Return on our Investment) was via stock-footage sales. We have sold clips shot for "World Odyssey" to all kinds of programs and corporate projects. Clients have bought our Tasmanian devil, boxing kangaroos, underwater mountain bikers, Canadian waterfalls, and many other clips.

The way that you, too, can pocket a little cash from your videographic passion is this.

First, invest in a tripod. There's a market for what I call "shaky-cam" but the traditional smooth work done with a tripod will always be desired.

Second, make sure that you gather three versions of your shot: a wide (establishing) shot, a medium shot and a close up.

Third, log your footage. Make sure you are as detailed as possible, even down to transcribing what people say. You just never know what a client is going to want. If you have it, and you logged it, it's going to be a lot easier to find it when you need it.

Fourth, if your work is professional enough, or at least engaging or sensational enough, then approach some stock-footage libraries and let them know you have footage available. Be prepared to send digital clips (with your watermark) so they can see what you have.

This is just one way to help support your addiction to videography. You may sell a clip here or there. You may even decide you want to get fully engaged in the arena of stock footage. How deeply you venture into the profession is up to you. The way technology keeps advancing, and because the appetite for video content is seemingly unquenchable, you may be able to carve a niche for yourself that will keep you nicely involved in all kinds of amazing adventures. That's how it happened for us. The sky is really the limit for today's videographer.

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