Stock Video vrs. Stock Stills

Freeze frame of a slow motion video featuring a towel snapping a woman's butt.

Disclaimer: The idea and the derriere were provided by my partner Stephanie Roeser!

Stock Video Plans In 2010
Recently I was asked what my plans for video, specifically stock video, are for the coming year. I have to say that most of my intention for video, at least for the foreseeable future, is wait and see. In 2009 I submitted close to two hundred clips to my already existing fifty or so clips with Getty Images. Getty has put up about a hundred of those clips thus far, and I expect probably another thirty to fifty clips will go up in the coming months. The new clips were all slow motion videos shot with a Phantom HD camera at 1000 frames per second. To rent the equipment for shooting those clips would run around $5,000.00 a day, but I was fortunate enough to be able to use the equipment as part of a beta-testing project for GVS Systems and their GVS 9000 2XU 444 VTR hardware/software set up for capturing vast quantities of data at very high throughput rates.

No Photoshop, No Room For Mistakes, Less Production

This Phantom shoot is a perfect example of how I intend to pursue stock video. When the right situations come along I will take advantage of them. I do not plan on investing in stock video the same way I approach stills. With video there is not room for mistakes, I can’t save things in Photoshop, and I get a lot less done. The editing process is slower too. So for the same amount of effort I produce a lot less video material than I can with stills.

Fewer Sales, And A Passion For The Single Image
From what I can gather about my own motion sales, and the sales made by others I am in touch with, videos still do not return as much as stills. Sure, a clip can sell for a lot, but at least with my own experience, there are way fewer sales. There is a lot of hype about the exploding use of video, and lots of excitement about even greater use with hardware developments like tablets and so forth. Everywhere you turn video is being used; on gas station pumps, on cell phones, in the bank while you stand in line for a teller. But I have little faith that I know what to shoot, and that I can do as god a job as people who are either video pros or have a passion for it. My passion is still for the single image.

Limited Stock Productions

I have truly enjoyed shooting the slow motion video. Heck, for that I might even have a so-called passion. But it still doesn’t make financial sense for me to pursue it. A year from now I might know whether shooting more of it will be worthwhile; but at the current cost of shooting truly slow motion video, and until I get some idea of the returns, I just can’t see diving in any further. If you do have a passion for video, then I would recommend adding it into still shoots for which it would be appropriate. If you intend to add video to your assignment work, then that might be another reason to engage in at least some limited stock productions.

Submission of Video Material Is Exploding

Another factor for me to consider is that the submission of video material is exploding. Getty sent me an email explaining that in the last several months they have become overwhelmed with submissions…from hundreds of clips a month to thousands. I bet the same thing is happening in micro as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if the supply of video is now burgeoning much faster than the demand!

Cool Slow Motion Clips
At any rate, if the right situation, or the right shoot comes up, I will engage in some video production. But as far as planning on shooting video in 2010…it is a wait and see game for me. In the meantime, check out some of the cool slow motion clips that I shot with my video partners Stephanie Roeser and David Fischer. I have only uploaded a fraction of them, but will continue to upload them, so check back from time-to time!

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