We've talked before about how Hollywood filmmakers will often use stock footage instead of spending more money and time shooting certain shots themselves, but probably a bigger proprietor of stock is the videomaker.
We all know that YouTube is no longer the amateur cat video hub that it used to be. (Although those are still being uploaded in great numbers and we still love them.) In fact, it has become a place where film/videomakers can earn a living, which means they have to be consistent with not only their upload rates, but also with the quality of their videos.
The issue with that is if you're having to make a quality video to share with your audience every week, you're going to need a budget that can keep up with the continuous flow of uploads. And YouTubers aren't rich folks (save for maybe PewDiePie and a few others in the millionaires club), so saving money and cutting down costs is imperative in order to stay in business. One way of doing this is by using stock footage, and these low-budget YouTubers perfectly demonstrate how one can utilize stock in their videos to not only keep production value high, but to also keep production costs down.
Many of the most popular YouTube channels feature this common template: a talking head saying funny/informative stuff in front of a digital background. And jump cuts -- lots and lots of jump cuts. Not all of us are all that great with After Effects or other post software, and if you're making YouTube videos, it's pretty safe to assume you don't have the budget to hire someone who is. The videos below take advantage of inexpensive and easy-to-use stock background templates:
Having a small budget doesn't mean you can't have great, believable VFX. Maybe you can't afford to make a video that features a huge, action-packed car chase scene, but something subtle, like a little bit of smoke, flames,water splashes, or even a bear (which is slightly less subtle, I guess) might make your video that much more entertaining to watch. These videos demonstrate how to use stock VFX elements to keep production value high:
Now, using stock footage is a great resource for filmmakers on a tight budget (and even for those who aren't, actually), but, of course, we're artists, and we want our projects to be uniquely ours. How do you do make something unique if you're using a lot of stock that is accessible to everyone? This video breaks down some great ways to make these stock videos your very own by using color correction, adding motion blur, and changing the footage's playback speed.
Hopefully, these videos are inspiring you to be more creative with the tools available to you. The stock footage used in the examples above comes from VideoBlocks, and they’re giving these clips away for free for you to use through their free 7-day trial, in which you can download up to 140 clips to use in your next masterpiece. They've got more than 115,000 clips in their unlimited library, and these downloads are your forever. Check out the most popular VFX elements by clicking here and get started on your downloads.