I would like to share my work with others that can't afford expensive b-roll.

Over the weekend stayed at a really nice resort in the mountains – off season so we saved a lot of money.so

One night we went to dinner at a restaurant which had some nice lighting and I took some video of my wife pouring some wine.

I wasn’t making a big production out of it, just thought it would be fun.

It reminded me of an IStock red wine video they had featured last week which was very similar, but it was also really expensive for the HD version.

That got me thinking of giving my video clips or broll away for free for people that can’t afford IStock’s high prices. Free royalty free b-roll if you will.

Both Vimeo and Flickr have ways to publish your video under creative commons and I would like to do that so anyone can use my videos as long as they provide me attribution for my work.

But I am not sure how to organize it, do I do a bunch of video clips of wine for instance, do I provide them in the flat picture setting?

Let me know your thoughts?

Also if this is a good idea, what clips would you like to see?

Stock Video Examples

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=15994563&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0″ />

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=16040057&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0″ />

Stock Photo I Took Today

Tomorrow I will try and see if I can make this in to a short video of my pouring wine in to it. The image below is under creative commons share alike if you would like to use it,ย  just provide me with attribution.

Empty Wine Glass

Donation Shout Out

Just wanted to say thanks to Lu at Conquest II Marketing and James Washburn for their generous donations today!


  • Hi Dave, this is ironic. I JUST got through looking at istockphoto.com for the first time, and then thought, “I wonder if Dave’s got a video out today?”,and clicked on your site. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I would tend to think of doing what you propose from a first person perspective. IOW, if you were looking for a certain type of stock photos or footage, how would YOU like to see it grouped. You have more experience than me, by far, but when I watch other people’s videos, I rate them based on what I like to see.
    The reason I enjoy your site so much is that your videos address the questions I have about the various topics in a very satisfying way. I see you doing the same tests I would do, with almost all the variations that would help others make a solid buying decision or learn a technique.

    BTW, my T2i will be here today!…Yea!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t wait to get going!

    Always a pleasure to visit your world,


  • Funny you should say this, I’m currently working on a open library for b-roll footage, people can add to the site from a Vimeo video ID, and then others can rate etc. Theres a mix of both “Verified” and “User” clips. Those which a moderator (Me at first) has checked will be the only way a clip becomes Verified, verified clips also have the information verified (Is it actually 60fps, is it actually shot in a flat style like they claim.)

    I haven’t found any good sites which offer this yet and from the small amount of research I’ve done, there are people out there who want free b-roll (Who doesn’t want something for free?).

  • Some people use blip.tv or the Internet Archive’s video collection to find B-Roll clips… As to organizing them – just tag them like crazy, include the CC license, mayb add an extra tag like “b-roll” or something similar, then upload it as an mp4 file (if you’re primarily going to webbish video).

  • Sorry, just to add…

    Yes, Dave your idea is wonderful.

    Perhaps you can sort them tightly into groups
    so that there’s no extra looking-for time – and it’s clear
    what the clips are all about.

    Samples on a page – then a download link – zip file?

  • Dave, I’ll be honest with you. While this idea is very generous, and you’re motives are purely to help others out who are in need, I don’t think you should do this…at least for free.

    Even if you are just getting candid shots (“not making a production out of it”), you still are using your camera, memory cards, tripod, etc (things that cost you money to buy, and then creating some amount of ‘wear and tear’ on your equipment)., then going home and using the internet you pay for, and uploading to vimeo or whatever site you are distributing….all the while taking your valuable time to do all of this.

    Should you do this? For free? My answer would be no…definitely not. Cheap? That sounds like a fair deal all around. You shouldn’t be doing stuff for free, that’s key for professional/semi-professional work. It would be fair for you, because you will get some revenue from doing this, and it would be fair for the end users, because it’s not creating holes in their wallets.

    Besides, us “end users” will probably use it to get paid. Why can’t you get something?

  • @Ryan, you bring up a valid point. I don’t want to appear like I am trying to stick it to those that make a living off iStock photo, I want to share my work so it can appear all over the world and not just sit on my hard drive lonely.

    I do have an idea however on how to make money off of this. So here it is: if a lot of people like the quality of my work and enjoying using it, I am going to assume after some point people will start requesting that I do certain clips for them. That is the point where I say sure, and I will give them two prices, one for an exclusive video clip and another price which is a 1/3rd off the regular price if they will allow me to share it with the world under CC.

    Thoughts on this crazy business model?

  • “Thoughts on the this crazy business model?”

    I think it’s totally sane. Your time is obviously worth nothing, so why not give it away. I don’t know what I’ve been thinking — you know, charging $1500/day for camera services. I am going to immediately revise my business model, setting my prices to ZERO. And with people downloading all my stock footage for free, I am sure that someone will eventually pay me for what they can get for FREE! But hey, since equipment and education and talent are all FREE, I can now afford a one day replacement cycle for my arsenal. I will have a brand new 5D each and every day for the rest of my life!

    Let me relate a recent experience. I have produced three videos that all relate to a local BMW dealership. The videos are either about people at the dealership (who soft-plug the dealership), their products appear in the video and they’ve gotten a “special thanks” in the credits. They have linked to the videos in their monthly newsletter, and sent out links to customers on their mailing list. My charge, for the 120 hours of time it took to produce the three pieces, and the use of my equipment, including a crane, several video cameras, lights, vehicles for tracking shots, sound equipment, and the time of an assistant whom I had to feed: ZERO. I did it for free because I believed in the message, the product and I thought that someday the dealership would do something for me.

    When my vehicle warranty was nearing it’s end date, I called this dealership and said, “hey, I’d like you to sell me an extended warranty at dealer cost — not free, but dealer cost — because I have done three videos which were essentially free advertising for you. Their answer, and this is a direct quote: “We couldn’t keep your doors open if we sold things at dealer cost.”

  • Freudian slip on the direct quote above… It was supposed to read, โ€œWe couldnโ€™t keep OUR doors open if we sold things at dealer cost.โ€

  • @Dave – I do get the promotional aspect of “free,” but there has to be a limit, IMO. For example, I have an account on RevoStock (www.revostock.com), and they give away one clip a week from a featured content creator. This draws attention to that creator so that people will purchase clips or AE projects from them.

    Sometimes free is appropriate. A lesson I learned from my friend and fellow content creator Sara O’Donnell (AverageBetty.com), is don’t do work for a reduced price. Do it for free, but don’t cheapen your work.

  • On the other hand…to keep things going for the long run (if found viable)…

    You still may give these clips away – test if doing so brings you new and return traffic –
    and monetize that.

    It’s like people having free scripts running on their sites where visitors
    return over and over – and there are plenty of monetization techniques
    in return.
    Not overdone – tested – and if it works for both sides – good!


    FREE is just a word, but still has its physics, etc. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Dave, you could (and everyone else that wants to give this a go) give away your video stock for free via Creative Commons for non-commercial use. Then, if someone wants to use it for a commercial project, they can negotiate a licensing fee. This is similar to what Trey Ratcliff does with his HDR photos on his StuckInCustoms website.

  • And be carefull of re-distributing others work (if you become an agregator) as it would be challenging to verify ownership or potential copyright breach.

  • I think Carl has the right idea. Other professionals will have no problem spending money to license your work. Hobbyists and amateurs will either not buy it/use it at all or will steal it if possible, so just give it away for free to people that are just messing around.

    Stealing other’s creative work is wrong and artists have been justified in raising a stink over it. The music industry fought it for years and finally had to adjust their business model. Oh well, that’s life in the real world.

    BUT I have to strongly disagree with David (and I’m sorry but what follows is a rant and not very nice).

    Amateurs producing quality free content and undercutting professionals is NOT wrong. This has been going on in software development (my profession) for years. Stop whining about it. The bar has been raised. Either you are good enough to add value to your craft that is worth paying for or you aren’t. If not, find a new profession. Maybe one where you can join a union and have your job protected no matter how mediocre you are at performing it. Don’t blame people like Dave for your troubles. Take a look at yourself. Maybe you don’t have the chops to make it in a newly competitive environment.

    (End rant)

  • @Matt S re: “This has been going on in software development (my profession) for years. Stop whining about it.”

    Hey, that’s been my profession, too. Indeed there has been a long race to the bottom. Many developers (and also creatives) have lamented this situation. But it is the way things are. It’s more productive to find where you can add value rather than legislate or try to enforce by other means an artificial floor to pricing. As you say, add value to your craft – that is where the creative juices get flowing anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Matt S said, “Either you are good enough to add value to your craft that is worth paying for or you arenโ€™t. If not, find a new profession.”

    My assertion is that [many] people want your time, and your craft, but they are not willing to pay for quality work. They may not even recognize quality work. So adding value to your craft is pointless when people will either go without, or can simply take advantage of free work and offer nothing in return.

    Example: After seeing some of my work on-line, a business asked me if I would do a day shoot for them at a race track. I said I could do it, that I’d bring two cameras and an assistant, and that my day rate was $1200 plus $85.00/hour for editing. Their response was, “Oh… we’ve only for $200 budgeted for this, could you do it for that?” My response: “I wouldn’t get out of bed for $200.”

    So what happened? They saved $200 by stringing a bunch of still photos together in a video, and then synched some copyrighted music to it. I see the outcome as a win/win: they got their video, and I got to sleep in. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • During an interview I was conducting the other night, as part of a documentary project, the interviewee said, ‘And I frequently hear, “Why is it always about the money… what about the love of music, the art, the craft?”‘ He answers this question by saying, “it has to be about the money, otherwise you’ll be flipping burgers instead of playing your music.”

  • Dave, I think what you are attempting to do is very noble. Free would be great, but a modest price for small-time operators would be welcome. I am a part-time wedding videographer. I could see a market for champagne glasses, wedding bouquets, etc. shot in various dynamic modes (of your choosing). They could be used by the videographer to create custom elements for DVD Menus or segment opening graphics.

    Hey, for a guy who just started with DSLR’s and their video capabilities this year, I’d say you’re moving on a fast track. Keep up the good work!

  • There a good article in the December 2010 issue of VideoMaker Magazine about where to buy and sell stock footage. Look for it on page 29. And there’s a good comprehensive list of sources for video, sound effects and music.

  • Thats a cool idea Dave. I for one would love to get some free stock footage. I would also love to provide too, but like you I have the same problem of organizing it.

    I guess providing stock footages in “sets” won’t be bad. It would give you a number of options than one single footage alone.

  • It would be cool to have a site where content creators could GIVE as well at take. I would love to upload a few shots a do have for a few shots I don’t.

  • Hi folks!

    I am posting here to ask for some help. I need some video footage for a home produced video for a song I have written. Big surprise now…ready? Looking for free to low as possible cost! Imagine!

    I have defined my specific needs but targeted searches aren’t working…anybody have any sources to recommend? Thanks much!

  • This sounds like a really good idea, in my opinion, because you would probably get more traffic, which = more money and people would get free videos. They’re indirectly paying you!

    BTW that wine clip looked like it should be on some commercial! It was amazing!

  • Dave, as a teacher, I love this idea! I’ve been searching for years for good quality, free stock video clips for use under the Creative Commons law. I create my own book trailers to get my students interested in new books, and although I mostly use still images (there are plenty in the creative commons – although not nearly enough great quality stock images), I would love to build trailers using moving images – things like boy running, door opening, flowers moving in the wind – things like that. I cannot possibly pay for istock’s videos, and why would I? I produce my videos for free for my students for purely educational use. Let us know, please, if you decide to do this.

  • By the way, Dave. You Tube now has the option to label your works within the Creative Commons. I’ve found several channels with people offering just want you have created – free stock video clips.

  • Dave ,

    I think what you are doing is awesome. Anytime someone wants to do something to “just help” someone there will always be nay sayers. I am a Music Producer and while I don’t do much in video myself I do a lot of work for those who do. I am going to start producing some clips and tags that I will release under CC. I have my web guy starting on a new site to make them available. When finished I would love to host anything you would like to post as well. Thanks for the Inspiration Dave. I’ll be back to drop a link as soon as new site is up.

  • I came across this page while looking for some free or low-cost type of b-roll footage that I could use in my little video. Reading through the comments, I understand you don’t want to have a negative effect on the industry for people who do earn a living making these types of clips.

    However, I’m not making a video that I can monetize on; just editing some clips together for a family video to be shared via DVD and the Internet. I would encourage you to make clips available under a Creative Commons license and I hope that you do and that it provides some kind of value to you.

  • Hi Dave,

    I love the idea of more artists sharing. At my company we are beginning to consider institutionalizing this. I will be following your work from here on.

    Good job, and good luck.

  • Hi Dave,
    Thanks for moving on this idea. I came across your site checking on a few Final Cut videos. I think this is a fantastic idea and I will follow and contribute if I can.
    Thanks, D

  • Hi Dave,

    I didn’t know other videographers were doing this. Yes, a system to organize the content would be really helpful. I’m not going to be giving away my best work but there’s no point leaving some unused shots sitting on a hard drive.

    You can check out my small but growing library over here:


    Once I have some more shots up I might put up a link to “buy me a beer” through paypal. Not that this will pay the rent but it might just…well, buy me beer!

  • Hello! I am so interested in this. I do art films, as well as educational films. There is no money in it, but I am an old broadcast journalist and my calling is to tell stories with film. This often means I need b roll.
    I would even consider adding my b roll to your stockpile. I live in NYC, so there may be interest in my stuff as well…let me know!