Taking stock – should you or shouldn’t you?

It’s that time of the year, when we all take stock – what were the highs and lows, what goals did we set, which ones were met, and so on and so forth!

Today’s post, though, is about the ifs and buts of using “stock footage” for business presentations and explainer videos – should you or shouldn’t you?

Well, like everything else – there’s two sides to this story.

So let’s first look at the plus-side:

  1. Stock footage saves money: If that’s not a BIG reason to use it, we don’t know what is. You can get free clips, it’s royalty-free, and even if you do opt for some of the “paid clips” – the fee for those are minimal compared to having to shoot new stock.
  2. Stock footage saves time: Follows on from the first point – especially when your presentation is wanted yesterday (isn’t it always?).
  3. Stock footage is professional: In other words, it’s not amateurs shooting home-videos with a handycam, it’s experts who have created those shots for a footage bank or library. They do that job better, thereby helping you to focus on doing yours better!
  4. Stock-footage is high-quality: Naturally, because professionals work with better equipment, and you get the benefit of higher resolution images, with all the details right (i.e. free of sudden blurs, and drop-out sounds!).
  5. Stock-footage adds value: When you need to pack a punch – there’s nothing like a well-chosen clip. (Even better than those pictures that you think might be worth a thousand words.) And here’s a trade secret: sometimes existing clips can actually help you create your story-flow! So you can actually reverse the working process, i.e. start with available material, and fit the script (or script the fit!) accordingly.

Now for the minus-side:

  1. Stock-footage can seem repetitive: Perhaps more for some categories than others, but chances are a handful of clips are so over-used there’s that deja-vu feeling – which can be counter-productive. This however can be addressed by not picking the first few clips that come up in a search. Dig deep if you want something better (less-seen = more-impact!).
  2. Stock-footage can be cliched: All those same-old same-old beach shots? Or hugs and handshakes and shiny happy people? Sad, but true. Once again, though, a lot depends on the skills of the searcher – strong and unusual keywords can bring up strong and unusual images.
  3. Stock-footage can surprise you with hidden costs: Now that would be a nasty surprise, wouldn’t it? Do remember to read the fine print – or else you might end up paying more than you had bargained for.

So, with 5 Pros and 3 Cons – can we safely say stock-footage is a winner, if wisely-chosen and well-applied?

You decide!