An Analysis of Stock Footage Prices at Top Licensing Agencies

Stock footage helps you enhance your video production and even film projects. With so many stock video sites out there, you may be wondering about the cost of stock video clips. In this article we will cover the topic related to the cost of stock footage from the popular stock video libraries. 

So how much does stock footage cost?

The price range for a good quality stock video clips may range between $50 and $500 (or even more). The fee depends on a couple of factors. First, it depends on the resolution (HD, 4K, 8K). Second, it depends on whether you buy one single clip, a pack of videos, or a video subscription. The cost will also vary depending on the stock library you choose. Below we list the most popular stock video sites that you can use for your stock footage needs.

Shutterstock is a popular place to buy and find stock videos, with a large library of high-quality, royalty-free video clips. Shutterstock has over 20 million video clips to choose from. The cost of Shutterstock's video clips is determined by resolution, and you can license them individually, in packs, or by buying credits [more about Shutterstock licensing]. A single clip ranges from $65 for SD resolution to $179 for 4K resolution.

If you download videos in packs, you can get a better deal with 5, 10, or 25 videos. For examples, if you buy the 5-video pack of HD clips, your price per clip will go down from $79 to $71.80. With 25 clips the price goes down to $63.16.

The new credit system on Shutterstock offers even more savings. If you buy monthly credits within their All-in-one plan, the cost per clip can go down as low as $2.65/clip. This all-in-one subscription does not include the enhanced license that you will need for theatrical and film distribution for your video. For that you will need to get in touch with Shutterstock separately.

iStock (known also as iStockphoto) is another top stock footage site with a reputation for high-quality video content. They price their videos in credits, and the cost is determined by the collection the video is part of, not the resolution. A single clip ranges from 6 credits ($60) for their Essential collection to 18 credits ($170) for their Signature collection. If you buy large credit packs, you can reduce the cost per clip.

You can also try iStock's Premium+Video subscription. Here a single video clip ranges $9.99 with 10 downloads per month to $5.30 within the 50 download tier.

123RF is another strong player in the industry of stock video. You can also buy credit packs where the price per video clips can be under $30 with the 1,000 credit packs. The big benefit is that these credit packs include the Extended license, which is beneficial for projects with distributions going beyond the online world.

Filmsupply is another interesting source of stock footage. This website offers cinematic footage, which is more expensive than your usual stock video provider. Starting at $109 per clip, you get the quality from practicing filmmakers. In other words, you get access to more professional footage available in RAW, LOG and other formats that video pros may need. Such stock footage providers usually work with large marketing and production agencies as well as film studios. If your budget allows that, you can check them out.

There is also a cohort of free stock video sites where you can download any type of stock footage. Check them out here. If you need 4K footage for free or a small fee, head over to this list of such stock video libraries or sources.

Things to consider before buying

When you buy stock footage, consider these several important factors before using the videos in your video or film.

License and Usage Restrictions: When buying stock footage, it's important to know what the licensing terms are and how the footage can be used. Some stock video agencies may have restrictions on the type of projects the footage can be used for, the number of times it can be used, or the length of time it can be used. Read the licensing agreement before buying those clips.

Search and Filtering Options: Some stock footage sites have extensive libraries of footage, making it difficult to find exactly what you need. Choose an agency that has a robust search and filtering system, allowing you to find the clips you need based on keywords, categories, or other search criteria.

Quality and Format: Not all stock footage is equal. Some stock video sites may offer lower quality footage or footage in formats not compatible with the rest of your footage . Make sure you choose an agency that offers high quality footage in a format that will work for you.

Customer Support: If you have any questions or problems when using stock footage, make sure you have access to customer support that can help you. Choose a stock video site that offers customer support via phone, email, or chat, and that has a good reputation for being responsive and helpful.

User Reviews: Take into account the opinions and experiences of other users when choosing a stock footage agency. Read user reviews and feedback on independent websites and forums, to get a better idea of the quality of their footage and customer service.

There is one caveat, though. You may be exposed more to negative reviews about the major stock sites. Why that? A lot of users don't remember what subscription they purchased. When their subscriptions renew, some users may freak out and ask for a refund. Refunds may not happened all the time due to various reasons and rules of the subscription. So these users may go to review sites and vent about the experience. So take the strongly negative reviews with a grain of salt.

In conclusion, the cost of stock footage will depend on your budget, the resolution you need, and the volume of content you need. Compare prices from different agencies and consider their unique offerings, such as video packs and subscriptions, quality of footage, so that you can get the best value for your budget.