What Is Stock Footage?

The term stock footage is a term that can mean archive footage, library pictures, public domain footage or file footage. It is video footage or film that can be licensed to be used in other creative endeavors. Stock footage is beneficial especially during this time of a global pandemic because it allows the creative editor or producer to license film footage to use in their project without having to travel, or hire video crew to capture that footage.

Examples of stock footage could be aerial shots of Downtown Detroit Skyline, an immigrant family sitting around the dinner table, local event or art installation, business interactions, or wildlife and natural environments.

Stock footage is often used for commercials, corporate video, documentaries and news footage to show an event or place that the creator is trying to portray to the audience. Sometimes the event is a one time thing resulting in that footage being the only source of that event. Like the launch of a rocket or hurricane moving onto land. Once the event has happened it can never be replicated and so creators will use stock footage to show that event.

Stock Video Can Be Very Niche: Detroit Stock Footage

Stock footage can be very niche, for instance, stock footage of a specific medical facility or city like Stock Footage of Detroit. There are several sites with a solid library of stock footage of niche’s such as this.  Once such site Stock Footage Detroit holds dozens of clips of Detroit skyline, blighted burned buildings, inner city ghetto, Detroit Fire Department footage, Neighborhoods, Automotive Manufacturing and more. These clips are all specific to Detroit, having been filmed in the city by Detroit filmmakers. Below is a video offered for sale on our example site:

These stock footage sites offer royalty-free stock footage for sale that can be used in any creative endeavor whether online or broadcast.

Public Domain Footage

Some sites offer public domain footage. Public domain footage is video and film footage that resides in the public domain, meaning it is publicly available for use without charge for any project or production. The rights to the footage have expired, been forfeighted, or expressly waved. The United States Military and NASA are two of the largest producers of public domain footage. Both of these agencies have specific usage guidelines that can be found here: and here:

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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