6 Ideas for Using Old Stock Footage

Also referred to as archive footage, the availability of old stock footage has made it easier for filmmakers to create their own works of film art. From the comforts of home and through the internet, budding filmmakers can gain access to wide number of websites offering stock footages. There are websites and users which offer their stock footage to use for free while others charge a small fee. The use of archive footages is easier and cheaper than filming all of the required scenes. Here are a few ideas on where to use stock footage.

1. Student Films and Presentations

Archive footages are renowned to be inexpensive to use. Because they are readily available on the Internet, it saves students and independent filmmakers time and money. Some of the biggest producers of stock footages include the American Government.

2. News

In most cases, news updates require up to date footages. In cases where news sources need to remind the viewers of past events, companies use stock footage. News reports often use stock footage when they need to show a common scene such as crowd of people or an overview of a busy highway.

3. Films

Movies that need to incorporate important historical events or prominent figures into the storyline include some form of stock footage. One notable example was the Academy Award winner Forrest Gump. The movie utilized a large number of stock footage to show figures such as John F. Kennedy, John Lennon and Richard Nixon and at times incorporating their main character into the footage to represent that the character is part of history as well.  

4. Television shows and Movie Series


Television and movie series which need to show the same scene repeatedly will find it more convenient to use stock footage instead of filming the same scene over and over. One notable example is the Star Trek series. The groups involved in making the series filmed and collected a library of takes involving starships. When the need for a starship arises, the post production crew would just pull up one of their footages to incorporate the necessary clip onto their video.

5. Nature Shows and Travel Documentaries

Cable channels involved in promoting travel destinations or incorporate animals into the episode will oftentimes use available stock footage. This makes it cheaper to create multiple videos of the same location over a longer period of time without the need of spending a lot of time travelling and filming a particular scene over and over again.

6. Commercials

Although the length of a finished commercial make it difficult to include any type of stock footage, some filmmakers and video editors will use it most especially during the brainstorming or even the storyboard stage. For a large production company, it may simply involve searching through their video libraries. More independent filmmakers can often use stock footage available online in order to make an easier visual presentation of the types of shots that they could use for the commercial. This method of downloading off the Internet makes it a cheaper choice rather than filming scenes for presentation purposes.