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Wednesday, 14 September 2011 15:29

Stock Footage on Demand

Written by  Jennifer Marino
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stockfootage_footagefirmsfwWhen productions need extra footage to enhance their films, they usually turn to stock footage companies to streamline the process.

Many of these companies are located in California, including Celebrity Footage in Beverly Hills, which offers a library with celebrity videos and interviews from premieres and red-carpet events, and Ocean Footage, which features the largest collection of HD ocean stock footage online and represents over 250 of the world’s top cinematographers.

In Marina del Rey, FootageBank HD supplies contemporary, high-definition, rights-managed content. The company also represents independent producers and provides content for scripted web programming. According to FootageBank HD, the company works with almost all scripted shows that are currently on the air. Recent projects include “Saturday Night Live,” “Bones,” “Private Practice,” “CSI,” “Warehouse 13,” “The Glades,” “Army Wives” and “The Good Wife.”

For a broad library, many productions turn to companies like Crystal Pyramid Productions/New & Unique Videos in San Diego. According to President Mark Schulze, the company supplies stock footage for studios like Disney and Paramount and many feature films, such as Anchorman. “We’ve been known to help people out with last-minute needs in the middle of the night,” says Schulze. “Chances are that I’ve shot the footage, so I am familiar with the library. I already know all the locations and I’ve got the permits so [productions] can have everything in HD shots for as little as 750 bucks. Our goal is to always exceed your expectations and make all parties happy in the end.” The company has an on-site stock-footage library of contemporary and archival images from around the world on Betacam SP, high-definition, digital and archival film formats.

In Colorado, Thought Equity Motion is a Denver-based company with a library that includes footage from globally renowned media companies, such as BBC Motion Gallery (BBC, CBS News, CCTV, NHK, ABC and more), Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, National Geographic, New York Times and NCAA. According to CEO/Founder Kevin Schaff, the company also provides aerial and establishing shots, special effects and a wide range of sports, news and entertainment footage dating from the 1920s to present day.
“As a supplier, Thought Equity is the best and most in-depth footage house that I know of, and I want my high-quality content to be a part of a library that’s of the same caliber,” says Andrew Wright of Wright Brothers Films. “[Thought Equity] consists of high production value, deep archives and creative content — and that’s where my content fits in best.”

Based in New York, F.I.L.M. Archives Inc. supplies both vintage and contemporary footage going back to the turn of the 20th century (1890–2011). “F.I.L.M Archives is a mainstay for any and all projects,” says Jodi Tripi, a stock footage researcher who has worked with the company for a decade. “I work on [projects] that involve archival footage. They’re simply an instant go-to. They’re able to work quickly, efficiently in both the research and master delivery arms, which is mandatory for me and the productions I work on.” F.I.L.M. Archives Inc. has supplied footage for high-profile productions such as Green Lantern and “Late Show with David Letterman.”

In Illinois, WPA Film Library specializes in archival material but the company is looking to expand its contemporary and HD clip library. According to WPA, its collection starts in 1896 and runs to present day. The company represents the British Pathe newsreels that chronicle almost 75 years of world history on film, and WPA’s footage depicting mid-century American pastimes, parades, domestic life, suburbia and industry is in high demand. In addition, the company offers contemporary, high-quality 35mm stock shots of U.S. cities, small towns and everyday American life from coast to coast. WPA has supplied footage for the films Iron Man 2, Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar (starring Leonardo DiCaprio), and Ken Burns’ PBS documentary series “Prohibition” and “The Dust Bowl.”

In Pennsylvania, Reda Archives, LLC prides itself on having the largest privately held archives in the United States. According to the company, its collections are rare due to the fact that most of the transfers come directly from film. Reda Archives provides footage for documentaries, biographies and productions in many other genres.

In Virginia, Footage Firm is a company that’s in high demand. “[We] started by focusing primarily on location-based footage, and our archive currently offers footage of over 150 countries,” says Footage Firm CEO/Owner Joel Holland. “We also provide a wide variety of additional stock media content, including looping-motion backgrounds, After Effects templates, sound FX, production music and more. The goal of Footage Firm is to be a one-stop shop for high-quality, low-cost video production elements of all types.”

Art Director Tim Johnson knows the value of Footage Firm’s cost-efficient services. “I’ve been in the industry for two decades, working predominantly in broadcast and film,” says Johnson. “Footage Firm is one of those rare finds that helps make ‘break-even’ projects into ‘tidy-profit’ centers. The cost of the footage in many cases is less than the lunch you buy to meet the client. In an age of shrinking budgets and increasing expectations, Footage Firm is becoming a necessary part of my motion graphics business.”

Based out of Charlotte, N.C., StreamWerx shoots HD aerial footage of cityscapes, scenic National Forests in the eastern U.S. and Alaska. The company’s footage can be found on and its Alaska footage is available at According to SteamWerx, their footage has been used for History Channel’s “Monster Quest” and “Blood, Sweat and Gears,” SOAPnet’s “Southern Belles: Louisville,” Inspiration Network’s “Everyday Woman,” and Kenai Fjords National Park.

In Canada, RAP (Real Action Pictures) International Inc. produces its own footage that is mainly shot on Super 16 and transfers nicely to HD. According to the company, its clients include McDonalds, Molson and Pharmaton Vitamins, and RAP supplied the opening avalanche sequence for the movie I Spy, starring Eddie Murphy. “Our genres include action sports, nature, unusual locations and people, avalanches and Olympic sport footage [not shot at the Olympics],” says RAP Producer/Director James Angrove.

Photo above (L-R): Marketing Representative Jason Chong, Customer Service Representative Abby Lynch, Founder Joel Holland, Project Manager Laura Corson and Editor Adam Schreck from Footage Firm

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