Selling Your Media
Today I am going to write about selling your media online and what to expect when selling your footage or photos online.
First off let me just stop those of you who are reading this because you want to make a living from selling your footage or photos. You will never make a living off of selling footage or if you do it will take a lot of work and time. To be honest if you break up the time spent filming or photographing to how much you get paid I am sure it will be way less then minimum wage. So if you are looking for ways to quit your day job and make a living doing what you love look somewhere else.
Why Do I Sell My Media?
With all that said, I still love selling my stock footage and photography. The reason I sell my footage is because I will film/photograph my everyday adventures wether I sell it or not. It reminds me of when I was a kid hunting with my dad and I asked him how much money we save hunting verses buying meat from the store. He looked at me and smiled and said it costs more to hunt then to buy the meat. I asked. why hunt then? He told me because it gives him time to spend with me and my brothers and relax, camp, and enjoy nature. Much like hunting with my dad capturing moments when I am on the go in life forces me to focus on the little things and enjoy life. I do not do it to make a living or to make my money back. Instead of rushing through a new trail in the mountains I take my camera and tripod and make many stops photographing or filming different things that I may have missed all together.
Pond 5 is by far my favorite. If I have problems with other sites it is because Pond 5 set the bar high for my expectations. I love how easy there site is and how nice there people are. I met up with them at NAB 2011 and got a free shirt and got a card so I can call and ask any questions. Even when I email they are quick to respond. Once I had a problem with deleting my clips one at a time from the site because comcast uploaded 100 quicktime media files with errors. I was mad having to click each one and say delete then brought to a page saying are you sure you want to delete this. So it felt like it would take all day. So I emailed and asked if they could delete them on there side. I got a response that same day and they added a delete all button on the bottom just for me! I thought that was really neat and I am sure it took time to code up something like that on their end.
Pros: 50% cut when your footage is sold, I get to set the price for my clips, they let you do just about anything, they approve almost everything, customer service rocks!
Cons: No photography “they are adding it anyway now my portfolio is ready to submit with keywords!” Wish they had a way to combine clips easier then emailing them the clip id’s of the ones you want combined. For example a 3D and 2D version of a clip.
Shutterstock is mainly for photography and they just started supporting video awhile back. They are great on photography, however the first test with footage is hard to pass. They want perfection! However, once you pass the first test they ease up on how strict they are on approving your material. Shutterstock is ok with footage. It is probably my 2nd favorite site to post stock footage to. It gives your 30% cut when your footage is sold. Images it varies from $0.25 to $28.00 per download. The one thing I do not really like is they set the prices for you.
Pros: Easy interface, They respond quick when I email, accept most of my stock footage.
Cons: They set the price of my media, do not support 3D, They don’t let you download CSV file after they change it for there clips.
Revostock is the hardest. I just had a rough start with them from the get go so maybe I am biased to the other sites more. I just submitted the first batch after I got excepted and they rejected a few clips for odd reasons. One clip is of cars driving at night and I did a slow pan to the cars and then left it on them for about 5 sec then did a slow pan away from the cars. That way as an editor you can use the pan into the cars or use the pan out. It got rejected because at the end it panned out and into black. So I thought that was weird. Another clip they rejected was a focus pull from a pine tree to a lake. I forget why they rejected that one. All I know is I sold that one on pond 5 a few times. So right away I was kind of mad and have not really re submitted anything to them. When I film stock footage I usually do the same thing a producer tells me in a field when getting BRoll I will pan from the left the right and up and down. So the editor can use it as they well.. Usually if it is not over a minute long I will sell it all as one clip. I won’t chop it up into a right pan, left pan, ext. That way the customer gets more for what he bought and it is less work for me submitting one clip rather then 5. As you can tell I am still pretty mad that they rejected my clips and I am not going to re do my entire stock footage library to meet there needs.
Pros: Sett your own price, 45% non exclusive, 60% exclusive
Cons: No photography, Does not except clips that should be approved, Hard to work with, customer service not easy to deal with, The site is harder to use, “I don’t know if they support CSV files, because there site is hard to navigate.”
How To Prepare My Media?
I wish I read something like this when I first started. Would have saved me tons and tons of hours. Let me start with photographers. They have it by far the easiest. Especially if you are on a mac. Sorry PC people out there. I use Aperture on my mac to edit/ manage my photographs. I never have been a huge fan of a lot of manipulation as far as photo editing goes. So Aperture is good for me. The neat thing about this is you can use key words and descriptions ext with your photographs that stay with the photo as meta data when you export. What does that mean? It means you if you fill all of that stuff out in Aperture and export a photo to sell Shutterstock “and hopefully pond5” will support that meta data so you don’t have to re enter a description and keywords. Makes it way easier then messing with CSV files. JPG, Jpeg, or Tiif files are usually what is excepted.
Stock footage is harder…. 🙁 You have to export everything with a 95% quality photo-jpeg codec. Some sites will except ProRes however, there are still a lot of avid systems or PC’s that need or prefer the Photo-Jpeg clip. It also saves me a little room on my hard drive, and it is not sacrificing much on quality. If you use 100% quality the file size gets huge and it looks the same. The hard part is key words and everything. I have a CSV file in numbers/excel I use. I enter the file name and key words and a description. After I upload it I can apply the CSV to the clips. Pond 5 has an option for this. Shutterstock will let you email them the CSV and then they apply it to the clips and sometimes add to it. Which is nice but they can not give you the CSV with the changes. Don’t know why. The key words and description is the hardest part about selling stop footage. I wish that there was a program to do that on video like Aperture does with photographs. I know what you thinking, Aperture 3 supports video. I tried putting video into Aperture 3 and fill out keywords and description however it doesn’t save the meta data to the video when exported or to the root video file. Someone told me to try the new Final Cut X for media management. However, I do not know if that would work. Anyone out there know of a solution for this on stock footage? For now i’ll stick with my CSV method.
How Much do I make?
I make enough to have just a little spending cash each month. I have it set up and it usually works out to where it gives my wife enough money to support out little boy Austine each month in Nairobi Africa. Here is a picture of him with my brother in law as he is helping out with Connection Ministries over in Kenya. If you would like to help out a good cause click on the link above to help Tom and his wife provide for the orphans that they care for and teach school to.
If you like what you read here and think you will start selling footage or buy footage please use one of these links to create your account to buy footage. It will help me out and I can get a referral.