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Best Stock Video Sites for Royalty Free Stock Footage

We'll take look at my top picks when it comes to the best stock video sites for royalty-free stock footage no matter what style of video you're producing. Now, stock video footage is incredibly handy when producing a huge range of video content. From simple clips that you can use in a video intro or outro to B-role or C-role that helps you communicate specific actions and motions or messages in pretty much any of your video content.

Best Stock Video Sites for Royalty Free Stock Footage

It's also a huge time saver as well. But if you're reading this article, then you already know that there's a ton of stock video sites out there to choose from and that their definitely not all created equal. So, we're gonna run through my top picks, which projects I use them for, and why. And while I'm running through my recommendations if you've been using stock footage sites then let us know your number one pick and why down in the comments below.


Now, there are so many sites out there, both free and paid. You've got things like:

  1. Storyblocks
  2. Shutterstock
  3. Envato Elements
  4. Pond5
  5. Pixabay
  6. Videvo
  7. Pexels
  8. Coverr

And I'm sure that there's a heap there that I've missed as well. But there's a lot of them. So after trialing and testing out a lot of these, I do have a few favorites that we keep coming back to for various projects. So, were gonna start off with the free options and work our way into the paid options.

Now, if you are here looking for the free options then I would suggest at least hearing out my recommendations for the paid options because there is a difference. And it can be well worth the dollars that you are spending.

Now, just before I get to my recommendations I do want to stress here that you really need to look at the licensing agreement or the licensing terms whether you're looking at the free or paid stock video footage.

If you're gonna be using someone else's footage you need to know what your obligations are. In some cases, there might be none and you might be free to use the footage wherever you like in other cases you might need to give attribution or credit to whoever created the footage. In other cases, you might be restricted on what you can actually use the footage. So it could be solely for personal or private use.

Some license requirements, one that you put things on YouTube, and some other footage might need to have a totally different license if it's going to be part of a product that's going to be sold like a course or some sort of training product.

So, you really need to look at whether you're looking at free footage or paid footage look at the licensing requirements before you use the video footage.

It would be a pain to come back later or to get flagged for copyrighting infringement later after you've released the video.




Free options



Pexels and dareful.com

So, then looking at the free sites my top 2 recommendations right now are Pexels and dareful.com now both of these have a decent size library of stock footage and they both got pretty broad license terms as well. Meaning that in most cases again you'll need to look on a clip by clip basis or look specifically at your used case and where you're gonna be using these. But these two seem to have pretty loose license terms, meaning that you can use these in most places. But, again you definitely need to check.

Best Stock Video Sites for Royalty Free Stock Footage

Now, with any of these sites, they're really only as good as their licensing options. But also as good as their library or their catalog of stock footage. Obviously, when you're looking at stock footage you're gonna have something in mind that you're after it might be a time-lapse or a specific scene or action or someone doing a particular thing that you need to use or show in your videos.

So, generally what you'll find with the free sites is while they have a decent library, there nowhere near as full as comprehensive or as easy to search and find the footage as the paid solutions.

You'll also typically be limited to lower-quality file formats on the free sites. So some of them will only go up to HD and not have any 4K footage, some of them will only have 720p footage and not even 1080p. So, it really comes down to what is you're used case, obviously, if you've got no budget then some of these free sites are gonna help you.

Best Stock Video Sites for Royalty Free Stock Footage

But, if your after the best quality and the ease of use to find these clips, and in a lot of cases the broader license terms to be able to use them in different places with larger audiences as well, then that's where the paid options are really gonna stand out.



So, my current number one recommendation of the first place that I would say to go to would be Pexels and have a look on there first, then as a really close second I'd say to check out dareful.com this is based on the range of clips available and the quality of the clips but also the licensing terms as well. I've just found that Pixel is, for now, a better option.


Paid options or the professional options

This is where you're gonna see that the quality of the video files are gonna be higher, the library sizes are gonna be bigger, there's gonna be a lot more options in there for you. Its gonna be easier for you to find the clips that you're looking for in these library's cause the categorization of the clips and the tagging on the clips is generally on a much, much deeper level and you've generally also got a lot more control around licensing or options around licensing as well, to make sure that you're getting the license that is right for you.

Now, each one of these paid platforms does have a different offering. So, whether you can buy the clips outright or not, whether you've got to join up as part of a membership, a monthly or annual fee, and also how many clips you're gonna be purchasing at a particular time. Because some of them will also have bulk licensing or bulk distribution options as well.


Storyblocks

Best Stock Video Sites for Royalty Free Stock Footage

Now storyblocks is a subscription-based service. Meaning that you can't just buy a one-off clip, you need to have an ongoing subscription with storyblocks to be able to access the footage and to download clips. Now, with storyblocks you've got two subscription options, you can pay for the basic plan which will start at $8.25 per month or $99 annually, or you've got the unlimited plan at $16.59 per month or $199 annually.

  • The difference between the two is the basic plan is gonna give you five downloads of HD clips per month.
  • The unlimited plan is gonna give you unlimited downloads of HD and 4K clips per month.

But, so is it gonna give you access to some After Effects templates and some stocked motion graphics templates as well. So really for that $199 per year you get access to login anytime and download as much footage or as many of the templates as you like for your projects. And that is a huge selling feature here.



Now, Storyblocks itself is actually broken into two parts

You've got the member library, which is all the content that you get access to on those two plans. The basic plan and the unlimited plan. There's also the Storyblocks marketplace, Which is a little bit different. This is where user-generated content or content creators have uploaded their stock footage for you to buy.

Now, this isn't included in those fees, this is an additional expense. But, you do save 40% if you do have a subscription. So you get 40% off those clips if you're already a Storyblocks member.

Now, In my experience, I'm a huge fan of Storyblocks and we do have an ongoing subscription, have had an ongoing subscription with Storyblocks for quite some time. But when I'm searching for stock footage the clips that I'm drawn to, the clips that I like the most, aren't the ones that are included in the plan, aren't the ones that are included in their member library.

The better clips that I'm starting to find now, are the ones in the marketplace. So, it's no big deal because they're still cheap, but it is an added expense if they're the ones you're going to be using. So that Storyblocks.


Envato Elements

Best Stock Video Sites for Royalty Free Stock Footage

The second recommendation I have is Envato Elements. This is a really new thing that they've actually got stock video footage on here. Envato is the company that runs VideoHive which we obviously recommend for a lot of video templates, entitled templates, and graphic elements for your videos. But the stock footage side of this is new. And how there running it is very similar to Storyblocks, so it's a subscription-based model. So, there's a monthly plan for $19 per month.

There's also an annual plan for $16.50 per month. Now both of these plans give you unlimited downloads and they also give you commercial licensing as well. Meaning that these clips can be used in commercial projects. Now while the stock video footage library in here isn't as comprehensive as Storyblocks or Pond5 or Shutterstock right now. They are growing it fast.

What you do get in this subscription is access to other things in the Envato marketplace as well. You also get access to a heap of video templates, word press themes and plugins, stock photos, presentation graphic elements, and a heap of design assets and courses and things as well. So, it is definitely a much more comprehensive offering outside of just stock footage.

But if you are specifically looking for stock footage the library is okay but at this point, it's relatively small compared to the others. But at that price point, it's defiantly worth a look in.


Shutterstock and Pond5

Now the next two were gonna look at Shutterstock and Pond5. Probably in a different league. Meaning these ones you can buy the clips individually. Some of them could be as low as $37 a clip right up to thousands of dollars per clip depending on the license and the clip itself. But what you'll find with these two along with the higher price tag, is that you've got access to so much more stock footage, there is way more in there to choose from and to really help you find what you're looking for.

And obviously, with all of that extra footage the search functionality, the tagging, and the coding for each of those clips, they've made it so much easier to find the specific things that you're looking for. Because they've gone to that extra level of detail on tagging and describing all the clips for you.


Shutterstock

Best Stock Video Sites for Royalty Free Stock Footage

So, on Shutterstock, you can buy a single HD clip for around $75. But you can also buy a pack of clips as well. So you can purchase 5 HD clips for $359. 10 HD clips for $699. Or 25 HD clips for $1579. So you can see the more you buy, the cheaper each clip actually becomes. This is really tailored to more professional cooperate productions where you might be buying big chunks of B-role to fully documentary or your cooperate presentation. So that's the pricing for HD clips. There are 4K video files available as well at a higher price point.


Pond5

Best Stock Video Sites for Royalty Free Stock Footage

So with Pond5 as I said you can buy the clips individually starting at around the $35-$37 dollar mark up to thousands of dollars per clip, depending on the actual clip itself and the license that you require. But they do also have a membership option available as well. So that starts at $199 per month or you can jump on the annual plan for $999. So, that gives you access to download ten clips per month out of their catalog of over five hundred thousand clips.

And if you have any downloads remaining in a month then those downloads will roll over to the next month as well. So you're not losing them every month, you can actually build them up over time. If you're not using them. And that subscription also gives you access to HD and 4K video clips as well.


Last words

So you can see with those 4, Storyblocks,  Envato Elements, with Shutterstock and Pond5 they are totally different offerings. While they are all stock footage archives and places that you can buy stock footage, licensing for your videos, that are totally different as well. And their library is totally different, and I can't say that enough.

You really gotta look at it first, what clip do I want? And then what license do I need? Where is this video going? And then how much am I prepared to spend to get it? And that's where for us were gonna look at Storyblocks first. We already have a Storyblocks subscription.

At $199 per year becomes the absolute no-brainer to look there first. We'll then look at Envato Elements to see what's on there and if there's a fit for what were after at that time and then for any cooperate productions or higher budget productions we'd be doing then I would look at Shutterstock, and them Pond5.

But again it's not so much of go this one, then this one, then this one its find the footage first that is the best fit for your video and then find the license that works for you. And then make sure you're getting the right license for where you're video is going.

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