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My journey into the video footage stock market

In this and in future posts I will describe my journey into the video stock footage market and howto maybe become a successful stock footage contributor. At the moment I am a total blank sheet of paper. I do not know anything about stock footage.

The next few month will post what I am doing and how I doing it to get maybe a successful footage stock market seller. I show you the raw process how I get there. I will show you the success and the fails without any restrictions.

So lets start!

First thoughts

There are so many possibilities in the video footage stock market that I have first to think about which direction I want to choose. The topics are endless.
So where should I head to? Which is the best topic for me.
Lets just make a list what topics are out there.

  • 3D animated short videos
  • Video FX videos
  • Nature videos
  • Food videos
  • Handcraft videos
  • People in Business situations
  • Business situations with just body parts seen in the video
  • Sport action

Now lets think about what equipment I have which is useful to produce Videos

  • Photo Studio 80 m² (and 2400 m² available space)
  • Canon 5D Mark II
  • Canon 550D
  • different lenses and Filters
  • Tripods
  • GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition
  • Several mounts for the GoPro
  • Canon Legria HFR506
  • Continuous Studio lights
  • Blender 3D
  • Cinema 4D
  • Adobe After Effects
  • Magicx Video Deluxe
  • Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Camtasia Studio
  • Adobe Photoshop

Next thing is where could I sell my videos I produce and what are the terms for stock footages. There are several questions.

  • What Stock footage Agencies are out there?
  • How is the process to upload and publish the footage
  • What resolution should a footage have?
  • How long should a footage be to get sold?

What Stock footage Agencies are out there?

  • Pond5
  • Shutterstock
  • Fotolia
  • Dreamstime
  • iStockphoto
  • 123rf
  • Depositphotos
  • Alamy

Ok these are 8 Agencies where I contribute Images and they accept also video footage. Thats a start now lets find out what are the terms to upload video footage to these Agencies. I think then I will have the most questions answered.


Pond5 has a Media Guideline so lets have a look.

It seems that they accept all kind of high-quality Cameras like DSLR, Professional Cameras, Consumer Cameras, GoPros and even IPhone 4s videos. The clips should be between 3 and 120 seconds and not larger then 2 GB. And they accept any resolution and frame rate from 320×240 up to 4K in nearly any codec. So Pond5 seems to be a good starting point.


Shutterstock has guidelines for submissions as well. The footage should be at min 480px high and has to be in the 4:3 format. NTSC Standard with 29,97fps is recommended but they accept PAL with 25fps as well. They say they will try to accept nearly all codecs.

So far no restrictions.


The Guidelines of Fotolia are a little bit more specific then on Pond5 and Shutterstock. The resolution is at min 320×240 and max 1920×1080, formats are asf, avi, flv, h264, mov, mpec, mpegts, mpegvideo and the supported codecs are flv, dvvideo, h264, mjpeg, mpeg1video, mpeg2video, mpeg4, rpza, svq1, vp6f, wmv2 and wmv3. The length is minimum 5 sec and maximum 60 seconds. Maximum file size 600mb, FPs 24,25,29.97 or 30fps corresponding to the footage format. A bit more restricted but manageable.


The Guidelines of Dreamstime are not so clear about the technical requirements. What i see they want the mov Quicktime format compressed with the PhotoJPEG or Motion-JPEG(MJPEG) codec and a max length of the footage of 30 seconds. They don’t talk about the resolution minimum but they don’t wanna have upsampled footage. I assume that it is the best for Dreamstime to deliver footage with the MOV format with a resolution of 1920×1080 and 24, 25, 29,97 or 30 fps.


There is a training manual on iStockphoto. The video footage should be 5 to 30 seconds in length. They accept to formats, the MP4 format with a max resolution of 640×360 with 24 up to 30 fps and the MOV format with a max resolution of 1920×1080 with 24 up to 30 fps. To be able to upload some footage to iStockphoto you have to read the manual and do a test and then they want that you upload 3 sample videos as an Application.


I haven’t found any specific guideline. I assume that it is the best to deliver in the highest quality and the best format.


Depositphotos seems to accept nearly all formats and codecs. The minimum resolution is 320×240 and the maximum is 1920×1080. Minimum length of the footage is 3 seconds and the maximum is 60 seconds. Maximum file size is 1 GB.


The Alamy Guideline tells us that they want the files as mov format and with Photo JPEG, H.264, MJPEG, ProRes 422, DV or HDV. The minimum resolution is 720×480 and the maximum is 1920×1080. Minimum length of the footage is 3 seconds and the maximum is 60 seconds.  But the most difficult thing is that they want for your Application a link of existing stock video work and a minimum of 250 clips to submit per submission.
That seems to be a lot of work.

I am sure out there are a few more Agencies but I think to work with these 8 agencies should be enough for the start. iStockphoto and Alamy has to wait until I have some really good stuff and then I will send them my Applications.

Where to start

Now that I know with which Agencies I can work with at the start, it is time to do some research and make a plan where to start. At the beginning I want to work with 6 Agencies Pond5, Shutterstock, Fotolia, Dreamstime, 123rf and Depositphotos. Now I think I am going to bring all my technical stuff togheter an do a little bit of Brainstorming.

My next post about my journey to be a successful stock footage contributor will be about “The Plan” .






My name is Michael Novelo I am in the IT Business since 22 years and since 2009 a full time Digital Artist

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