Can I really support myself with stock footage?

And why would I care, as a writer, filmmaker, or actor?

[Edited May 22, 2016 with info about the $450 GoPro Hero4 Black 4K camera and to update 4K versus 1080p shooting.]




One of the greatest frustrations to me, as a busy TV editing freelancer, is that my writing time so often gets squeezed out by a schedule that is outside my control.

On the surface, selling stock footage seems incredibly attractive. On my own schedule, I go out with my camera, take some video clips, and then coast on that income while I write. Hey, I can even take videos at locations that inspire my writing. If you’re an actor or filmmaker, you may find yourself with free time in between gigs, and sometimes even access to great film equipment before you return it to the rental house.

Even better, stock photographers can take vacations around the world, and pay for much or all of their trips by taking some shots while they’re away… plus write off trip expenses on their taxes!

But is stock footage income viable?



One of Pond5’s highest sellers, $60,000 and counting!

It’s true! This clip shot with a DSLR made over $12,000 from ONE SITE ALONE. Most stock footage is sold on an least 5 different sites simultaneously, meaning this single shot may have made over $60,000! (You may recognize this shot from the opening of the recent ‘Touch’ TV show).

Many will tell you that the Golden Age of stock footage is over. That is simply not true! One TV show I worked on recently spent as much as $25,000 PER EPISODE on stock footage. Almost every TV series I work on uses it in some way, as it is usually much cheaper than sending a camera crew out to get the same shot. And with more people than ever before creating video content for the web, stock footage is in as much demand as ever!


My experiment:

Always an entrepreneur, I decided to test the theory that stock footage could help my writing. In mid 2011, I bought a DSLR, with some lenses and support gear. My wife was unable to do her regular acting work because of a pesky knee injury, so we felt even better about the investment… We could share the camera, and have double the productivity.

We went to the zoo, took a bunch of videos of the animals, and uploaded them to Pond5, a well known stock footage site. I also do motion graphics, so I whipped a few samples together and uploaded those too.



We waited excitedly for the money to come pouring in.

And waited.

And waited some more.

After a few months, we got a sale! One sale. $20, against over $2000 of gear investment.

Stock footage was clearly not a “get rich quick” scheme! But people DO make an income from it… some make six figures or more. What were we doing wrong?

I researched. A lot. Spent time on many stock footage sites, analyzing what sold, and who was selling. Bought and read books.

Our first mistake: only uploading to one stock footage site. Different sites specialize in different subjects, and have different customers. We decided to expand our footage to 5 different sites.

2nd mistake: just because you see a lot of something on the microstock sites doesn’t mean it sells. For instance, they are saturated with shots of zoo animals, because these are very easy to shoot. Only the very best will sell, and even these will be hard to find amidst the sea of similar shots. Other saturated subjects include flowers (my wife’s favorite), and clouds.



It’s not that they don’t sell… for instance, my shot of this yawning zoo lion, taken on a family trip to the zoo, has had a few sales, but they won’t sell as often as unique subjects. Note here how I deliberately framed the shot to allow for ad text. This could have helped it sell.

That said, looking forward, our focus is to shoot and generate clips that are more in demand, and make sure they are uploaded to all the sites.

By 2012, we had about 30 clips, including our zoo stuff, on these 5 sites, and were averaging a $20 commission per week.

It doesn’t sound like much… Or does it?




The potential:

Consider this: if we stopped at 30 clips, those clips would generate $1000/year. In 2 years, our camera equipment would be paid for, and the clips would continue to make $1000 every year. This is called a “passive income” — a steady income stream that continues with no further intervention.

But what if we keep on shooting? Read on below for some real-world calculations after a couple of years of testing…


This was shot without a tripod, as I was sitting at a table of a holiday banquet.



After several years at it, and after conferring with stock author James Orlowski, I’ve come up with some real world calculations that will help you to strategize your stock footage.

Each well-shot 4k clip you upload (usually 10-20 seconds long) should average about $25/year*, and have a useful lifespan of 10 or more years. Since it takes an average of 30-60 minutes to shoot, import, select, upload, and describe/keyword each clip (assuming a shoot day where you shoot 5-10 usable clips), you could say that you make over $300/hour shooting stock footage. Not bad! The only catch: you won’t see the full $300 for 10 years.

NOTE: 1080p footage that you have already shot is worth uploading and will still sell, but anything that you shoot going forward should be in 4K. It can be priced higher and will have a much longer lifespan.

So… the best way to make it work is to shoot and upload a lot, especially in the beginning. If you have 1000 good clips in your portfolio, they will generate $25,000 per year for the next 10 years, or $250,000 total. If you want a $100,000 yearly income from it, you will need a portfolio of 4000 clips. That sounds like a lot, but keep in mind that you could shoot 4000 clips in 1 year, and then stop shooting completely, and the portfolio would continue to generate $100,000 yearly with no further intervention**. $1 MILLION for one year of work is pretty impressive!

The more you practice, the faster you will get. With experience, you’ll begin to find interesting angles of a location you never would have found in the beginning, so one trip to a location or home studio shoot might net 20 usable videos, while in the beginning you might have only been able to find 4 or 5. Also, your keywording will get faster and more efficient. At first, it would take me 3-5 minutes to keyword/tag one clip. Now, I do it in 30 seconds. Also, some sites, like Pond5, offer templates that can greatly accelerate your keyboarding. All this helps your “per hour” figure increase, and frees your time to generate more clips!

* $25/year estimate depends on the clip being well shot, with appealing in-demand content, priced properly, and uploaded to at least 3 of the highest performing stock footage sites. Learn more about how to do this by reading the resources below. Some types of content may sell for much more — for instance, exclusive locations, military footage, or anything shot with high end production values.

** These are simplifications, and not a replacement for your own research and testing. Also, the market continues to get more and more competitive, so sales may decline year over year. Most experienced stock footage shooters suggest that you never stop generating new material.


MY HIGHEST SELLING STOCK CLIP – Motion graphics sell too!

Another fringe benefit: most of the microstock sites have referral programs… If you refer another videographer to the site, you receive a commission on any footage they sell. This does not come out if their commission, so it is a win-win.

Stock sound effects:

Not handy with a camera? You can actually make a lot of money with stock sound effects too! Audio files are easy to record with a $199 hand-held recorder like the TASCAM DR-40, take up very little hard drive space and internet bandwidth, and don’t have to be converted into various formats or edited with an expensive video application. If you really want to do this seriously, it doesn’t have to break the bank: I recommend also buying a shotgun mic like the RODE NTG-2 (available in a cost-effective kit with boom pole, wind shield & more!). The shotgun mic is by no means necessary, but allows you to isolate sounds from what’s around them. Keep in mind of course you can use this audio gear on your film projects too! Browse more audio gear HERE.


This TASCAM DR-40 audio recorder has built-in mics — get started for only $200!


The caveats?

There are a few:

– you have to expend a lot of time and money in the beginning before you see any results. Luckily, great quality cameras are cheaper than ever, but you’ll need at least a decent DSLR and tripod, with a selection of lenses — telephoto, wide, and a good quality standard zoom. Expect to pay $1000-$3000, and don’t expect to see a significant return in the first few months.

– you’ll need a good internet connection, preferably with fast uploading and a high bandwidth allowance.

– it takes a fair amount of time to prepare and submit your clips to the various sites, including coming up with descriptions and keywords, and compressing to the different format requirements of each site.

WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH A TELEPHOTO LENS! This was shot with a 300mm lens on a Panasonic GH2.


4K is roughly 4 times the resolution of 1080p, and is the preferred format for digital cinema projection. While there are many flavors of 4K, the main formats are either “Cinema 4K,” which is 4096×2160 at 24 fps, or “QFHD 4K” (also called “Ultra HD” or “UHD”), which is 3840×2160 at up to 30 fps. Several Netflix shows are shot and aired in 4K, and 4K televisions can be purchased for $599 or lower at your local Wal-Mart.

Unlike 3D, which is difficult to work with in production and post, and most consumers saw as an unnecessary gimmick, 4K is easy to work with and has many practical purposes. It allows you to project your image much larger, zoom in to your image without quality loss, and also future-proof your material. Are you still shooting anything in standard definition? We will be asking that question about 1080p soon enough.

Being an early adopter of 4K means that you will have 4K stock footage for sale before the market becomes saturated, as happened with photos and is steadily happening with 1080p. Plus, you can price it much more highly, which means more for every sale! And if you shoot in Ultra HD you can shoot once, down convert to 1080p, and deliver both versions at once.


How do you get started?


1. Get the gear

Don’t forget that this gear is also an investment for other projects you do, from short films and webisodes to kick-butt vacation photos.

You may wish to lease equipment, as this delays much of the purchase cost until you start to earn income from it. Also, you may be able to write off as much as 100% of the lease payment on your taxes.

However, you end up paying a lot of interest over the course of a lease term, so you may prefer to just buy the gear outright. You can start small, with just camera and tripod, and add other gear later as you can afford it.

There’s no reason it needs to be complicated. Here is…




Priced at $1499 or less (body only), the Panasonic Lumix GH4 is BY FAR the best camera for stock footage:

– True 4K video at 100 Mbit (Cinema 4K: 4096×2160 at 24 fps and QFHD 4K: 3840×2160 at up to 30 fps)
– 1080p at up to 96 fps and up to 200 Mbit for beyond broadcast quality and amazing slow motion
– 1080p at 10 bit 4:4:4 via post processing
– 4K at up to 10 bit 4:2:2 via HDMI or SDI output & XLR inputs via optional accessory
built in timelapse controller
– true time code
– wireless control and viewing by iOS or Android device
– share lenses with Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera
– lens adapters available to use virtually any lens



ALSO: Panasonic LUMIX DMW-YAGH Interface Unit, Pro Audio Video + SDI Interface for LUMIX GH4

OR BUNDLE BOTH: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Camera Body, Black with DMW-YAGH Pro Audio Video Interface Unit

Special Amazon mini-store for GH4, lenses & accessories: CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE for lots more info about the GH4 and sample footage.


There are two recommended lower budget options. You can shoot 4K for only $699 (all-inclusive) with the DMC-FZ1000 bridge camera, or the Panasonic LX100 4K camera. There are important differences between these cameras:


The Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 is incredibly exciting! For the first time, you can shoot 4K at a broadcast quality bit rate for only $699. It inherits a lot from its big brother, the GH4. However there are some important caveats. Here are the main pros of the camera:

– Full 4K UHD 2840×2160 at 30P, same 100Mbit data rate as GH4. This is perfect for stock footage!
– Built in bright Leica Lens – F2.8-4.0, giving you massive 25-400mm zoom range.
– 1-inch 20 megapixel MOS Sensor, allowing increased depth of field and less noise at high ISO.
– 5-axis in-camera stabilization! (note that this is 3-axis for 4K shooting)
– ultrafast autofocus of approx. 0.09 sec (wide-end) / 0.17 sec (tele-end).
– macro to 3cm / 1.18 in.
– very high range telephoto in 4K – 592mm in 35mm terms.
– mic input.

But there are important caveats:

– Only 4K shoots at broadcast quality. 1080p and lower resort to AVCHD codec at much lower bit rates (though for stock footage you’d want to shoot in 4K anyway).
– When shooting 4K, it crops the lens to a 37-592mm equivalent… great for telephoto but no ultra-wide end.
– The HDMI output only works on playback, not for shooting.
– 8 bit color, compared to 10 bit on the GH4.
– tripod plate must be removed to change battery or memory card (not a problem for stock footage, but will be if you plan to shoot events with it – particularly if you’re using a stabilizer like a Glidecam that must be re-balanced).
– 30 minutes maximum record time (not a problem for stock footage, but will be if you plan to shoot events with it).
– no headphone output.
– smaller battery than GH4, so only about 2 hours battery life. However, replacement batteries are inexpensive.
– f2.8 aperture is not constant – changes to f4.0 as you zoom (can set it to f4.0 to have it stay constant, or just shoot at the wider end in low light).

Still, you get 4K for $699 all-in, including a very capable extreme zoom lens, and a stellar still camera too. Also, you can always downconvert to 1080p when needed, and you still get the higher quality bit rate.

Order Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 at Amazon: CLICK HERE



The Panasonic Lumix LX100 is also capable of shooting 4K, in a much smaller form factor. It has a large light-sensitive sensor, and shares the same quad processor as the much more expensive GH4. It has a faster Leica 24-75mm F1.7-2.8 lens, though not as long zoom range as the FZ1000, has a 15 minute shot limit in 4K, and does not feature an external mic input. However, it shoots genuine 4K using the GH4’s impressive codec, in both 24P and 30P. Also, there is a cool array of manual controls — much handier than digging into menus. Another advantage over the LX1000 is that it shoots much wider (25mm) in 4K.


Consider — you could buy BOTH an LX100 and an FZ1000 for the price of one GH4 body — and that’s with great lenses built in!





The GoPro Hero4 Black, at $450, may be your cheapest entry point for stock footage. As long as you shoot in the ProTune format, GoPro footage is accepted to many stock footage sites. Since this new camera can do 2.7K/60p slow motion, time lapses, and 4K at 30fps, it is very flexible for many types of stock footage.

This camera could pay for itself in a few weeks!

GOPRO QUICK LINK: GoPro HERO4: Black Edition Camera


2. Research

Almost all of the microstock sites let you view their footage in categories, in order of what’s selling the most. Spend some time getting a feel for what you might shoot that would sell, and also what each site’s technical requirements are. Sign up for their email newsletters, because these show the week’s highest selling clips.

STOCK SITES: Shutterstock •  iStockPhotoPond5Fotolia123RF

I also recommend these books on photographic technique and stock footage (starting at $3):
CLICK HERE to browse.




3. Shoot!

Most stock sites won’t approve you to sell until you submit a portfolio of clips to review. These should be a wide assortment of unrelated clips. They need to be your best work, taken on a tripod, with proper lighting and focus.

ADVANCED TIP: You can double your productivity by just taking two cameras to a location. For instance, while one camera is taken recording a long time-lapse shot, you can be getting details with your second camera. Since the gear is so cheap now, might as well double up!


WHEN IN DOUBT, SHOOT! This clip of an Alpaca chewing is overexposed because he was partly in the shade, and partly in bright sun. Yet… it has sold, and more than covered the cost of a yearly zoo membership!


Once you have shot and gathered this assortment of clips…


4. Sign up for as many stock sites as possible

Please use these links (I will get a referral bonus)

STOCK SITES: Shutterstock •  iStockPhoto • Pond5 • Fotolia123RFCan Stock Photo

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Shutterstock has VERY fast approval times, easy tagging system, a high approval rate, and generates lots of sales. Highly recommended!

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Royalty-Free Stock Video at Pond5

Pond5 has a very high approval rate for clips (though can be slow to process), lets you set your own prices, has a flexible system for tagging the clips, and is where I get most of my sales. Highly recommended!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

iStockPhoto has a cumbersome keyword system, very slow approval times, low approval rate, and very low percentage commission (18%, vs 50% at Pond5). Some report that they make up for it in traffic and number of sales, but that has not been my experience. They are most likely NOT worth the effort for you.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Stock Photos

Can Stock Photo has slow approval times, and very low sales for me. Useful if you want to spread your footage around as much as possible, but probably NOT worth your time.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Stock Photos from 123RF

123RF is new to the video game, having been primarily for stills before. They have quickly become my #3 selling site — they have a high approval rate, and relatively long approval times, but good sales. If you only sign up for 3 sites, this should probably be #3.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Fotolia has a very high rejection rate, and slow approval times. However, Adobe recently acquired Fotolia, so I expect sales to rise sharply — you can buy Fotolia stock right from within Adobe apps now (of course, called Adobe Stock).

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –




5. Consistently shoot & upload

Once you’re approved, keep shooting and uploading, to grow your portfolio over time. Consistency is key, and always keep your eyes open for ideas. Even network dramas use stock footage! When you watch TV or surf the Internet, try to get an idea of what stock videos are being used, and what might be in demand. And continue to get familiar with each stock site, to see where holes might exist in their catalogs.

A stock researcher once told me he needed a shot of bacon frying, and couldn’t find one on any of the stock sites. You could’ve shot that in your own home, as you made breakfast.

Yes, it could be that easy!


ALWAYS HAVE YOUR CAMERA WITH YOU! Be ready for opportunities and they will come!


Q & A


Shoot and submit material as 4K UHD/30P. 30P It sells twice as much as 24P material, and has the most frame information if being converted to other formats. If you shoot slow motion 60P, slow it to 50% and deliver it as 30P.

The only exception — much television and film work is 24P. If you are specifically shooting to target those mediums, you may consider 24P, including the cinema resolution of 4K, 4096×2160 (if you shoot at 4096×2160 you can crop the right and left edges to deliver 3840×2160).


Even at the beginning, you MUST adopt a numbering/file name system — all my clips are dated when I shoot, and exported as 00121-ThisItem, 00122-ThatItem. Then keep an Excel spreadsheet for all the clips, with Title, Description, Key Words, and other information (like where you have submitted the material) all in one place.

Also, I suggest having short names for compression format – PJ75 for Photo Jpeg 75, PJ95 for Photo Jpeg 95, etc. That way you can easily find the right clips later. So for each clip I might have: (PR=ProRes, my editing format) (PJ75 is accepted by most stock sites) (PJ95 is required by iStockPhoto and MotionElements)


In the beginning, I priced my clips at around $40 each, which meant $20 per sale came to me. As I became more confident in my shooting ability, I bumped the clips up to $60 ($80-100 for 4K). This seems like a sweet spot between having the appearance of quality (i.e. not seen as “cheap”) but still very affordable for most buyers, and nets me $30 per sale ($40-$50 per sale for 4K).

In my testing, I have NOT found that dropping the price increases sales. There are many buyers who will deliberately avoid the lower priced clips, thinking they must not be as professionally done.

That said, buyers often sort the stock footage catalogs based on number of views, or number of sales. There may be an advantage to TEMPORARILY offering your clips at the lowest possible price after they are first approved, to gain views and sales. After about a month, you can bump up your prices, and your stock clips will appear higher in the searches. For the same reason, I suggest opting in to the “free clip promotions” offered on many sites — this is set on a clip-by-clip basis.

NOTE: Any material that is particularly rare, in high demand, very high quality, or selling well, may be priced MUCH higher. For instance, if you have special access to military footage, it can sell for as high as $1000 per download. Or, if you shoot with very high production values (for instance, with professional models and a 4K or RED camera), you may price the clips at $200-$400 per download. 50% of every download will go to you… pretty sweet!

More questions? Please leave them in the comments below!

23 thoughts on “STOCK FOOTAGE PRIMER”

  1. Gray, thanks for the information! The main thing that has kept me from attempting to get into the stock video / stock photography game is the legal aspects of shooting people, property, etc. I think iStock provides the release forms they need, but how complicated is it? Do you tend to stay away from shots that would require release forms?

  2. Thanks Emily for your question!

    You’re absolutely right that recognizable people and locations need to be considered. There are a few helpful books and eBooks in the store here, starting at $3:

    In general…

    – There’s tons of stock footage you can get that doesn’t involve recognizable people/locations — nature scenics, flowers, objects, etc.

    – When there’s something recognizable, like car license plates or people’s faces, try to frame the shot to avoid these details. For instance, people walking away from you, the sides of cars, or a wide enough shot that the details are too far away in the image to be identified. In the $12,000 shot at the top of this page, the videographer just focused in such a way that the closest people to the camera were out of focus, and the people who were in focus were far enough away that you can’t make out their faces.

    – All stock sites have downloadable release forms. You don’t need one for each site, but just print out a few copies of: 1) the adult release, 2) the minor release, and 3) the property release, and carry these in your camera bag. You’d be amazed how many people will be willing to let you use their photo for stock footage, in exchange for a copy of it (printed or emailed). Don’t we all need better photos of ourselves? This may work for locations too — you might find a really beautiful house, and the homeowner may be willing to trade copies of the photos/videos in exchange for signing the form.

    – If there are recognizable details but there is editorial value to the footage (like a house fire), you can submit it to the stock sites as “editorial” — this means that news companies could use it for its editorial value, and they don’t generally need releases for such uses.

    Does this help? I would suggest also getting at least one of the stock footage books/eBooks linked above.


  3. Slapping my forehead and wondering why I haven’t attempted this. Very informative, Gray. Seems like a potentially rewarding investment of time for videographers, not to mention it will constantly keep you shooting.

  4. Great post Gray. I agree, people can support themselves selling their creative works on stock media sites, especially on those that have great payouts. I’d like to add another great place to sell stock footage, The Stock Footage Company. It is a membership-based website that offers high payout to the artist. Feel free to check it out. Thanks!

  5. I just watched your “How to make money selling stock footage” webinar on Moviola. Smashingly good!

  6. Good article Gray. I’ve started to get sales on Pixta, it’s a Japanese based stock footage site. Visited the team in Tokyo, and gave them my suggestions. Also look out for Videoblocks starting April 10th. They accept pond 5 and shutterstock CSV metadatafiles.

    Any opinions on the Go Pro Hero 4 Black released in October. It shoots at 4k 24,30 fps. It’s a great entry point for 4k if it sells on the stock footage sites.

    I studied my sales over the past year and put together a report with case studies of my clips from sports, lifestyle, good, and nightlife categories There are some interesting patterns that I’m sure your audience would be interested in.

  7. Do you see any value in the stock footage market for RAW based footage, meaning use of cc for image quality and image manipulation? Great site!

  8. Thanks for your kind comment and your question!

    To be honest, it depends on what you’re shooting and what your target market is. If you’re specifically shooting footage that would be of interest to independent filmmakers, commercials, or other projects that would be carefully graded, then yes, probably. But more run of the mill stock footage would probably be best served with the LUT baked in. An alternative could be to upload both the raw and a baked version.

    Hope this helps,

  9. Thanks Gray.

    I just watched your webinar over on Moviola and it was VERY good!! Excellent presentation!

    What do you do for backup and archiving? These files are going to add up bigtime. Got any strategies? Back in the SD days things were way more manageable for a small time producer; even today 1080 is manageable. Lately I’ve been working in 1080 RAW and it’s adding up… 4K makes me wonder?

    Thanks for your time. You are an excellent resource,


  10. Thanks Dan for your kind comments!

    I actually have a ton of protected storage — I highly recommend investing in a RAID-5 or RAID-6 array for protecting your data. I use a 24-bay SAS expander enclosure with an ATTO hard drive controller. SAS is great because it’s scalable to hundreds of terabytes via multiple SAS expanders.

    I’m actually selling a Thunderbolt 2 Highpoint SAS controller if you’re interested — Add a 4-bay enclosure for $250 and it would be an inexpensive way to get started with a scalable system.

    If you don’t know about RAID storage, you can watch a YouTube tutorial I did on RAID technologies, as well as Highpoint options:

    Here’s part 2:

    Hope this helps,

  11. Hi, Have you noticed a sudden drop in clip views and sales since April 2015 across several sites? any idea why? too much free content out there or was it Google changing the algorithm to favor sites that are optimized for mobile?.

    I’ve just gone from 1-3 sales a day to zero and clip views are down as well.

    I only use Pond5 as they seem to be the best for sales and the best for those like me who shoot news and have a lot of content that is branded as editorial as you can see in the links below.

    Thoughts? I and others in the forums are completely out of ideas as to what is happening.


  12. Hi, there a lots of seasonal ebbs and flows to stock footage sales, as well as in content creation (for instance, much less TV is edited in the late spring/early summer). If anything, I noticed an unusual drastic increase in sales from January through March, but I’m finding April-May to be back to about normal (actually a pretty good increase over last year but not as drastic). I wouldn’t worry.

  13. Hi, Gray. Thanks for all this valuable information you gave us.
    My question is: how many different videos (in style, topic, etc) do I have to shoot and have for signing in to a stock site and be accepted? What’s your advise here?
    Thanks very much!!!

  14. You’re welcome! It depends on the site, but usually you need 10 good shots, ideally with different types of content. Start with Pond5 and Shutterstock — they have a good approval ratio (though be advised it can take a few weeks for your initial approval).

  15. Great stuff! I have started shooting 4K Video for stock clips. I use Premiere Pro CC 2015, I would like to know what are the minimum bit rates per video file. Is H264 ok for a export codec?
    There are so many choices. I’m using a Sony RX10MII camera. It should be ok, To me it takes phenomenal video, I use Sony’s XAVCS and a pretty flat PP and just tweak it a bit using the new Lumeti in Adobe’s Premiere Pro CC 2015. Any Help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  16. Thanks! If possible it’s best not to recompress with a lossy codec like H264 (though many stock sites take H264 if it is native from the camera, with no processing — you can use a utility like MPEG StreamClip to edit the video without recompressing). I use ProRes whenever possible, because it is edit-friendly, 10 bit, barely any discernible loss from uncompressed, and most stop sites take it as a format now.

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