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Increase Your Footage Sales by Using the Right Equipment

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Increase Your Footage Sales by Using the Right Equipment


By Jake Hellbach, Shutterstock Footage Submitter


(This is the first article in a series provided in association with Shutterstock)


Becoming a successful stock footage submitter can be a simple and rewarding process if you have the right techniques and equipment. Due to an increase in footage sales, I wanted to share some of my experiences as a successful footage submitter.


Since delving into stock video in May of 2007, I’ve noticed an interesting trend: More and more buyers prefer footage with artistic, “film-like†qualities. Advanced techniques involving lighting, shallow depth of field, and movement are in demand now more than ever.


To create great stock videos that appeal to the majority of buyers today, I recommend the following equipment and techniques:



My best investment has been the Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR Camera, which I now use exclusively for stock. The 5DMKII provides:


- Shallow depth of field for the look of high quality film

- Brilliant color and amazing sharpness

- Great low light capability


All of the clips mentioned here were shot with the 5DMKII. Though the 5DMKII takes more time and skill to use, the results are well worth it. To complement the 5DMKII, I recently added a Canon EOS 7D and a Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS lens to my repertoire.



It is essential to invest in good lights and to acquire good lighting skills to create marketable images and footage.


The clips featured below are titled the “Friends†series, and were made with some of the talented actors I use from time to time. I wanted to capture a group of friends having some wine and enjoying themselves. To do that, I used more intimate lighting. Basically, I had just one main light directly above the actors and a reflector to cast light back into their faces from the table. A couple of hair lights were also used.





Investing in equipment to add movement to your images will add special “production

value†to your shots and help your clips stand out. I use:


- A portable crane

- Losmandy Dolly System

- A shoulder mount

- Steady Tracker (steadicam)

- A camera slider (another type of dolly)

- A tabletop radial dolly


To get the following series of shots, I used my Losmandy Dolly System. Setup as a radial dolly, I was able to capture the action around the table by keeping the actors in the frame while creating a sense of movement with the background.




Another favorite of mine is this police surveillance clip:




To create this shot, I used a crane inside the car door to follow the detective’s actions. The saturated color was created in After Effects, which leads me to the workflow that I like using.


Since I have a Canon 5DMKII, I use Neo Scene as an intermediate codec to download the video from the card to the PC. This converts the QuickTime H.264 format from the camera to a more PC-friendly AVI. As a result, the editing process is easier. From that point, I import the footage into Adobe After Effects for editing content, color correcting, and grading to final render.


If this sounds like it’s a lot of work, that’s because it is! However, seeing the high quality of the finished product makes it all worthwhile. The big plus is that my footage sales have increased as well!


For more information, here is a behind the scenes view of the Friends Series shoot:


In addition, here are some stills of the actual setup of the lights, camera and table where the series was shot: http://www.jhdtstockimages.com/studio/


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A small update. I just had some of the video I shot with the new Canon 7D accepted.


More of my doctor series. Offhand the quality of the 5D and 7D seems to be very much the same in the studio. The main difference is the 7D gives more DOF as compared to the 5D.

I'm sure that is because the 7D has a smaller sensor.

This was shot using the 24-105 f4 lens. Very sharp lens for photos and almost too sharp for video.





This was shot with the 7D at 60fps to test some of the slow motion of the camera. (and because I like guns)




Both videos were tinted for dramatic effect in After Effects.



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thank you for sharing and your great explinations!


Those are Fantastic, all of them!

Makes me want to run out and get a MKII (I have the first 5D)

but then I would have to get a new (need to anyways soon) updated computer with more memory etc.

Perhaps after Christmas or something, never know.

Anyways these are Great


Happy Holidays

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  • 2 weeks later...

Very nice vids. Thanks for the informative background info. I just purchased a Canon Vixia HF S100 1920 x 1080p HD Recording DIGIC DV III to get my feet wet in the industry but now I am having second thoughts on using this type of cam vs. a dslr. I own many Nikkor lenses and therefore would like to start with a nikon cam but I understand the the Nikon dslr bodies with vid capability do not have the proper vid systems for top quality clips.

Any thoughts are well appreciated from your experienced perspective.

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I actually came from where you are now. I only had Nikon gear but when the MKII came out I started to sell the Nikon stuff and replace it with Canon.


The Nikon cameras are very good, the only drawback if its one is the 720 HD size that Nikon won't get rid of.

There are a lot of guys that have the Nikon cameras and the video sells but if you want to have full 1080, you'll have to go with the Canon.


The only thing about the smaller single chip cameras like the one you have is make sure it has full manual controls, don't use auto anything, including autofocus.

And the lighting has to be perfect or you'll be troubled with noise.



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Hello Jake,

I do believe both Nikon dslr cams that also shoot vid have the same system which, as you state, is not top line.

Difference between the 7d and the 5d? Is the major difference the number of pixels?

And yes, I have many thousands of $$$ worth of nikon equipment acquired over the last few decades.

Perhaps I will use the video canon that is arriving next week and get my feet wet in the processing and all the terminology and get accepted as a videographer and then consider moving to one of the dslrs that you are recommending.

Of course and additional benefit of using a dslr to shoot vid clips and stills is that I would not have to travel with two types of cameras and if one takes into account the cost of my nikon d300 and a canon vid cam at about $900, well, there is the rationale for spending that same amount for just one body that accomplishes both functions!


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  • 2 weeks later...

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