Stock footage.

To me, and others like me, using stock footage always felt like…cheating.

Let me explain.

If you know anything about MK3 Creative, you know that we’re a digital marketing agency that specializes in many things, but mostly video. And we do everything in-house – concept, copy, casting, production, design, animation, shooting, directing, editing…and everything in between.

All three of our Creative Directors are award-winning field directors who love to crank up casts and crews and bring our visions to life. When it comes to a live action video, our motto is “shoot first, ask questions later”…so using stock footage always felt like shooting blanks. Where’s the pride of authorship? I always considered it cheating – the easy, cheesy way out. Until it wasn’t.

Recently, a few projects came my way with tight budgets, tighter turnarounds, and aspirations to create a global look and feel – something that could only be achieved with stock, given these real-life constraints. I had to change the way I flexed my creative muscles and take pride in the stock footage I found and how I chose to use it.

All stock footage is not created equal, so to the sharp eye of a Creative Director, footage research took the place of casting and directing – with look, lens, and lighting playing just as important a role.

And using stock also enhances the design/motion graphics challenge. On-screen text call-outs and graphic framing devices become even more important as elements of visual consistency.

So the next time clients, concepts, or budgets paint you into a corner, stop worrying about library footage and take stock in it.  It’s not as bad, or as expensive, as it used to be. Embrace the power of stock footage…as long as you promise to use this power for good and not for evil.

By Jonathan Markella, Executive Creative Director