Where can you find high quality stock footage to download for VFX practice and compositing new shots? I’ve made 3 lists of links: “Free”, “Free with Paid Options”, and “Paid” for you to compare and utilize.
With free sites, there are less shots available and you will have to navigate through ads. I’ve tried to make that process easier.
Mixkit: Limited videos and low quality, but free is free and you might get lucky finding something good.
Pexels Videos: While they don’t have any 4K videos, they do have a wide selection of HD (1920 by 1080) mp4’s. I also like how their ads from Shutterstock display at the bottom of your search results instead of at the top.
Pixabay: They have some 4K footage in mp4 format, but limited variety. Most are less than 1 minute long and the variety is limited. Shutterstock, a paid stock footage service, displays their own search results at the top of your search in Pixabay. Just skip the top row if you want free videos. There Server was down the last time I checked. Hopefully it’s back up now?
FREE WITH PAID OPTIONS:
Videvo: They have limited 4K. Some are mp4’s and others are Quicktime files (MOV). The top row of search results are from Shutterstock and ads are clearly mixed in between rows of real results. They have paid Premium Plans to access ALL of their videos, which are $15 to 25 per month.
Videezy: It’s a sketchy name for a site but they actually have some nice 4K mp4 videos. The first two rows of search results are from Shutterstock. They now have paid options too, with a Pro accoutn costing you $19 to $49 USD, depending on how many credits you purchase (1, 5, or 10).
Adobe Stock: As you would expect, Adobe has a lot of high quality 4K videos in MOV format. Videos aren’t included in their subscription payments, so you will need to purchase credits. With 16 credits at $150 USD, you can get 2 HD videos and save $10. A single 4K video is $200, while the HD version is $80.
Artgrid: This site is pricey and in US dollars, but they have very professional-looking work. Selection is a bit limited compared to other paid sites, but at least it all looks good. You can choose between $300 (HD), $479 (4K & more video formats), and $599 (Up to 8K, RAW/LOG clips) for a 1 year subscription and unlimited downloads.
Big Stock Photo: They have photos as well as HD videos in MOV format (no 4K yet). I see a 7-day free trial that allows you to download up to 35 clips! You cannot pay per video. Their cheapest package is 5 videos per day (150 per month) for $79 USD, which is only $0.53 per video.
Filmsupply: Stock footage for big companies (and maybe you). They have a variety of 4K, RAW/LOG, and clips shot on 8mm/16mm/35mm film. Prices are high but the quality is quite good. Expect to pay anywhere from $80 to $159 USD per clip at minimum!
Pond5: They have lots of 4K videos in MOV format. I especially like how much camera data they display for each shot. If you create a free account, you will pay $38 CAD minimum per clip you choose to purchase. You can pay $305 per month or $1,515 per year to download 10 videos each month (with a monthly rollover of unused downloads).
Shutterstock: This is probably the most popular stock site. They have lots of 4K and HD clips in many different file formats (make sure you’re getting the format you want). You can choose to pay per video ($179 US Dollars for 4K, $79 USD for HD) or get a ” video pack” of 5: HD clips for $359 ($71.80 per video) or 4K clips for $599 ($119.80 per video). They have pricing options for packs of 10 and 25 too, in HD or 4K. Be careful: if you don’t spend your video pack credits within 12 months, they will expire. They also have monthly and annual subscription plans for downloading 10-20 clips per month, for $159 to $359 per month, or $15,99 per year.
RawFilm: All of these videos are Royalty Free and shot on RED cameras, available in Raw files, H.264, and ProRes 422 LT formats at 4-8K! A one month subscription is $299 USD, and you can download up to 20 clips per month (so $20 per clip). Single clips costs $149.
Storyblocks: Monthly plans are available for $25 CAD per month (5 videos per month) or $50 per month (unlimited video downloads) as of this writing. HD and 4K plates are both available, and their selection is impressive (835,000+ videos).
Videohive (from Envato): They have a smaller selection of 4K compared with Shutterstock. Some are mp4’s and others are MOV’s. The price per video varies widely, and have some free options. If you pay $16.50 USD per month, you have access to unlimited downloads. You purchase credits to buy videos, similar to Shutterstock, with the same possibility of your credits expiring after 12 months without spending. I have personally used them for music (Envato’s Audiojungle) for commercials and was satisfied with the result.
Vimeo Stock: Royalty-free clips ranging from $80 CAD (for HD) and up, to $200 (for 4K). They have special deals related to their membership that are worth checking out if you plan to be a Vimeo Plus or Pro user.
In general, I recommend you search the free sites first. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, then check the paid sites. The number of videos you need, the videos available, and your budget will determine the rest. If you know any other helpful stock footage sites, feel free to comment below. Happy hunting!
UPDATE: Here’s another article with a few more links on where to find free and “affordable” footage.