There are an ever growing number of footage libraries offering a bewildering array of material and equally wide range of pricing. The big hitters such as Shutterstock and Getty Images are a reliable source of general footage (charging anything from £50 to £300.00 a clip, depending on the intended usage) but there are also lots of smaller, specialist suppliers covering every conceivable niche, from insects to aviation. A good place to start any search is either Focal International or Stock Footage Online, two umbrella groups which brings together all of the main footage suppliers, alongside some of the smaller, niche libraries, but there is also a whole world beyond that of smaller, more specialist collections. Rooting out really specific, specialist material, or shots that fit precisely into specific stories, can be very time consuming. It usually involves engaging with individual filmmakers and arranging specific one-off licensing agreements, but can even end up in a search through attics and storerooms to locate long lost reels of film (an approach which has yielded great results for us on more than one occasion). So if you’re looking for something specific and unusual you may want to consider engaging one of our specialist footage researchers.
Historic footage is often an important component, and is also sourced from a huge range of suppliers, from small regional film clubs to huge, international news archives and museums. Two great sources of UK historical footage are British Pathé and Movietone, but the BBC (whose Motion Gallery library sales are run by Getty Images) and ITN/Reuters also have large contemporary and historical news archives and the Imperial War Museum has a superb collection of film and photography, and offers great deals to other museums wanting to use its material.
TV, Drama and Feature Films
The licensing of extracts from TV drama and feature films is a complex business as permission has to be sought from the studio as well from the artists (musicians and actors). The main US studios have rights departments that deal with licensing, but tracking down the contact information for actors or their estates can be a lengthy and expensive process. The licensing cost vary enormously, but expect to pay several thousand dollars to license a minute of material.
Still Images; Photography & Art
The world of photographic archives, still images, paintings, graphic art and advertising, is similar to that of video. Again Shutterstock and Getty Images both have large collections of contemporary and historic imagery and there are thousands of smaller suppliers, including the Bridgeman Images, which represents the rights of many classic museum collections around the world and is particularly good for paintings, photography and historic images.