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The best stock footage resources


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#1 Matt Hepler

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 12:52 AM

I've been contracted to produce a commercial for a local greek restaurant. They want me to intercut footage from their restaurant with stock footage of greek locals. What are the best resources for high-quality video stock footage? I live in Philadelphia if anyone knows local businesses instead of websites. I want to shoot in 720p so I'm looking for footage to match that, but footage of a higher quality will work as well.

They want the commercial to be in PAL format so it can be broadcast from Greece to the local Greek television station. Which I find hilarious because now I have to learn everything about the PAL format. I really never thought I would need it.

Thanks for the help.

edit: Im not concerned about what format the footage is in because I can convert it, although that will lose quality.
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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 01:26 AM

They want the commercial to be in PAL format so it can be broadcast from Greece to the local Greek television station.


HUH? :blink:

R,
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#3 Matt Hepler

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 02:04 AM

HUH? :blink:

R,


I'm having a nice long detailed sit down with him on friday in which I will pitch him my proposal for the commercial. These guys know nothing of video production and I have a feeling they are in for a rude awakening. Especially when I go over the lighting, man that place is DIM.
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#4 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 03:33 AM

So, you are in Philly and will shoot a commercial at Greek restaurant there, which will include footage of Greek locales, as agreed by you and the producers. The footage you need from the stock footage company is to be PAL, as the commercial promoting the local Philly Greek restaurant will be broadcast from Greece to the Greek living there _ for when they travel to PA and need to feel at home, one must assume. :blink:

. . .
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#5 Matt Hepler

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 01:54 PM

So, you are in Philly and will shoot a commercial at Greek restaurant there, which will include footage of Greek locales, as agreed by you and the producers. The footage you need from the stock footage company is to be PAL, as the commercial promoting the local Philly Greek restaurant will be broadcast from Greece to the Greek living there _ for when they travel to PA and need to feel at home, one must assume. :blink:

. . .

According to the manager there is a large greek community in the area.
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#6 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 02:22 PM

According to the manager there is a large greek community in the area.


No doubt. What makes no sense is why the commercial would be broadcast from Greece nor why it needs to be in PAL since the US -which PA is part of, last time I checked- is NTSC.
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#7 Matt Hepler

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 02:35 PM

Forget about PAL i can use whatever type I manage to find. I can always convert.
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#8 Matt Hepler

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 08:30 PM

No doubt. What makes no sense is why the commercial would be broadcast from Greece nor why it needs to be in PAL since the US -which PA is part of, last time I checked- is NTSC.


I don't know why they are broadcasting from Greece. But Greece uses PAL, maybe they convert the broadcast. That's their problem. They want it in PAL I'll give them PAL. I'm just looking for the best and most affordable stock footage.

This list has helped a bit. http://www.apple.com...ockfootage.html
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#9 Ira Ratner

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 06:12 AM

Have you checked the res on that linked stuff? Anyway, photodisc.com used to be a biggie, but they were bought by Getty images, so check them too.

Also, have you seen the script yet? It might be cool to use old, dated stock if you can find it and intermix it with what you're doing. Like, "The rich, old taste of Greece," that kind of thing.
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#10 Ira Ratner

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 06:14 AM

As far as the PAL goes, it might be the local cable company and satellite company that takes a direct feed from a Greek-language station in Greece.
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 06:23 AM

Hey Matt. Nice to see another Philadelphian on here.
I suggest shooting everything and getting everything @ 24p. The reason is this. You can go from 24p up to NTSC 60i pretty easily with a pulldown. Also, you can change 24P to 25P (50i) by just increasing the speed, I believe it's just 1% but FCP and the like can handle this.
As for stock footage. Look into Pond5, it's an online company, as well as Getty Images, they both offer stock footage.
Drop me a line, via e mail or a PM on here if there is anything else I can help you with.
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#12 Matt Hepler

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:21 PM

Hey Matt. Nice to see another Philadelphian on here.
I suggest shooting everything and getting everything @ 24p. The reason is this. You can go from 24p up to NTSC 60i pretty easily with a pulldown. Also, you can change 24P to 25P (50i) by just increasing the speed, I believe it's just 1% but FCP and the like can handle this.
As for stock footage. Look into Pond5, it's an online company, as well as Getty Images, they both offer stock footage.
Drop me a line, via e mail or a PM on here if there is anything else I can help you with.


Thanks Adrian. I'm shooting test footage on thursday and I'll give that a try.
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#13 Matt Hepler

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:29 PM

Have you checked the res on that linked stuff? Anyway, photodisc.com used to be a biggie, but they were bought by Getty images, so check them too.

Also, have you seen the script yet? It might be cool to use old, dated stock if you can find it and intermix it with what you're doing. Like, "The rich, old taste of Greece," that kind of thing.


The best site I've found so far has been BBC Motion Gallery. They have a wide selection and in HD. But I'm still browsing. Originally I wasn't going for a film look. I wanted nice crisp HD video, but I'm going to give 24p a chance when I test shoot.
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#14 Ira Ratner

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 08:17 PM

I just think that to visually sell what you're trying to sell--a Greek restaurant in Philadelphia--that you really want that old film look.

The latest and greatest image capture technology is indeed the latest, but depending on what you're shooting, it isn't always the greatest.

Like, 15% of what you're shooting should be food simply CARRIED lovingly to the table. (NO CLOSE-UPS!) And the other 85% should be people enjoying it.

You're not selling food. You're selling people having a great time.
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#15 Matt Hepler

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 03:00 PM

I've been developing dual ideas since I first met with the manager. The one I'm more interested in has a narrative and focuses more on selling some of the novelties of the restaurant (choosing your own fish, the immense wine cellar, and live entertainment) but also displaying the establishment's atmosphere (the decor, the staff.) There is no dialogue, nor narration. The Manager didn't want that, he wanted imagery that speaks for itself.

He first suggested something more akin to a vacation video; random clips of beautiful greek locales inter-cut with shots of the restaurant's amenities, including a very large "underground" ballroom. Considering the budget I'm going to talk him out of the ballroom shot. It is very dim down there. I would need more lights, PA's and/or grips to handle the lights, at least 10 or 15 extras to fill that space, a production manager to wrangle those folks, and it all has to be done by 4:30pm so we can start breaking everything down to leave by 5:30pm.

I'm in love with how complicated it all becomes.

About the old film look. I'm concerned with quality, always have been. I figure I can shoot in a high-quality medium like 720p or 1080 and if I decide I want that old look I can get it in post-production. Degrading is much easier than upgrading.

I am also finding myself limited by the need for stock footage. I've gotten close to what I need but not to what I want. There is surprisingly very little interesting footage of Greece. And Greek fishermen? Forget about it.

Gettyimages.com has been my main source so far. I'm amazed and infuriated by the NBC News Archives page. You can search for clips and purchase clips, but damn you to hell if you actually want to preview them before hand.

A side question, should I include my fee in the budget?
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#16 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 06:50 PM

Put your fee into it.
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#17 Ira Ratner

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 07:46 PM

Matt, that's where I differ, when you say you're concerned with quality--as if an old-style look isn't quality. Plus, we were just talking about the stock footage for this, not your footage.

Just hear me out:

It is basically IMPOSSIBLE to shoot a credible spot with talent acting as diners, without it looking hokey and horrible. And picking out a fish? And how are those fish going to look when you shoot? (Food styling is a BITCH, best left to the real professionals.)

What you want are candids of diners (and deal with the release factor later). In post, you put it together with the other stuff.

You're trying to show people enjoying a meal and having a good time, and you just can't stage that.

Find excellent stock, then look for the live footage that intercuts with it well.
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#18 Matt Hepler

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 06:20 AM

Believe me if I could shoot actual diners I would. The atmosphere that Im trying to capture is also my biggest enemy. I can't just setup a camera and quickly grab shots of people enjoying their meals. It is way too dark in the restaurant and I am not touching that gain switch, I've seen the results of that and I'm not reliving it. The result will be ghastly lit, nervous patrons. That's the quality I was talking about.

When people go to an upscale restaurant they don't expect nor do they want a camera roaming through the dining room and hot lights ruining their pleasant experience. I just don't see it working. I did a restaurant profile as part of an internet video a while back and it was agonizing. Folks did not want me anywhere near them. They saw the camera and they shriveled away. Waiting until later to worry about the release forms doesn't solve anything. I STILL have to get those signed. If not, then I can't use the footage. I don't have insurance, its not in the budget, so if I am sued then I'm toast.

You're idea is sound. I'm not knocking that. I'm thinking of the safest thing here, a controlled environment. Maybe the lighting won't be so bad (I'm taking readings while Im there). Maybe the manager knows some regulars who would flip at the chance of being featured in a commercial spot and will bring in their friends and family. I'll be talking to the manager on friday about everything and we'll see what works out.
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