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Filmsupply: Revolutionizing Stock Footage

  • September 25, 2015
  • Shane Hurlbut, ASC
Filmsupply: Revolutionizing Stock Footage

Today we’re taking a look at Filmsupply’s wonderful stock footage library, and how they’ve revolutionized this important tool for filmmaking.

By David Weldon

I remember when I was in college working on my first creative project with a team and we were to build a story from beginning to end. Concept, creation, execution, all designed around what we had learned in this filmmaking course. One of my first thoughts was, “It must be incredibly expensive to do any level of video content creation that is any good.” As we started the project, I could see how we were going to need music, lots of footage and time. Lots and lots of time.

Our class had access to a music library “Killer Tracks” which was anything but “killer.” They were your typical CDs of generic sounds and music that always seemed to have been made for a decade gone by, but was somehow copyrighted only a year prior. But what about the footage we needed? The appointed director of our group had a shot in mind of grabbing a Point-of-View (POV) angle of a person sitting in a chair in the sand at the beach with the sun setting, beautiful. Good thing we were in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in late November, nowhere near a beach, with snow on the ground. Great idea. So what did we do? We went a completely different direction because we couldn’t get the sequence of beach related shots.

At the time, there wasn’t a service out there that provided stock footage that we could afford, or at least, we did not know of one. I think back to that thought I had prior to the start of the project in college, “It must be incredibly expensive to do any level of video content creation that is any good,” which might have been true at the time, but not today. I think of how many projects I have worked on since my college days where we needed very specific and detailed footage that we either didn’t have the time for or resources to accomplish.

Now there is a platform available to everyone that can deliver the footage needed to extend those projects to their intended look and design. Say hello to Filmsupply.

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Filmsupply is very much like Musicbed, in part because it has been created by the same team and operates very much like its big brother company. As Musicbed has built its foundation since 2011 with original musicians and a web platform that allows you as the user to dive into each detail of music to find exactly what you are looking for, Filmsupply is set out to accomplish the same goal but with footage.

Filmsupply has brought in footage from industry professionals like Shane Hurlbut, Philip Bloom and Salamon Lighthelm to be licensed to other filmmakers, brands, agencies and production companies for use on their own projects. The initial launch of the site includes over 220 global filmmakers offering a unique feel to each clip that is presented. The interaction of the site is developed much like Musicbed’s site with an inviting and easy to navigate approach. I spent about five minutes on the site upon its launch and was browsing about 100 different clips in that time.

One of my favorite things about Filmsupply is that there is an actual community of filmmakers who are growing this market of material. Where most stock footage sites do not promote the individuals who are responsible for creating the material, Filmsupply does.

For me personally I was excited to see some names of filmmakers on Filmsupply whose work I carefully watch. I wanted to point out two in particular: the work from Variable and from Vinegar Hill.

Variable is a production company and creative group out of NYC. They are made up of directors Jonathan Bregel, Salomon Lighthelm, Lloyd Lee Choi and Kevan Funk and oftentimes showcase the work of Cinematographer Khalid Mohtaseb. They are a group of young talented filmmakers who are doing some of the best work in NYC and globally, with clients like Samsung, Tiffany & Co and Cadillac to name a few. Definitely check out their work when you have a chance.

The other team at Vinegar Hill is made up of two very creative individuals at the top, David Altrogee and Michael Hartnett. Unlike Variable, I do have ties to both of these individuals as I have worked with them in the past on a couple of their commercial projects. Both David and Michael have incredible vision as Directors and Cinematographers. They are an incredible pair together. They have done work for Google, Jack Daniels, Microsoft and many more. They operate out of Western Pennsylvania and also travel globally for their work.

I find it absolutely incredible that you can find filmmakers like these with whom you may be familiar or will become familiar. Oftentimes, I find myself searching the internet in various ways to find different filmmakers and their work to see what others are creating and find my own influences as an artist. Vimeo has definitely been a strong resource for finding different material like that and many of those artists that are winning various “Staff Picks” from Vimeo are getting featured on Filmsupply.

To have a resource like Filmsupply, essentially having the work of someone like Shane Hurlbut at your fingertips to increase the value of a project for a client, is just not available on any other platform. Sure you can find stock footage elsewhere, but the quality isn’t going to be like this. The website is set up to give you a chance to view the material and preview what you are going to purchase, so it’s worth taking some time to click around and see what is available. Just like Musicbed’s site, the search functionality and power of finding what you are looking for with the help of chatting with a representative is another huge reason to dive in with this team.

Check them out at filmsupply.com.

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