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Video Shoots Vs. Stock Video

There are two main routes you can go when deciding where and how to create your video-based piece – Video Shoots or Stock Video. Both have pros and cons, which might make it hard to choose which way to go. So, our team took a hard look and made a list to help you decide which direction is right for your next project.

Video Shoot


  • Individualism - With custom-captured video, you are able to really showcase content that is individual to your brand, company and culture. Plus, you are guaranteed to get visuals that are 100% unique to you, which in the era of savvy (and sometimes critical) viewers, can be very important to a public-facing piece. 

  • Craft - When you concept your video, you can be as creative as you want with your narrative and as specific as you want with your shot list. As long as it's something you can capture, you can craft a one-of-a-kind story that relies on a series of visuals that can only be captured through a well-planned shoot.

  • Multi-purpose - When a shoot is done for one video, it can be stored in a content library and then re-purposed for future content. Beautiful, well-shot b-roll or other visuals can be combined with different messaging to yield a variety of emotions and drive multiple calls to action.

  • Authenticity - People want to see REAL. And a video shoot with your real people, real culture, real issues, real solutions and real stories is the only way to actually show those things! Authenticity cannot be replicated or re-enacted – it can only be created through a real production.


  • Cost - It is fairly common knowledge that a video shoot project can cost more than a stock footage-based project – and oftentimes does. But there are many ways to work with the production company to bring down costs and or be efficient with resources and time to stay within a budget.

  • Logistics - In some instances, a shoot is just not realistic. That could be because of a tight deadline or an inability to film within certain people’s availability, at certain restrictive locations or in certain circumstances. There are countless reasons why getting a video shoot together is just not a logistical possibility.

  • Performance - Even if things are all planned out and the shots are beautiful, there is still a human factor to most video shoots. The chosen talent can underperform, employees can be shy, location might not be camera-friendly and any or all of these things can cause the finished product to fall short and miss the mark. 

  • Politics - It can be hard to determine who from your company should be in your video. And those selections can make or break a video. Will people have an issue with who is chosen to represent them? What happens if an employee is used during an important section of the video and then leaves the company? As much as you hate to think about these types of things, it important to consider to make sure the video is not only usable but well received.


Stock Video


  • Cost - Obviously, if there isn't a video shoot, there aren't shoot days - which means no costs for time, gear or personnel. But just a reminder that there will still be costs associated with footage searches and edits. 

  • Efficiency - While there will be time needed to look for the right clips, you will avoid logistical issues like finding the right talent, and the right locations and attempting to schedule shoots that work for all parties involved.

  • Imaginative - Since you aren't shooting scenes yourself, you have a large library to pull from that gives you visuals that are difficult or impossible to easily show from your location like foreign or exotic places, bustling major cities, under the ocean or even outer space.
  • Control - Since clips are often housed online, it is easy to share potential clips ahead of time and, as a client, you even have the ability to do your own searching if you are really looking for something specific.


  • Generic - The biggest con to using stock footage is you run the risk of your video feeling generic and not having any real ties with specifics to your company and culture. Unless you are licensing a clip for exclusive use, anyone in the world has access to those same clips and you run the risk of seeing the same clip in another piece.

  • Limited - While stock libraries are pretty large, sometimes the right clip is just not out there and you will have to compromise on visuals that don't 100% match your vision.

  • Cost - While overall stock options are usually cheaper than a shoot, things can certainly start to add up quickly if you need 50-100 clips to create your story.

  • Hodge-Podge - Even with the right mix of content, different stock sites or different artists will use different cameras, different lights, etc. This presents an added challenge to color-correct and manipulate the footage to all feel as if it was shot by one user and create a really cohesive final piece.

So, as you can see, there are some pretty big pros and cons to each and it's important to look at your specific project needs when deciding which route is right for you. Our recommendation? Shoot your own footage first and then use stock as a supplemental or bonus if needed. This gives you an authentic feel for the video while not compromising on those last few pieces you couldn't quite capture. Want to talk more about what's right for your project? Let's talk.  


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