Creating Commercials with Free Stock Footage

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Tl;dr - How I created two commercials using 100% free stock footage.
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You Don't Even Need a Camera to Make a Commercial

These days if you want to make ads or promo videos for your clients or your own businesses, you don’t even need a camera! It’s as simple as browsing a few sites to find the right footage to create beautiful commercials.

There are sites out there that offer premium quality stock footage (such as ArtGrid, FilmPac, and Film Supply) that you can get creative with to piece together your commercial.

But what some people don’t know is that there are options for stock footage out there that are totally free.

Pexels, Pixabay, Mixkit, and Coverr

There are amazing sites out there for incredible free stock photos that I’ve known about for a while, but I didn’t realize until recently that there are also several sites devoted to free stock videos.

PexelsPixabayMixkit, and Coverr are the best ones I found, but I’m sure there are more!

These videos are shot by professional cinematographers in HD and often even 4K resolution, and there are a very wide range of themes and styles that you can choose from.

My Commercials

The commercials I made are for our new platform for filmmakers called Filmshake. I put these together over the past couple days while still living in this quarantined world. That’s where the stock footage came in…

Discover Yourself

The first ad, titled: “Discover Yourself” was inspired by YOU Fearless Filmmakers out there.

I wanted to emulate one of my favorite commercials, “O Pioneers – Go Forth” by Levi’s and utilize a montage of beautiful imagery with a powerful voice over to help convey an emotion and the independent spirit that grounds Filmshake. You can watch the original Levi’s commercial below to see how the inspiration crossed over.

Knowing that this was the vibe I was going for, I went to Pexels to search for footage that would work.

Spoiler alert: there was plenty!

I downloaded way more than I needed to, but I had my foundation.

From there, I wrote the script in the style of the Levi’s ad, knowing what footage I had available to me.

I employed a talented voice over artist from the website Fiverr to record the VO for my script. (it ended up costing me just a hair over $30)

When it came to editing, it was really easy to piece it all together because I had worked in this way (footage first, writing second).

I sweetened the videos with lens flare elements from Lens Distortions as well as using a music track from one of Lens Distortions music packs.

I wanted to give it a bit of a classic look, so I went to one of my favorite tools ever – FilmConvert – to add a look and film grain effect to the image.

For the titles at the end, I used some motion design premiere presets from Mister Horse and some film overlay and scribble effects from Big Films.

Greenlight Yourself

I only originally intended on making one video this way, but while I was searching for footage for the first ad, I stumbled upon this great footage of a guy bored in his house.

The footage inspired my second ad titled: “Greenlight Yourself” and touches on that oh-so-familiar feeling of having to wait around for someone else to tap you on the shoulder and say, “you’re up!”… whether it’s just for a gig, finding representation, getting distribution for a film, or selling a script, this industry is so passive for the independent filmmaker.

We created Filmshake to give the filmmakers back the control by providing tools that allow them to build their own audiences, sell their own movies, and create real businesses around their films.

The creative process was much of the same. I found the footage that I liked, wrote the script, and this time, I recorded the voice over myself.

I used all the same tools as last time, added flares, music, text fx and overlays to match the vibe of the first.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how they both came out – especially for just a few hours of work.

Give It a Try!

If you’e been wanting to make a video, either to practice your editing chops or to make a commercial to promote something you are doing, why not give it a try?

There are lots of great resources out there for you to take advantage of…

Heck, maybe there’s even a business to be made with the idea of making ads with just stock footage.

If you make one, drop it in the comments section! I’d love to see what you Fearless Filmmakers come up with.

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