Stock video is an extremely cost-effective way of having some movement on your website or advertising, without breaking the bank.
Many people also use stock footage for other media, such as adding into their own video for use offline. Note that this article is talking exclusively about using the videos on the internet, so consideration is given to things like file size.
File size is a big factor for web usage, which doesn’t matter as much if you intend to use the videos offline.
As with our list of great stock photo sites, stock video is great but is also the kind of thing you want to use sparingly, as it’s not uncommon to see the same videos on multiple websites and social media spots.
How are these videos free?
All the sites we’ve compiled offer ‘royalty-free’ stock videos. The licences for each website will vary, so check the individual licence of each video before you use it to make sure you’re not breaking any rules.
For the most part, these sites offer a “Creative Commons Zero” licence, which means you can pretty much do whatever you want with the media. You can modify it, use it in commercial ads and not even credit the author.
Creative Commons Zero in a nutshell
As the Creative Commons website notes:
“The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighbouring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.”
Of course, it’s always lovely to credit the author if you can.
Why use stock video?
Adding video to certain pages of your website can really make the page shine with the extra movement and vitality that video brings.
Let’s imagine you’re writing an article about Venice. Why not add a small looping video?
Doesn’t this just look wonderful?
Told you it was a good idea. That video is from Pixabay by the way.
Meeum’s list of great free stock video websites
Pixabay videos are fantastic and they have a huge range.
It’s rare to search for something here and not find it.
One thing that Pixabay does well is advising you of the file size, and giving you options to up or downscale, depending on your requirements.
As an example, the video of Venice at the beginning of this article is from Pixabay. I had the option of downloading files ranging from 378kb (low quality) up to 2.8MB (very high quality). I went with 1 MB, which is 960×540 which fits the requirements of this website well, without sacrificing quality.
Coverr has been around for ages and is where I first discovered stock video.
It has a great selection and a mailing list so you can get alerted when new videos are uploaded.
See more at https://coverr.co/
Pexels, like Pixabay, is a treasure-trove of video goodness.
The only thing that bugs me about Pixabay is that you have no idea about the size of the file until you download it.
Most of the time I’m using stock video footage is for online use, where file size really matters!
Motion Places has gorgeoous footage from around the world.
Note that the licencing here differs slightly.
Free videos are in HD, and attribution is required.
You can purchase a licence, which gives you a 4K video which does not require attribution.
Videezy is a mix of free and premium content.
There are lots to choose from here, from nature to people and the moving world.
The site can get annoying as you have to wait for 5 seconds or more for each download unless you join premium. Yes, you’re right, 5 seconds isn’t that long to wait, but it’s 2020 and my attention span doesn’t exist anymore.
Again, there’s little mention of file size here, so check that before diving into using these videos online. A few that I’ve wanted to use have been over 20MB which is prohibitively large for online. While I could compress them myself, it’s easier to find something else.
Life of Vids
Life of Vids is particularly great for vids of, well, life. Makes sense I guess.
This site has more things like people walking up stairs, drawing pictures or using technology than just sweeping vistas of beaches.
Check it out at https://www.lifeofvids.com/
Stock Footage 4 Free
Stock Footage 4 Free is yet another royalty-free stock video website.
There’s no real point of difference I can see here, but well worth having a poke around in case you find something not on the others.
Note that all of these videos are in HD format and adhere to the following specs:
Size: 1920 x 1080 pixels (16:9)
Codec: QuickTime Photo-JPEG, high quality
Frame rate: 29.97
So, what did you think?
There you have it! A few of our favoured choices for whenever we need free stock videos.