The Ultimate Guide To Getting Your Start In Stock Video Part 8: How To Effectively Deliver Your Stock Footage

Stock Footage Step | Zacuto USA
The last, and most important, step in being successful at selling stock footage is being able to effectively deliver your stock footage. If it is not being seen, it will not be sold and it will not generate income for you.

So, in this final post, I’m going to share with you the two strategies I employ when it comes to delivering my stock footage.


Strategy 1: Effective Keywording

I must admit that when I first began in 2006, I fell into the habit of jamming as many keywords as possible into each clip. While I kept the keywords relevant to the content of the clip, I would try and fill it with every permutation of each word. Fortunately, these days, that is no longer the case. Not only have I realized what a mistake that was, but the search algorithms are more effective. So, the first step in effective keywording is to limit your keywords to around 7–12 words that accurately describe your footage. (I recommend not going above 15). The keywords that you use should only be ones that are essential. Descriptive keywords are fine, as long as they are essential to the shot.

But what if you are having trouble coming up with essential keywords? When I am stuck on what keywords I should use, I’ll do one of two things. I either search for similar clips on stock footage sites and see what they are using, or I’ll use a free keywording tool. Yuri Arcurs is the leading microstock photographer in the world. And, like yours truly, he also has a desire to give back to the community. On his site he offers a highly effective, and completely free Keywording Tool. Even though this tool is meant for photographs, I have found it to be useful for stock footage. After all, the content is the same- the only difference is that my content moves…

Once I have figured out my keywords, I’ll then open up and fill out my MetaData Spreadsheet. This is a custom spreadsheet that I created to simplify and automate the metadata process. Pond 5 seems to have the most extensive list of metadata options, so I start by filling out all of the info on the first page. The second and third pages for ShutterStock and RevoStock will auto populate with the needed info from the first page. Then all I have to do is to add in the few bits of metadata for those sites that are specific to them.

After the spreadsheet is complete, I then export out individual CSV files to use when uploading my footage. (This sheet, and this process will make a lot more sense after you have gone through the submission process a couple of times).

How To Effectively Deliver Your Stock Footage
Still from Ryan’s Library

Strategy 2: Effective Uploading

The only way to maximize your time uploading files is to do it via FTP. If you upload your files via any of the web browser based interfaces on the stock footage sites, you are shooting yourself in the foot. The only time a web browser might be okay is if you have five clips to upload. But, even then, I find this to be cumbersome and a waste of time. So get FTP access to the stock site, and then use an FTP client like Captain FTP.

The second part of effective uploading is the implementation of the CSV file with your metadata. Each site has their own protocol for how this file should be used, so read the instructions and follow them. However, once you have uploaded the CSV file, all of the clips’ metadata will automatically be added to each clip for you. If you do not do this, you’ll have to do it by hand- which is a mind numbingly tedious experience… Unfortunately, at this time, iStock does not accept CSV files, but they do accept specifically formatted text files. And while it does automate the metadata, it is a cumbersome, time-consuming process to create these text files for each clip.

The last way to optimize your uploading is to ensure that you have the quickest internet upload speed possible from your provider. When I first began uploading, it would take me anywhere from 1–3 days to upload my footage. Now, with fiber optic, I can get that down to 1–3 hours.  And, depending on your pipeline, you may be able to add multiple connections to one site. So, if I find my upload speed is not maxing out, then I’ll open a new window in my FTP app, connect, and start uploading more files. I’ll repeat this process again until I notice a hit to my connection speed. At that point, I close the newest window, so that the other connections are not affected.

By implementing these two strategies in the final steps of the stock footage creation process, I can ensure that I am getting the best return on my investment of time and money. If my clips are not getting noticed due to poor keywording, or it takes me forever to upload and submit clips, then I’m dead in the water as a stock footage contributor.

I hope that this series will enable you to be successful as you set out to create and sell your own stock footage.

DISCLAIMER: I am sharing with you directly from my own experience, and what has worked for me. I cannot promise or guarantee any results. Use my advice at your own risk.

Until Next Time, Get Out There And Shoot…

The Ultimate Guide To Getting Your Start In Stock Video
Part 1 Misconceptions
Part 2 Exclusive or Non-Exclusive
Part 3 Who Should You Sell To?
Part 4 How To Drive Sales of Your Footage
Part 5 What Content Should I Be Shooting
Part 6 5 Crucial Steps For A Successful Stock Shoot
Part 7 Maximizing Your Post Workflow
Part 8 How To Effectively Deliver Your Stock Footage

Ryan E. Walters, Cinematographer


Join the conversation

5 Responses to “The Ultimate Guide To Getting Your Start In Stock Video Part 8: How To Effectively Deliver Your Stock Footage”

  1. CreatureP on March 18th, 2014 7:41 am

    We like Revostock as it’s a good compromise between price/choice and pays up to 55 per cent of the sale price to the creator. I have written a blog post about our top 5 stock video websites.

  2. Tyler on April 26th, 2014 2:08 am

    Thanks for the information. I’m slowly working on developing a stock library and was wondering about how to approach filming people in the business sense. Do you set up shoots specifically for stock footage and hire actors? Or is it something along the lines of finding a great shot and approaching the subject afterwards and getting them to sign off for free?

  3. Lola on June 4th, 2016 1:18 pm

    The link to your MetaData Spreadsheet is broken. Could you please fix that? I am really interested in seeing how you have it set up. Thanks!!

  4. local852 on October 10th, 2017 9:32 am

    Great article! Super helpful and inspired me to get on my stock video journey. Please update your link for your spreadsheet 🙂

  5. Jonathan Hinterberger on January 7th, 2018 4:51 pm

About the Author

Born in 1980 in Seattle, Washington, Ryan has had a love and passion for the visual arts since a young child when his grandmother, an avid photographer, took him along on photo expeditions. As he grew up, his parents furthered that passion by enrolling him in various art programs and lessons. While he enjoyed painting and drawing, something was always missing - the ability to capture motion. Once introduced to the art of cinematography in high school he never looked back.Ryan E. Walters, Cinematographer Since that time, Ryan has developed this passion and turned it into his career. As an award-winning cinematographer his work has allowed him the opportunity to travel worldwide in the pursuit of telling stories that are visually compelling. Ryan's distinct experience includes feature films, documentaries, commercials, and shooting for Comcast, TLC, Oxygen, and the Discovery Channel. Not only does Ryan seek to deliver cinematic images for his clients, but his commitment, organization, and professionalism means he constantly goes the extra mile to ensure that the results he delivers exceed his clients expectations.


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