Now that the country seems to be in a never ending (but vitally important) loop of lockdowns- it’s been hard to make films. As someone who is currently doing a practical filmmaking degree, it can be very frustrating that I can’t get out into the world tell my stories- many of which require an urban, often populated setting.
I can’t really make a film about a football match when the stadium is empty now, can I?
But despite how bleak it may look for filmmakers at the moment- I’ve discovered a new way to make films. One that doesn’t require much equipment and more importantly, one that doesn’t require me to break any lockdown laws. And that new way is making a film using purely stock footage.
But what exactly is stock footage? Well, stock footage can be anything really. It can be a video set up with actors and with a Shutterstock water mark over it, or it can be any piece of currently existing footage. From a film clip, to a historical video or a bit of footage shot by some lovely random person on the internet- anything can be stock footage. For my film, I used the latter.
There’s a website called ‘HitRecord’ (ran by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt) that provides free stock footage for budding filmmakers like us to use at their own discretion. HitRecord is a platform that encourages collaborative creativity. This basically means that people submit their own footage and other people like me can download this footage and use it in their own artwork- as long as the original uploader gets credited at the end of the piece.
Not only can you take your footage off HitRecord, you can also upload your own raw footage- be it audio files, videos, photography, writing etc. This way you can help other people out and also build up a nice portfolio- if other people use your work. If you work ends up being part of a project that becomes commercially successful, you will be fairly paid for your included work.
But if you’re just wanting to make something for your own benefit- that’s okay too.
For my film, I wrote a short monologue and simply chose stock footage to fit the mood, atmosphere and content of my writing. I then edited it all together on Adobe Premiere Pro (but any video editing software such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker would do) and made sure to credit the artists who shot the wonderful footage I found. It’s a really fun and easy way to make a film- and it’s also a much better alternative to getting arrested for breaking Covid laws.
When using stock footage- the limits are endless. You don’t have to create a film, you could create a music video, a visual poem or a video essay. If you do make anything, make sure to get in touch with us through our social media and we’ll show your art.
Check out Miles' short film at https://youtu.be/ZKkZ7mVuX5A