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(How to) Tutorial guide for Stock Video Footage preparation and exporting as a valid QuickTime files for submission.

Stock footage business has become a major income method for lot of video artists, producers, animators. Some people are doing this as a hobby while making passive income from it. Here are some of major stock agencies.
www.dreamstime.com ( newest member to stock footage )

If you are a new video producer or If you are new to stock video footage business, then you may be having confusion with correct requirement for footage clip submissions.

You may be having these questions about....
 - Does my camera able to shoot quality enough videos?
 - What should be the video format of my video files?
 - Which software I can use for edit video and export?
 - How to export correct QuickTime files with correct specification?

I'll try to cover up all the answers for above questions as for my best knowledge. If you have any question, feel free to comment below the post. I need you to go over whole tutorial and I promised you that you'll have all the answers for your questions. So let's go.

What is the basic technical requirement of stock footage? 

Quicktime MOV format (.mov) compressed using PhotoJPEG or Motion-JPEG (MJPEG) codecs.
    -  PhotoJPEG codec for Progressive scan video files.
    -  Motion-JPEG codec for Interlaced scan video files.
(*** don't worry I'll explain them...)

Here I've lined up detailed footage specification between major stock sites.

iStockPhoto.com Shutterstock.com Pond5.com Fotolia.com Dreamstime.com
Format(s) QuickTime MOV QuickTime MOV QuickTime MOV avi, flv, mov, mpeg, mpegts, mpegvideo, QuickTime MOV QuickTime MOV
Codec(s) PhotoJPEG,
Animation or PNG:
flv, dvvideo, h264, mjpeg, mpeg1video, mpeg2video, mpeg4, rpza, svq1, vp6f, wmv2, wmv3, photoJpeg PhotoJPEG,
Compression 95%, Best 95%, Best 95%, Best 95%, Best
Length 5sec to 30sec 3sec to 60sec 3sec to 60sec 5sec to 60sec 5sec to 30sec
Size - min 720 x 480 720 x 480 720 x 480 320x240 720 x 480
Size - max 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1080 1920x1080 1920 x 1080
Frame Rate- min 24fps 24fps 24fps 24fps 24fps
Frame Rate- max 30fps 30fps 30fps 30fps 30fps
Maximum File Size - - 1GB 600MB -

Audio. Any ambient sound that is relevant for the clip or voices are acceptable. But for Animations sound should be mute. 

So every stock agency is asking for Quicktime MOV files with those codes as final submission files. So your ultimate target should be to prepare a Quicktime MOV files as for stock submission.  So now you should find out..that your camera is capable for recording MOV files, or any other format which is quality enough for this.

Does my camera able to shoot quality enough videos?

First, Let me start by explaining about Progressive and Interlace videos. Now as you know.. Video means "Sequence of images". That means video is made by sequence of images presented along with time. So..25 or 30 images per second etc. Now these two method represent how the each image is recorded to the camera.

- Now Progressive Scan video capture each full frame and store or display it. If the frame rate is 30, then It has full 30 frames recorded per second. Progressive Scan method can record higher data quality. If you see something like this " HD 1080p " , here "p" means "Progressive", then you should know that it's a Progressive recording format.

- Interlaced Scan method is using at TV broadcaster systems. It is made for less data quality and easy process. On this method, if the frame rate is 30, then it has total 60 frames which are odd and even lines and blending elements from two adjacent frames one after the other, splicing odd and even lines together to form each frame. So when it displays it becomes 30 full frames. So know that Interlaced scan method means less quality than Progressive Scan method. This represent as "HD 1080i ".

So knowing the Progressive or Interlaced is useful when deciding the compressing method for Quicktime MOV. Now a days most of camera comes with different video resolutions recording options as well as option to select Progressive or Interlaced as well. 

These are the main basic video resolutions and frame rates which might be available on your camera. If does you are good to go. :) 
Full HD - 1080p, 1080i  / (1920x1080) / 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30fps
HD - 720p / (1280x720) / 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30fps
PAL 720x576 / 25fps
NTSC 720x480 / 29.97fps

all above video sizes are accepted by major stock sites.

Lets look at a sample camera and investigate its features.

NXCAM Camcorder

Specification page says...
Recording Frame Rate NTSC Mode : PS (28 Mbps) 1920 x 1080/60p/16:9; FX (24 Mbps) 1920 x 1080/60i/16:9; FH (17 Mbps) 1920 x 1080/60i/16:9; HQ (9 Mbps) 1440 x 1080/60i/16:9; LP (5 Mbps) 1440 x 1080/60i/16:9; FX (24 Mbps) 1920 x 1080/24p/16:9; FH (17 Mbps) 1920 x 1080/24p/16:9

Video Recording Format : HD MPEG-4 AVCHD format compatible +1080/60p original format); 

So its very clear that, this camera is able to record  1920 x 1080/60p highest possible quality, which is really good for stock footage obviously. 
This camera will store .mkv or .mov files.

Sony Handycam - HDR-CX380

Specification page says...

  • Video Resolution : HD: 1920x1080/60p (PS), 60i (FX,FH), 1440x1080/60i (HQ,LP); STD:720x480/60i; MP4: 1280x720 30p
  • Movie Recording Rate(Average Bit Rate/VBR) : HD PS: 28Mbps FX:24Mbps / FH:17Mbps / HQ:9Mbps / LP: 5Mbps 

  • So again, here this camera is recording HD: 1920x1080 /60p format which is really good. 

    So, if you have any handycam, professional cam, yes.. I'm sure it should record enough quality footages for you to proceed. 

    Why QuickTime MOV(PhotoJPEG/MotionJPEG) as stock footage ?

    Now you may be wondering, what is so special about this QuickTime mov format. 
    This mov video format is the container for video information. Think it as a special kind of box. Then PhotoJPEG/MotionJPEG means the codec. Codec, think it as the pattern that you would fill if you given small bottles inside of the box. So you can use different patterns to achieve different quality, safe level. So if you used a different pattern that might be different Codec and compression. 

    So If you used PhotoJPEG or MotionJPEG codec with QuickTime MOV file format, then you can achieve very best video quality and can preserve highest original quality of the video. When you using this format, data loss is very low, so you can have highest quality files for your customer. That's why stock agencies ask for QuickTime MOV files. (for your knowledge this compression type called "Intraframe" ).

    Which software to use for editing and export valid QuickTime MOV files? 

    Now to the real deal. As you probably know, we can't shoot exact correct footage with correct duration. So surely we'll have to edit, cut, trim videos and select the best part as a stock footage and export it. There are lot of pro video editing software like Adobe Premier Pro, Final Cut Pro, AVID, Sony Vegas.  As well as there are consumer level editing software like iMovie, Quicktime 7 Pro etc. So I will show you how to export QuickTime MOV files from few of above mentioned software.

    ** Because of length of the tutorial, I'm writing each page for each software. So feel free to follow any software which might suitable for you. 

    1. Adobe After Effect :  Export QuickTime files from After Effect for Stock Footage Submission.

    2. Adobe Premier Pro :  Export QuickTime files from Premier Pro for Stock Footage Submission.

    3. QuickTime 7 Pro :  Export QuickTime files from QuickTime 7 Pro for Stock Footage Submission.

    1 comment:

    1. There are also many sites with Video Footage. Use any search engine to find them. A good site to Video Loops is here: vj loops


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