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Rob Grauertshooting stock footage
by on Apr 14, 2008 at 9:52:32 pm

Hey guys,

I was wondering about stock footage. Can you make good money shooting stock footage? What should a videographer shoot? Is there an ideal format to shoot, forexample, 1080p, since it's a large resolution and progressive scanning. How would he or she go about selling it?

I really want to become a wildlife videographer. Could I shoot stock footage of this to gain some experience, but also try to sell it? Who would I sell it too? And to who?

This area interests me because I'm a student who wants to improve shooting skills and in the future become a wildlife videographer. It's my greatest interest in the whole industry.

Thank you for any help.

Rob G.


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David Roth WeissRe: shooting stock footage
by on Apr 16, 2008 at 5:05:36 am

Rob,

Wildlife cinematography is a noble profession for sure, but its also an exceedingly difficult profession. I tried to make a go of it back in my twenties and I learned a few lessons along the way that unfortunately forced me to change course.

Keep in mind, the very best wildlife cinematographers spend several years in the bush waiting for those few special moments that eventually make it to the screen. And, its only a lucky few who actually get paid for the time they put in, the rest are working on spec and trying desperately to sell their films in a world that is demanding the highest quality, but at bargain basement prices. Documentary filmmaking is, in general, a tough, tough way to make a living, but wildlife filmmaking is by far the toughest.

Stock footage is not a bad way to go these days, as there are many outlets online where one can showcase his/her work. The income on individual sales may not be great, but volume can make up for that if the animals you shoot are in demand. Your footage must be exceptional, and that takes training and experience, as well as financial resources for travel, accommodations, food and equipment.

Above all else, always keep in mind one piece of advice that I learned a long time ago from an executive at The Discovery Channel, their mantra has always been, "big teeth equals big ratings." I can assure you, sharks, lions, tigers, wolves, and bears will always sell better than images of Bambi. I chose sharks myself, a good decision and I never regretted it, but making a living at it was another story.

I hope this helps you...

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Rob GrauertRe: shooting stock footage
by on Apr 16, 2008 at 2:46:24 pm

Awesome. Thanks for the advice. I definitely am interested in shooting footage of the scary animals though, like bears. They seem to be around the Pennsylvania area. Wolves don't seem too out of reach either.

I live in Philadelphia and tried shooting some animals around the city. Only squirrels and birds, but it still wasn't easy. It was probably easier since they're used to people too. Plus, they jump out of focus all the time.

I definitely want to give it a shot though. I'm still young and can learn pretty fast. I know you said it's the hardest, but I'm a big animal lover (and science). The last thing I want is to wonder 10 years from now, "What if..." This is something that I am going to have to fail miserably over and over before I stop wanting it.

Do you know anyone I could possibly get in contact with about this subject, whether they are at The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Animal Planet, etc? I can never find good contact info on their websites. I'd just like to know what animals are in demand, and how to go about giving it to them. And what format they prefer, for example, I'm only shooting with my GL2 right now. I'm sure they would want something in pretty high end HD.

And when I watch the discovery channel, it seems like scientist who study animals get shows a lot. Maybe I could get into contact with one of them.

Thanks again,

By the way, you're one crazy man for shooting sharks. I don't know if I could do that. It's not the sharks that scare me, it's the ocean itself. I'd hate to get lost out there.

Robert J. Grauert, Jr.


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David Roth WeissRe: shooting stock footage
by on Apr 16, 2008 at 5:34:21 pm

Rob,

I have zero contacts left in that end of the biz. You should start going to wildlife film festivals ASAP and bring soem of your work with you. These fests have workshops taught by some of the very best, and the buyers have reps. at every event to make acquisitions as well.

The International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula, Montana is one such event, to be held this year in May. http://www.wildlifefilms.org/

The Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival is even bigger and better, in September. http://www.jhfestival.org/

Go to at least one of these and report back here when you return...

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Rob GrauertRe: shooting stock footage
by on Apr 16, 2008 at 7:02:00 pm

Thank you.

Robert J. Grauert, Jr.


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