VideoFort offers access to royalty-free HD stock footage in 35 categories.
Subscriptions range from $19 per month for five downloads to $129 per month for unlimited downloads.
Peter Stonier, senior director of visual storytelling at Conservation International, has been using VideoFort for about two months.
How do you use it?
It's very straightforward. You just search and download the material.
We have an edit suite, a central server inside the suite, and an archive footage section. We download directly into the suite for projects we're working on now, and we download into the archive footage section for future projects.
You can download what you need for an entire month and you can also look for footage for future projects, which we would never typically do with stock footage.
Before VideoFort, the typical process involved going to a stock footage place, downloading an offline comp version that's not professional resolution, converting it to our project format, and editing it in. Then we'd have to go back and buy that footage in professional resolution and repeat all the steps to replace the comp version. That takes a day for our associate producer to process. The time VideoFort saves my associate producer alone pays for our subscription.
I believe all of VideoFort's footage is available to download in professional resolution so you only have to do one conversion compared to converting a comp version, so it's much more streamlined.
We haven't had any problems or anything go wrong as yet. I do know they have a help function and people you can contact if you're having issues.
How does it serve your business needs?
Conservation International scientists identify the most sensitive areas of the planet that are the most important to keep in tact to keep our biosphere healthy and maintain our life support systems. A lot of those places tend to be around the equator, such as rain forests and rich reef ecosystems, so that's where our projects are.
We're tasked with making films on the ground in locations where we have projects to document them to show others and scale what works in one project to a global best practice.
We recently did shoots about water conservation projects in Suriname and Guyana in the north of South America. Fifteen percent of all the world's fresh water comes from an area known as the Guyana Shield, which includes these two countries and parts of Venezuela and Brazil.
So we go there and create a film that shows people in Africa, Asia, and other parts of the world how this water conservation project is working. Traveling to remote locations to film is costly. In fact, it can be much easier to get from our headquarters in Washington, DC, to the country we're going to than it is to get from the capital of that country to our project location, which might be in the middle of the jungle or under the ocean. And the shoots are logistically complicated and can be expensive.
Before VideoFort we'd shoot footage and do interviews on the ground and then go back for aerial shoots, which can cost $40,000. Sony funds our work through the Visual Storytelling Alliance, but there's a cap on our budget so we often need to raise additional money specifically for an aerial shoot.
VideoFort had all the aerial footage we needed for the Suriname and Guyana project. We subscribed for about $100 a month and got all the Amazon aerial footage we needed. Given this particular story, we didn't need these shots be that specific so VideoFort saved us an enormous amount of money and effort.
Generally, in the past when we went to a location we'd do a beauty and b-roll nature shoot in addition to our story shoot. The more we can use stock footage for the beauty and b-roll shots, the less money and time we have to spend on it.
VideoFort's download model has us thinking about upcoming projects so we can download what we might need while we have the subscription. For example, we have an upcoming overview piece on Conservation International with Harrison Ford. Climate change will be part of it, so we're going to need shots of polar bears and ice caps. I know for sure that we don't have the money to go and film those, so we're downloading those assets now from VideoFort.
How does it integrate with your existing infrastructure from an IT standpoint?
What are the main benefits?
Really good, high-quality footage. The ratio of quality to price is the best I have ever seen in the stock world. When we first found VideoFort, we kept looking at the site over and over to make sure we understood it correctly because the quality is so fantastic for the price. From other places just one shot might cost you $500 with limited use, and it definitely wouldn't cover broadcast.
It makes production time faster and more efficient, and therefore saves us money. You don't have to download an offline comp version and then make the decision about what you want to buy and then swap it out. Right off the bat, you can work with something that's high quality.
Within the price of a one-month subscription, you download what you might need for future projects.
What are the main drawbacks?
There really aren't any.
What would you like to see improved / added?
We'd love to have even more footage available, but everyone wants that. VideoFort is consistently expanding its collection.
Getty Images, Corbis, and Shutterstock.