Why Is Stock Footage So Expensive?

Several factors, including high production and post-production costs, are elevating stock footage prices.

By Matic Broz, editor-in-chief of Photutorial covering stock media, Adobe, and design. He founded Photutorial while finishing his PhD in computational biosciences.

Updated on | 0 Comments

If you buy something from a Photutorial link, we may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.
Why is stock footage so expensive

Stock video sites are the cheapest resource of quality videos, yet sometimes a single video can exceed $2,000 in costs. Although, the average price is closer to $15 per royalty-free video, to be fair.

There’s a bit more to the story, though. And while stock footage prices remain high, we identified several ways to get good deals and high discounts.

Why is stock footage more expensive than stock photos?

The reasons why stock footage or B-roll tends to be more expensive than stock photos are largely related to the increased complexity and costs associated with video production compared to still photography. Here are some key factors:

  1. Production Costs: Creating video content generally requires more resources than creating still images. This includes the need for more advanced equipment (such as professional-grade video cameras and stabilization equipment), larger crews (including directors, cinematographers, and sound engineers), and more time for both the actual shooting and setup/breakdown.
  2. Post-Production Costs: The post-production process for video is more complex and time-consuming than for photos. It can involve video editing, color grading, sound design, and potentially special effects, all of which require skilled professionals and specialized software.
  3. Storage and Delivery: Videos, particularly high-resolution videos, require significantly more storage space than photos. This also means that more bandwidth is needed to deliver them to customers, adding to the overall costs.
  4. Licensing Complexity: The rights and licensing associated with video content can be more complex than for photos. Videos often involve more elements (such as the likeness of individuals, logos, music, etc.) that could potentially infringe on someone’s rights if not properly licensed.
  5. Demand and Supply: While there is a growing demand for video content, it’s generally more challenging and expensive to create, which can limit the supply and drive up prices.

Again, while high-quality professional stock footage can be expensive, there are also more affordable options available, especially as technology advances and high-quality video equipment becomes more accessible to a wider range of creators.

How to minimize stock footage costs?

Due to the difficulty of creating stock footage, high-quality videos will never be cheap. But there are ways of making it affordable even to those on a low budget. One of the most popular options for getting cheap stock videos over the last 2 years has been unlimited downloads subscriptions.

These are subscription plans that, for a fixed monthly fee, grant you unlimited access to their entire collection of videos. While there are some expensive ones that cost north of $100 a month, we recommend paying no more than $40 a month.

One of the best offers is Envato Elements (our review) which costs as little as $16.50 a month with a yearly plan. For that price, you get unlimited downloads of 4.2 million videos, 461,000 video templates, and millions of other resources video editors needs.


Leave a Comment