When FootageQuest.com gets up and running this month, stock seekers will have online access to clips from the likes of Discovery, CNN and WGBH. The e-commerce footage site is an initiative of Vienna, U.S.-based eMotion, a company formed early last year from a merger of Cinebase Software, footage.net and Picture Network International (see RealScreen, February 2000). The goal is to allow users to complete their entire footage transactions online, from searching for clips to ordering material. Says Ray Sidwell, FootageQuest content manager, ‘The primary benefit is to provide immediate access to a substantial amount of material and to cut down the amount of production time required.’
While several companies have already signed with FootageQuest – including Historic Films and Footage Central – the lion’s share of clips are supplied by Discovery, at least for the moment. ‘Not many organizations have digital media management systems in place, but Discovery already has its clips organized in such a way that it’s easy to migrate,’ Sidwell explains. Discovery’s initial commitment is for almost 25,000 clips. Each supplier sets its own rates, he adds.
From Discovery’s perspective, the arrangement allows the cablecaster to open its archive and test the online market. ‘We’re looking, in general, for outlets for our footage,’ says Margaret Majorack, manager of client services for the virtual studio of Discovery’s Content Group. (Get that on a business card…) ‘Sooner or later, we will get online internally and have footage on a network for our own staff. [FootageQuest offers] a chance for us to see how it works… The other thing is that an online marketplace could possibly open up footage to a lot of clients we didn’t have before. It wouldn’t be just the traditional documentary or broadcast researchers.’
Sidwell notes that although master material is not yet downloadable, screeners are available on high resolution Quick-Time files.