Stocking up online

Footage houses are beefing up their online resources, with several relaunching their sites to better accommodate harried producers in need of the right clip for the right price. Here's a look at some of the updated online offerings from assorted stock companies.
May 1, 2009

BBC Motion Gallery

New features: BBC Motion Gallery’s online home has recently introduced BBC Archive, which holds over a million hours of content from 60 years of footage from the Beeb, CBS News and other collections. Its Workbook feature allows users to save selected items, share them or send them to BBC Motion Gallery for more info. Elsewhere, the site’s news section has been enhanced to showcase recent additions as well as shots relating to current events and key dates. And under the ‘Resources’ tab, a section for compilations has been added, where shots and clips are hand-picked to fit specific categories of subject matter. The company has also branched into music, with the addition of the Universal Production Music library, boasting thousands of royalty-free tracks.

Pricing: ‘We offer sliding scale rate agreements where possible,’ says Jan Ross, SVP, BBC Motion Gallery. ‘Our online clips are no longer subject to a minimum license fee which is very helpful to those on a limited budget.’ And for the new music offering, tracks up to one minute in length go for US$70 (or £50), and tracks one minute and over cost US$140 (or £100).

New libraries: The most recent clip catalog comes from The Hollywood Reporter, featuring all of its red carpet coverage, adding up to 1200 clips with more added daily.

HD: Thousands of new HD clips have been added from the BBC Natural History Unit, NHK, Stock Options, Blacklight Films and Terwilliger Productions. Approximately 20% of BBC Motion Gallery’s 60,000 clips on the site are HD. Electronic delivery of HD clips will be trialed this summer.

Corbis Motion

New features: Corbis Motion relaunched its site in April, significantly bolstering its clip count from 30,000 to 300,000 through a new partnership with Thought Equity Motion. The site has also introduced greatly improved search capability. ‘We’re able to offer 100% digital search preview, which for us is substantial,’ says Corbis Motion director Doug Segers. The search function can now deliver sets of relevant clips, and viewing options provide a variety of shot angles and scene sequences to choose from. The site is now multilingual and accepts payment in a variety of international currencies.

Pricing: ‘We’re licensing, for documentary uses, [on a] per-second basis as opposed to per clip and that can end up being a much more cost effective offer for documentary filmmakers,’ says Segers.

New libraries: Through the new partnership with Thought Equity Motion, material from Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., National Geographic, Sony Pictures Entertainment, HBO Archives and Smithsonian Channel is now available through Corbis Motion.

HD: The site boasts nearly 150,000 clips in HD.

Global ImageWorks

New features: GIW has also overhauled its site, and its new online home features over 10,000 viewable and downloadable videos. ‘As a content-oriented library built by professional footage researchers, our decision was to digitize entire sequences running on average three-to-five minutes, rather than to reduce our entire library into short clips or to select only a portion of a tape to be digitized,’ says principal partner and president Jessica Berman-Bogdan. ‘We believe viewing the footage in this way will enable our clients to have greater creative choices, to see the content in its original context, and to actually reduce research time by not having to click in and out of hundreds of short clips.’

Pricing: ‘We offer a variety of pricing models from per second to per shot options depending on the type of project and footage use,’ says Berman-Bogdan.

New libraries: Among GIW’s most recent collections is footage from The Joe Franklin Show, one of the longest-running variety/talk shows in American TV history. Collections featuring ‘high end animation and digital effects’ have also been added, many with science and nature themes.

HD: Berman-Bogdan says GIW has increased its hi-def and RED Camera footage, and estimates that HD accounts for almost 30% of its collection.

FootageBank HD,

New features: FootageBank HD, as its name implies, made its mark by specializing in purely HD footage content. Late last year, it unveiled FootageHead, a sister site aiming to provide affordable and accessible HD content for the mobile and web markets. ‘Most footage has been shot with the Panasonic P2 and Sony XD cameras within the last year,’ explains FootageBank HD founder/president Paula Lumbard. ‘New content is added weekly and the site currently has more than 12,000 clips.’ All of FootageHead’s content is offered in its native codecs, without compression. As for, advanced search capabilities allow users to search by format, time of day, camera movement and capture speed.

New libraries: FootageHead sports a large number of new clips from Africa, Turkey, Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Canada, as well as material from natural history video artist Terry Tanner Clark. FootageBank HD has new footage from natural history cinematographer Wolfgang Beyer and is bolstering its RED content with footage from Kenn Michaels, James Mathers and Eli Zarra.

Pricing: At FootageHead, all clips are the same price. ‘The HD 16:9 widescreen format is immediately downloadable and royalty free with each shot costing US$300,’ says Lumbard.

Thought Equity Motion

New features: ‘Traditionally, the process of accessing long-form footage meant requesting a tape be shipped and waiting for it to arrive, only to find after viewing it that the content is not relevant or useable,’ says Thought Equity Motion CEO Kevin Schaff. To combat this, in February of this year, Thought Equity Motion launched a beta version of its online Research Store, which features a nifty technology called ‘phonetic search.’ In short, users can search content by typing in a word or phrase, and then the site combs its long-format clips, finding the term within the audio of the matches.

Pricing: Schaff points to their per-second pricing model as being especially producer-friendly. For those working on personal, web or corporate projects, TEM offers virtual storefronts where customers can choose from hundreds of thousands of clips for the Web that are priced at US$49 each, which can be downloaded in minutes.

New libraries: Thought Equity Motion is now responsible for all National Geographic stock footage licensing worldwide, including footage purchased through the National Geographic Digital Motion website. In April, TEM partnered with NBC Sports to offer some of the network’s top sports broadcast content, including material from the French Open, the Preakness Stakes and the Beijing Olympics.

HD: Schaff says a ‘vast majority of our content is available in HD’ and points to its Smithsonian Channel collection, which is 100% HD, as an example of the quality of its film studio and TV network content. Furthermore, over 90% of the HD content purchased from Thought Equity Motion is able to be delivered online.

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