best stock video sites

12 Best Stock Video Sites for Royalty Free Footage

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Looking for some high quality stock video sites to find stunning royalty free footage for your edit? No problem.

Whether you’re editing a short promo for a client or a Hollywood feature film, stock video is becoming an essential part of every video editors toolkit.

We are constantly asked by freelancers if we know of any good stock video sites for their last minute corporate shoot or promo. Obviously, most professional production companies or freelancers will shoot their own content in-house. However, if required they will sometimes supplement this with a bit of stock footage.

Over the last 5 years the quality and sheer volume of royalty free footage has increased dramatically. As a result, this has provided video editors with the flexibility to play with a wide variety of stock footage. There are countless stock footage sites on the web, but the content they offer varies dramatically in quality and price.

So, here are our top ten favourite stock video sites, with a quick review based on website functionality, subscriptions and footage quality.

The Most Flexible → Storyblocks

Average HD clip price: $30/Month (Unlimited Downloads)

Check out our Storyblocks discount code

royalty free footage

Stock video is generally sold file-by-file, so Storyblocks is interesting as it sells clips based on a subscription model. This makes it an ideal stock video site for heavy users that need a constant supply of fresh video content.

video_hive_300x250

Use the filters to search for video and audio across a range of categories. Storyblocks even offers Ultra HD 4K footage on the site.

Storyblocks offers more than 100,000 royalty free stock videos. Once you download a file it is yours to keep and use forever, royalty-free, even if you change your subscription or cancel your account.

In addition to this Storyblocks also offers another stock media library called the Marketplace. This is where customers can purchase clips directly from contributors.

Finally, with such flexible pricing and diverse content, it has to be worth a try!

The Most Revolutionary → Artgrid

Average HD clip price: $25/Month (Unlimited Downloads)

We now get 2 months free at Artgrid!

Artgrid Stock Video

Artgrid was launched in 2019 by Artlist, one of the world’s top stock music sites. Their goal was to revolutionize the stock video industry with its extensive license and high-end footage.

Artgrid’s yearly subscription is very attractive, giving full access to their catalogue, unlimited downloads and a license that covers use on any platform. To top it off, any clip you download with an active subscription is yours forever to reuse.

Also, with 3 pricing plans, there’s something for all types of creators – Junior, Creator and Pro. Each of them differs in the resolution and format of the stock footage available to download with full access to the entire catalogue.

Pro subscribers get access to ungraded Raw and LOG files, which give filmmakers amazing flexibility. When it comes to resolution, most of the footage comes in 4k, while 8K is also available.

So, if you’re looking for an affordable high-end stock video site and you want an unlimited license that covers everything, including commercial use, Artgrid is for you.

★ Royalty Free footage ★

The Most Recent → Soundstripe

Average HD clip price: $33/Month (Unlimited Downloads)

Soundstripe royalty free footage

Soundstripe was the first stock media company to offer unlimited access to royalty-free music on a subscription basis. Now they’ve launched a new stock video site, which brings everything creators loved about their music library to video. 

Firstly, Soundstripe’s licensing process is remarkably simple. There are no complicated or changing terms – just answer a few questions about how you plan to use the stock footage and you’re done. Also, their licenses protect your work in perpetuity, as in forever. 

In terms of footage, Soundstripe’s library includes over 70,000 different clips to choose from. These videos were meticulously curated by their in-house creative team, so the standard of the footage is outstanding (available from HD to 8k). 

Also, Soundstripe’s library is also remarkably simple to navigate. You can check out their curated playlists or filter videos by artist, frame rate, shot detail, or theme. 

Average HD clip price: $99/month (5 Clips)

We now get 10% off at Shutterstock!

Shutterstock website

Shutterstock offers simple package and single file pricing which makes it ideal if you want multiple clips or just one. You pay slightly more for HD and 4K footage over standard definition clips.

However, with 1.4 million video files on offer, you’re guaranteed to find something perfect for practically every project. The stock video on Shutterstock is of extremely high quality. It’s hard to imagine any user that would grumble about the content here.

Also, the pricing has changed recently and is very reasonable with the ability to buy packs of royalty free videos.

★ Best Stock Video Sites ★

The Most Reasonable → VideoHive

Average HD clip price: $10

Videohive website

VideoHive is part of the Envato network, an interconnected range of content marketplaces including CodeCanyon and ThemeForest.

At the time of writing this article, VideoHive offered more than 40,000 stock videos. All are displayed in a handy list format with useful categories (e.g Nature, People, Food).

Furthermore, the royalty free footage on VideoHive is very affordable. So it’s a great site if you just want to dip your toe inand grab a quick clip for a beginner project. However, as with many stock video sites, the quality does suffer slightly at a lower price point, so be careful what you spend your credits on.

The Most Extensive → Adobe Stock

Average HD clip price: $79.99

Adobe Stock video website

Firstly, with a clear layout, good quality and friendly pricing, Adobe Stock is one of our favourite stock video sites. Previously named Fotolia it has an extensive library of footage.


Secondly, it strikes the right balance between quality and price, and the selection is wide enough not to be limiting. If you need a mix of media types for a project, Adobe Stock also offers royalty free images as well.

According to its website, Adobe says every clip is vetted and individually approved. Its team are continually working on the search algorithm to make the perfect royalty free video easy to find.

Finally, Adobe also offer a 30 Day free trial which allows you to download 10 free images and then cancel within the first month!

★ Royalty Free footage ★

The Most Well-Known → iStock

Average HD clip price: $60

We now get 15% off at iStock!

iStock website

iStock was originally known as iStockPhoto, but then re branded to account for the diverse range of content on the site. Video editors, bloggers, brands and filmmakers flock to site to obtain quality stock videos.

iStock is one of the least expensive stock video sites on our list and has some relatively flexible payment options. You can either purchase credit packs which are discounted to more you buy or you can purchase clips individually. The credits system is straight forward with 4K clips being the same price as HD clips (18 credits). As well as some cheaper HD only clips (6 credits).

To find footage that fits your requirements, you can use the search filters and pick the appropriate quality, aspect ratio and keywords. In addition to this, they provide a free HD clip to download per month from the site.

Most importantly, iStock is a trusted brand backed by a well-established company so you’re sure to find high quality stock videos.

The Most Helpful Stock Video Site → 123RF

Average HD clip price: $105

123RF website

If you’re pushed for time and need content quickly, 123RF could be your ideal stock video sites. It has a simple search function which allows you to sort clips into groups. It also has a collaborative feature which gives you a centralised login so you to share, pay and licence clips.

In summary, 123RF isn’t the most polished stock footage sites but is quite flexible with payment options. For speed and convenience, we think 123RF is hard to beat.

★ Best Stock Video Sites ★

The Most User Friendly → Pond5

Average HD clip price: $25

We now get 20% off at Pond5!

Pond5 royalty free footage website

Firstly, with almost 2.1 million HD video clips on offer, Pond5 is a massive marketplace for royalty free footage.

Also, the site features a nice split interface with its catalogue at the top and the Collections pane at the bottom. You can use Collections to bookmark video without leaving the main screen.

We enjoy sourcing content on Pond5 as it offers a good selection of stock video and is reasonably priced. Every clip has a mouse over effect that displays a handy preview, and the membership pricing is simple and clear.

The Most Impressive → Dissolve

Average HD clip price: $299

Dissolve stock video website

Dissolve is one of the stock video sites that was posted in the comments below. We love it. The quality of the clips is very impressive, and that’s partly because the HD and 4K videos are shot on very high end equipment (e.g Red Epic, Arri Alexa, Canon C300).

These cameras produce stunning shots and crystal clear 4K footage. Many of the clips on Dissolve have been transcoded from this resolution so look great at 1080p!

There is a bit of a trade off: you’ll pay more to achieve this high quality royalty free footage. However, if quality is your primary focus, it’s always worth investing that little bit more.

★ Royalty Free footage ★

The Most Specialised → Motion Elements

Average HD clip price: $29

Motion Elements website

Motion Elements is a highly accessible stock video site that provides royalty free footage inspired by Asia. It’s a large marketplace that offers a wide range of content, from After Effects templates through to animated characters.

So, what does ‘inspired by Asia’ mean? Well, Motion Elements is based in Singapore. Its target markets are Europe, the USA, Japan, Korea and the wider Asian continent.

Average HD clip price: $60

BBC Motion Gallery royalty free footage

Lastly, the BBC vaults contain all kinds of professional stock video that gets filmmakers salivating. From black and white clips through to wildlife footage from the Amazon, it’s all here.

Also, their stock video site collects content from the BBC, CBS, CCTV (China), ABC (Australia) and a range of other broadcasters.

As you’d expect, the quality of the clips on the BBC Motion Gallery is second to none. Some of the content is of a very fine vintage, and you’ll find quirky royalty free footage here that’s impossible to source anywhere else.

Many of the HD clips have been contributed by professional camera operators that used to work for the BBC, so the calibre of the content is extremely high. The downsides are the pricing and the license arrangements. So it can be expensive and complicated to obtain what you want.

** Update – Since writing this post, the BCC Motion Gallery has now entered into a partnership with iStock and you will find all of our their online content in the link above. This means that licensing is now much easier however the pricing has gone up substantially! **

Your Suggestions for Awesome Stock Video Sites

Got any more stock video sites to recommend? Did we neglect to mention your favourite? Post a comment and let us know. If you’re also looking for music for your project then check out our article on the best stock music site for royalty free tracks.


Post-Production

13 thoughts on “12 Best Stock Video Sites for Royalty Free Footage

  1. John Martin on Reply

    Great article! VideoHive is pretty good and the clips are reasonably priced.

    Also check out Dissolve as they have some nice stuff 🙂

  2. Video Backgrounds on Reply

    It’s only after building up a library of clips and steady sales that many contributors fully transition to a career in stock. You can test out the idea, see if you love it, and then decide whether or not to make the leap.

  3. Ray on Reply

    Please can I enquire. Do all these sites require a subscription? Or are there any that categorically don’t follow that model? Like band camp for music, can you just download the stuff you want once off or support a single vendor because you like their style?

  4. Swanky Pixels - Web Design on Reply

    I upload to the following.
    Pond 5 – Shutterstock – Fotolia – RF123 – Videoblocks

    Pond 5 having issues connecting and uploading lately
    Shutterstock – best earner to date, 2nd turn around for acceptance
    Fotolia – Quick turn around for getting footage live and accepted
    RF123 – Bit clunky once you have uploaded, 2 many steps than others, early days as only just started to upload to them, but have used for years buying stock photos for my clients
    Videoblocks – Only just signed up, 2 weeks to accept footage, bit long compared to others bit easiest site to use defo.

  5. support-3141 on Reply

    FilmHERO just launched their stock footage portal and it’s AWESOME! More affordable and flexible than any other site in the marketplace. They offer UNLIMITED access to their entire 12,000+ shot archive for only 29 bucks!

    ✔ 12,000+ 4K graded & log footage (All shot on RED)
    ✔ 100% royalty free with simple, global licensing
    ✔ Unlimited downloads of all footage with new footage added weekly
    ✔ Only $29 per month!

    http://www.filmhero.com

Get involved! Post a comment..