Big stock footage companies provide a handy freelance niche for cinematographers

The market for stock footage on the net is becoming a specialised niche of its own as society becomes more visual.

Archival and stock footage is a very large business, which reflects the way in which the screen sector is so much more than professional film and television storytelling. We see archival as history footage, as the real authentic moment, part of our collective heritage. 

But canny producers have always known that offcuts and generic scenes are worth cataloguing and reselling as a handy part of retirement income. What starts as a busy car park becomes a symbol of an era, or a memory of summer, or shopping trolleys in use. This is unpoetic and commercial, an asset to be contextualised in the cut. 

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David Tiley was the Editor of Screenhub from 2005 until he became Content Lead for Film in 2021 with a special interest in policy. He is a writer in screen media with a long career in educational programs, documentary, and government funding, with a side order in script editing. He values curiosity, humour and objectivity in support of Australian visions and the art of storytelling.