What is Stock Footage and How to Use it?

Oct 24, 2023
7 mins read
Stock Footage Coverr

It’s very important to ensure that your content stands out with creative imagery and videos. However, there are times when you can’t record or edit videos yourself. That’s why it’s a great idea to use stock footage, which is premade footage, fully licensed and ready to use. 

Thanks to stock footage, you’ll have no problem adding exceptional, high-quality videos . In this article, we will learn more about what is stock footage and what’s the role of having stock videos on your website. We will also clear some of the misconceptions regarding stock footage licensing!

What is stock footage?

Before you buy stock footage, it’s a very good idea to learn what is stock footage and why you need to use it. Simply put, stock footage consists of shots or small clips that were filmed beforehand. They are premade shots and not custom-made footage. Videographers shoot these videos that tend to be very general, and then they put stock footage up for sale. 

A lot of different customers use stock footage, ranging from bloggers to streamers, YouTubers, and even businesses. It’s important to note that when you buy a stock clip, you’re purchasing a license to use that stock footage. That means you’re not the owner of the video; instead, you can use the footage without crediting its creator, while also not worrying about copyright either.

How to use royalty free stock footage?

There are many different websites where you can buy stock footage. They have their own content library with free or paid stock footage. You can use these videos for any project as long as you acquire a license. Once you purchase the license, it’s possible to add the video to your content or change it, if you want. 

The cost of stock footage will vary; it can be expensive, or it might not cost you anything at all. Keep in mind that depending on where you acquire your footage, you might have certain restrictions on how videos are used or how you can use them. 

YouTube Videos

One of the most common places where you can use stock footage is YouTube. Here, you can use stock videos as background, or you can seamlessly add them to your video to help share a story. On top of that, you can work on the audio and use stock footage for visuals. There are many ways to use stock footage on YouTube, and it allows you to be very creative if you want!

Short-Form Video Creation for Social Media

Another great place where you can use stock footage is on social media. It can be very costly to create social media videos. With stock footage, you end up saving a lot of money. You can easily create engaging videos, generate shares and likes while also connecting with your audience. A very common way to use stock footage on social media is as background videos. Then, you can add captions and post your videos.

Commercials and Ads

Ideally, you want to use original, self-made footage for your commercials. But there are parts of your commercial where you can easily add general video content like stock footage. That’s where stock videos fit very well, and they can also help save some money. Yet, at the same time, you can still boost the production value.

Stock Footage as B-Roll

B-roll is necessary because it helps you tell a story without having to focus on specific things. That’s where B-roll shines, as it increases engagement while improving the overall interest. In addition, it allows you to experiment with creative video editing ideas. 

Video Backgrounds

Sometimes, you don’t need portrait or interview shots; you just need great video content to fill your background. Stock footage becomes ideal in these situations since it allows you to maintain a great sense of creativity. It’s possible to loop the background in order to bring more focus towards the speaker, writing, or content shown in front of the user.

What should I look for in stock footage?

Picking the right stock footage is always a challenge since there are many options to consider. However, before you purchase any stock footage, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are some of the pivotal ideas/tips you should follow when buying stock videos:

  • Check the history and reputation of the stock footage provider. You want to see the quality of their work, reviews, and other relevant info. Performing your due diligence will help save time and money. 
  • Study the license and see where/how you can use that particular stock footage. What you will notice is that sometimes, stock footage can be limited to certain use cases. It can be royalty free (usable unlimited times on different projects), rights-managed (you have a limited time use of the video), or editorial use (you can’t use it for commercial purposes).
  • What’s the video quality? Is the purchase giving you access to 4K quality, or the videos are just HD quality, and you need to pay extra for a 4K upgrade? All of these are crucial things to keep in mind when buying stock footage. Also, browse through the video sample to see if the video quality is consistent or not.
  • If you’re going to use stock footage as additional content, you want to check and see if it matches the style and aesthetics of your video. Sometimes, it might not match the way you want.

If you’re buying stock footage from a website, keep in mind that these vendors have a variety of filters. Using filters and queries like mood, location, theme, category, or action can narrow down the right footage you need. Moreover, you always want your stock footage to be something people believe; if it stands out as being different, that’s not ok. You want your stock footage to flow and be an integral part of the video. 

Can I download the video in the size and quality I need?

At Coverr, you can download most of our stock footage in the following sizes and resolutions.


  • Full HD (1920×1080) 
  • Original (3840×2160)


  • MP3 file
  • WAV format


Once you know what is stock footage, you’ll find it much easier to see its great value and potential. If you want to buy stock footage, focus on its quality, license, but also ensure that you buy from a reputable provider. With stock footage, you can add a touch of professionalism to your project, all while keeping costs very affordable!

Check out free reels from Coverr used by professional videographers worldwide


What is stock footage in video?

Stock footage consists of premade, general videos that can be licensed for use within your projects. These videos are inherently short; however, their length can vary based on the stock footage provider.

What is stock footage used for?

It’s possible to use stock footage in a large variety of projects. These range from ads and commercials to video backgrounds, b-rolls, social media content, or even YouTube videos.

Do professionals use stock footage?

Yes, anyone can use stock footage, depending on their needs. Stock footage can be great for video professionals, but also vloggers or freelancers. Video experts use stock footage in TV shows, movies, but also on YouTube, Twitch, and a variety of other platforms. 

Is stock footage free to use?

In general, stock footage is something you have to pay for. Some websites have free stock footage, but their library is limited, and the license is very restrictive. Most stock footage websites will require you to pay a fee for the videos you want. Some providers will also offer a subscription service, where you pay a monthly fee to access their entire library and use multiple videos.