Bryan Mullennix Says Variety Is the Spice of Stock

A perusal of Bryan Mullennix's stock footage portfolio tells you a lot about Bryan Mullennix the stock footage videographer: the clips are professional, distinct and compelling.

"It's kind of a dirty word in the stock industry, but I consider myself a generalist," he says with a chuckle. "I like shooting lots of different topics. Anything that's graphically interesting to me is good subject matter."

Oregon Coast (Pond5)
Trouble seeing the video above? Click here.

Operating out of Vancouver, Wash.—just a hop over the Oregon state line north of Portland—Mullennix's primary subject is the Pacific Northwest. The Web site for his company, CrackerClips, has an expanding collection of clips from all over Washington and Oregon, as well as the southern states and destinations as far flung as China and Hawaii.

Mullennix explains his MO: "With stock footage, you're telling a story, but you have to be careful about how you tell that story. I particularly like to road trip, hunting for the more conceptual shots I might not otherwise have found close to home."

Wind Turbines and Sunset (RevoStock)
Trouble seeing the video above? Click here.

After a decade learning the stock photography industry, he developed a keen sense of what buyers are looking for and what he needed to do to meet the needs of his clients. Like many photographers, he dabbles in natural subjects and timely issues like renewable energy and conservation. A road trip to a distant national park may yield shots of wind turbines, dams and fish ladders in addition to the usual sunset or landscape clip. "My experience as a photographer has served me really well in shooting video, but I'm still surprised when I get a great shot and nobody buys it, or when a shot I almost threw away turns out to be a big seller."

Man in Gas Mask (Pond5)
Trouble seeing the video above? Click here.

Mullennix also dabbles in studio photography, which yields some of his most offbeat work: a ghostly, gas-masked individual in a waft of dark mist, a time-lapse close-up of a man picking his nose and, notably, a number of feet-related clips.

Many of his earlier clips originated on a Sony HVR-Z1U. It was a good beginner camera, Mullennix says, but "I don't know if it was great. I enjoyed shooting with it because it was quick and easy, but there was only so much I could do with it, being HDV. It had a very 'video' look.

"HDSLR has been fantastic for me because it's put a really familiar tool back in my hands," he continues. "I can quickly change lenses. I know where all the settings are. I've been using these cameras for years, only now it's for footage."

What's in his kit these days? The Canon EOS 5D Mk II and Canon 24-70mm, 70-210mm and 17-40mm L lenses.

Occasionally he'll carry both cameras in case he finds himself in a situation where one would be preferable over the other. "Let's say I'm moving around and everything needs to be in focus," he posits. "In this case, a video camera is perfect. If I'm looking for a shallower depth of field, I'll use the HDSLR. There's room for both, no doubt about it."