iStockvideo.com, part of iStockphoto.com and based in Calgary, Canada, has taken note of trends in video selection for its customers—most alluring is content that mirrors the look we've become accustomed to in mainstream media. From reality TV to videos shot on smart phones and posted to the web, the look has favored what is captured instantly and supposedly without rehearsal.
While the tone is unpolished, however, the technology used to capture it still needs to be cutting edge.
iStockvideo.com maximizes its community of contributors. "Often they are editors and producers themselves who are working with media all the time. They are cognizant of what works and what is in demand," says Jim Goertz, director of video content development at iStockphoto.com. "So they'll shoot and upload what they think might be useful for an editor. These days, it is material with a more gritty and authentic look."
Throttle Post & FX in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area is a full-service postproduction facility working on a range of film, television and web videos—from corporate, industrial and political to full-length feature films and documentaries. Many of Throttle's searches on iStockvideo consist of shots of landmarks in the cities in which their clients are based.
Throttle picks the highest-quality stock to try to match its own material and keep projects lossless. "Many videos I find on iStock were shot using cameras that we frequently use, such as the Canon 5D and 7D, as well as RED cameras and P2," says Throttle post supervisor Katherine Walker. "So the quality really holds up to what we would want to include in a television or web commercial."
iStockphoto.com is 12 years old. About five years ago they expanded into video based on customer demand; iStockvideo began with about 1,600 video files and now has more than 400,000.
This year iStockphoto launched the Vetta collection, which represents the very best of their material. "It is less than one percent," says Goertz. "We brought those in to their own collection at a slightly higher price point and they are doing very well. It indicates that the market definitely wants high-quality content, regardless of the tone."
The material on iStockvideo is uploaded by individuals all over the world—all on spec. Buyers look through the portfolios and select those whose look is compatible with their style. If an agency likes the look of an artist's work but needs some specific content that is not in stock, they will contact the artist directly through the web site for custom work.
"Our artists are free to enter into contracts on their own, outside of the site," says Goertz. "Customers can trust us and our artists for their technical excellence and material that reflects our mainstream media. People who are selling their stock are doing very well because they have an eye for their audience. I'm very proud of that part."