Fotolia is an established microstock agency, selling stock footage since years. This company was originally based in Europe, and while they have a huge library with very varied content, they have a greater selection of content with European style and look.
They sell stock footage on demand, and they have a wide range of affordable prices and buying options, making them a good choice for buying high quality footage at low prices.
Acquired by Adobe since early 2015, their collection is also the one powering Adobe Stock service. But Fotolia still operates as an independent site where you can browse, buy and download great stock footage.
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An Overview on Fotolia
Long story short, here's what Fotolia is about:
- Over 2 Million high quality stock videos
- Variety in themes and style, with a predominance of European style and looks
- Different video resolutions, from SD to 4K
- On demand buying system, using credit packs that apply discount for large volume purchases
- Videos priced in credits, based in video resolution
- Royalty Free license granting wide usage rights for a one-time fee
- Extended license to add additional usage rights
- Multiple payment methods
- User-friendly search tool
- Stock photos to complement your projects
A Deeper Look into Fotolia's Offer
Fotolia is a microstock agency. As such, they focus in offering a large library of stock footage at very low prices.
Their collection of over 2 Million clips has content in lots of different topics and styles, to cover all possible buyer needs. However, their origins in Europe (Ukraine, to be precise) and their popularity amongst contributor that are either from that region or shoot content styled to look like it, makes their library a great source for European-like content – models, locations and themes that resonate with Europe and European style.
While this doesn't mean you won't find more global themes in Fotolia, it does mean that if European subjects is what you're after, at this agency you have a good chance of finding it, and at convenient price.
In addition, they also have a relatively small selection of exclusive content, that can only be licensed at Fotolia.
This agency sells Royalty Free licenses for all their stock videos, which come at different video resolutions and are priced according to this.
Their library is organized in collections and categories, they have galleries for most popular content, and they have a good search tool to make it easy to find the right footage for your projects.
Royalty Free Licensing Model
Fotolia's stock footage comes with a Royalty Free license for commercial and editorial use. This means you pay for the clip once, and you get to use it in a broad range of ways, for profit or with editorial purposes, for as many times and for as long as you want. You can display the content in different media channels, live TV, film, video and web, and even social media. There's no restrictions about geographic location nor duration of the license, and you never have to pay any extra fees.
With the Standard version of the license, there are some restrictions regarding distribution volume and resale: you can only use the footage in projects with less than 500,000 reproductions, and you are not allowed to use it in digital templates nor any other products you intend to resell.
With an Extended license you get rid of these limitations and enjoy unlimited reproductions and resale rights. This comes at a higher price, of course.
Both licensing options restrict the use of the content in sensitive subjects, like adult-related or political propaganda, and the use in trade-marked content.
It's also important to know that usage in social media is only allowed if the display size is lower than 1000 x 1000 px, and requires copyright credit to be visible.
Video Resolution Options
Fotolia classifies their footage clips according to video resolution. Lots of their videos are available in all the listed resolutions, and they all include lower resolution versions from the highest available and down. These are their options:
- SD: Small size is 320 x 240 px – Medium size is 640 x 480 px
- HD: 1280 x 720 – 1920 x 1080
- 4K: 4096 x 2160
All videos are delivered in MOV format. It's to note that 4K (or any resolution higher than 1080 HD) is only available with Extended license, where you get access to the largest file available.
On Demand Buying System
At Fotolia, to buy stock videos you have to buy credits. Their clips are priced in credits (a proprietary unit), according to video resolution. You can buy credit packs, and then use the credits to pay for the videos you want, selecting and paying for them a la carte.
You can buy credits online with your credit card or with Paypal, and you can also buy them via wire transfer.
Stock Footage Price
- SD: Small for 12 credits – Medium for 30 credits
- HD: 720 for 60 credits – 1080 for 75 credits
- 4K: 200 credits (Extended license)
Here's the keys in this pricing structure. First of all, the price gap between HD and 4K seems to be huge, but you must know that all SD and HD prices correspond to Standard license, while 4K price is for Extended license. For all the lower-than-4K resolutions, you can buy an Extended license for 200 credits.
Another thing to be known is that Fotolia's systems ranks contributors according to the performance of their content, and the best sellers are allowed to price their footage higher. A higher price point is also available for exclusive content. And so, some of the most popular, highest quality or best-selling clips can be a few credits more expensive than the rest.
But the most important is that the price you pay for a stock video at Fotolia depends on the credit pack you have, and the larger the credit pack you buy, the cheaper each clip will cost you.
Credit Packs: Discounts for Bulk Purchasing
Credit packs are bought on demand, and you have different volume sizes to choose from, from 10 credits, all the way up to as much as 9400 credits, with lots of options in between. These credits can be used to buy either stock photos or stock footage a la carte, but to buy footage you need minimum 12 credits. Besides the pre-set packs, you can also buy a custom amount, starting at 8 credits.
The individual credit price depends on the credit pack: the larger the credit pack is, the less each credit costs. For example, with a 26 credit pack, which costs $35, you're paying each credit $1.35. With this pack you can buy a Small SD clip (12 credits), and you'll be paying it $16,02. But if you had a 290 credit pack, for $350, that same clip would cost you $14.04 (because you'd be paying $1.20 per credit).
With this system, the more you're willing to pay upfront, the more you will save in the long run. Credits are valid for one year after you buy them, giving you considerable flexibility to manage your purchase. If you have the budget allowance, this is an advantage: you can invest in a large pack of hundreds of even thousands of credits, and reduce the overall costs of your purchases.
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Discovery and Search Tools
Fotolia's stock footage library is organized with the intention to make it easy for you to go through it and find the right content for you. They have categories and themes that you can browse, and all their content is curated into different collections according to their quality and value. Plus, they have galleries for best-selling, more recent, and more, for you to easily discover the best and trending topics and videos.
Plus, they have of course a search engine that you can use to find specific content. You can enter your keywords in the search field, and then refine your results using multiple advanced filters. You have standard filters like sorting by relevance, latest uploaded, most popular, most downloaded, etc. Or file type, size, collection, price and category. But there's also more advanced options like orientation, include/exclude content with people, upload date, a removable adult filter, and even a color search tool. This search engine is very user-friendly, and can help you find the clip you're looking for in less time.
Fotolia sells stock photos too. And they have a library of over 60 Million images, that you can use to complement your projects.
The best? Stock photos can be bought with the same credits you use to buy footage, so you can access both media types with the same credit packs, and buy photos a la carte whenever you want.
The Good and The Bad
- Huge collection of stock videos
- Variety in content and video resolution, up to 4K
- Great for European style
- Royalty Free, flexible licensing
- Discounts for large volume purchases
- User-friendly search engine
- Additional stock photos
- Complex pricing system, that can make purchases take a little extra time
- 4K is only available with Extended license
However, these negatives tend to fade compared to the longer list of positives. Even more: while 4K being available only with Extended license is initially a down-turn, with Extended license being at 200 credits, the maximum that a 4K clip costs you is $240, and that's just $41 more that what you pay at most other agencies for a 4K video with Standard license (commonly priced at $199).
Fotolia: A Great Option to Buy Cheap Stock Footage
With what we reviewed and explained, you can understand why we feel Fotolia is a great choice: they have quantity and quality, you can buy a la carte but still get price cuts the more you buy, and they have very low and affordable prices.
If you're looking for cheap stock footage, you can definitely find it at Fotolia. Yes it demands you to invest a little more upfront, but in the end you're getting a better value for your money.
Plus, you have one year to use the credits that you buy. This lets you plan ahead within your budget: you can buy a large credit pack now, but buy and download clips whenever you need them.