The majority of stock footage available in today's market is pre-graded, which means its color profile is already built-in. This can be difficult to work with, especially if you’re taking clips from multiple sources to create a single narrative.
In this guide, we'll discuss what ungraded footage is, how it can help you create the short film you want, and the best places – like Shutterstock – to find it.
What is Ungraded Footage?
Ungraded footage is a video file type with total color-grading flexibility. You can take ungraded footage clips that were shot at different times of the day and adjust them to create a unified story.
Check out the clip below to see what ungraded footage looks like before and after it has been color graded:
Cool, isn't it? Naturally, footage of this caliber is a bit pricey. If you're looking for something more cost-effective, find the best clips for your budget with this agency cost comparison.
Ungraded Footage File Types
There are two ungraded footage codecs: LOG and RAW. The key difference is that LOG is a video file type, while RAW refers to pure data. Both LOG and RAW were created to get the most information possible while shooting, so you get a dynamic range of editing capabilities in post-production.
LOG is a video file type with some aspects already baked into it, like white balance. This video file type allows some professional cameras to record over 14 stops, while originally, cameras could only capture about 5 stops. This change pushes editing capabilities to a whole new level.
Because of their ability to record usable data for both intense highlights and dark shadows, unedited LOG video files appear washed out and must be color graded before they're published. You will need a video editing software, like Adobe Premier Pro – or one of these video editing alternatives – to make that happen.
Ungraded RAW refers to the data, so while many video cameras capture data and convert that into a watchable video file, RAW is the data from the camera’s sensors. RAW footage is completely untouched, so the footage can be transformed into any file and edited in any way you like.
If there’s all this flexibility, then why isn’t RAW the standard video size? Because RAW is all uncompressed data, it requires a large amount of storage space, like a GB per second of shooting. Only the highest-end cinematic cameras can record in RAW.
Where Can I Find Ungraded Stock Footage?
Don’t have your own cinema-grade camera, but want the editing capabilities ungraded footage allows? Here's where you can find drone footage, slow-motion, timelapse and many other kinds of stock ungraded footage for commercial use:
Shutterstock – Quality Content from a Big Name
While Shutterstock is most well-known for its library of stock photos, they offer millions of royalty free stock video clips, too. You can find over 15,000 4K ungraded footage clips on Shutterstock. Want more info? Check our Shutterstock review.
To find ungraded footage on Shutterstock, simply search for “ungraded” in their main search bar. When you click on a clip, the title will provide more information on its color grading status.
Plus, get 15 percent off your ungraded footage purchase from Shutterstock with our exclusive discount code!
Artgrid – Affordable Ungraded Footage for Storytellers
Artgrid has dozens of clips in RAW and LOG formats that are available to subscribers for download. You’ll need the Professional plan to get RAW / LOG ungraded footage, but you can enjoy a two-month free trial to see if it’s right for you.
ProVideo Factory – Trusted Source for Quality Clips
From BBC to Samsung, ProVideo Factory has a long list of top brands it serves with high-quality stock footage. Ungraded footage will come with ProVideo Factory’s premium, pay-per-clip option, so you only have to buy what you need. Learn it all in our ProVideo Factory review.
Interested? Check out their clip pricing and subscription options here.
Pond5 – A Popular Footage Source for Good Reason´
You can easily find ungraded footage by searching for “ungraded,” which results in over 25,000 available clips for purchase. Check out their pricing spectrum here.
There are some great resources for stock ungraded footage but expect to spend more for it because the equipment necessary to shoot ungraded footage is professional-grade quality.
Want to learn more about stock footage? Check out our definitive guide to buying stock videos like an expert.