Authentic imagery, authentic style… you've likely heard these terms lately. Authentic stock footage is one of the hottest visual trends today. It's a style that has been gaining ground since years, and it didn't take long until it landed in stock video industry. If you have not yet explored it, you're missing out big time.
Fortunately, you don't need to surf the web and explore thousands of collections to find and buy authentic stock videos. Here we list the top 3 stock footage agencies with dedicated authentic style collections, so you can ride the authentic wave.
But let's start from the beginning. What is authentic stock footage? Why is it so popular? Why people like it that much?
We have the answers. And once you know them, you likely will want to check our agencies list and adopt this style right away.
What is Authentic Stock Footage?
Authentic stock footage shows people and situations in a realistic, spontaneous and natural-looking staging.
This is the superficial aspect of this style, and it's easy to guess by simple observation. Plus it's everywhere, so it's easy to spot and identify it.
As said, you should be familiar to it, as it's largely used in advertising and marketing to the consumer market. Most of big brands use this style in their commercials, and particularly in their social media marketing campaigns.
It's a style that directly antagonizes with traditional stock media style, that bases in heavily-produced shots, using perfect-looking models in generic and perfectly assembled stages.
A Deeper Level of Authentic
The true, good authentic video is a modern take on life and society. It's about showing people with diverse characteristics in real situations of our everyday life. It's about better representing human-related concepts like gender identity and gender roles, life choices, health and well-being, technology, business and community, in the way we experience them.
The classical “stocky” content is often limited to traditional perspectives and topics: picture-perfect Caucasian families, smiling business people in suits shaking hands, etc.
Authentic stock covers a wide range of themes, with modern perspective:
- Unconventional beauty and common people
- Culturally diverse families
- Same-gender couples
- Interracial relationships and groups
- People with special abilities
- Startup business environments
- Artistic or creative activities
- Men and women in equal roles
- Outdoors & healthy activities
- People interacting with animals and nature
- People of all ages using modern technology
- Senior citizens in active life activities
And much, much more.
It's important to note that while authentic style looks for realism and variety in people and situations, there's still production work behind it, and most aesthetic parameters still apply. You will still find conventionally beautiful people depicted, and very high quality, professional shots.
The difference is in the focus on authenticity, and in the introduction of diversity in models and topics.
Why is Authentic Stock Footage So Popular?
The use of authentic style in branding, advertising and marketing has been rising since a few years. As a result, demand for authentic stock footage has also grown, reaching now higher and relevant levels, to the point that most big agencies are bringing it to their platforms.
The reason behind so many videomarketers and producers are interested in the authentic style is that many of the latest market researches and studies point out that audiences connect better with it. And experience has proven it to be true.
Now, there's different opinions on the reasons why people engage more to authentic visual content than they do to the picture-perfect style. But there's consensus on the main ones:
Social Life Gone Tech
In this context, the kind of content they produce and share themselves is the kind of content they prefer.
If visuals have since long been crucial in marketing, the boom of mobile photography grew this relevance exponentially. Suddenly, everybody can take photos and videos all the time, for any given reason. And thanks to the explosion of social networks, they can also share them with the world instantaneously. Moreover, the most popular and faster growing social platforms of this time are heavily image-related: Instagram and Snapchat.
This has made the world gazillion times more visual than it used to be, and has put a lot more power in the voice of the masses and every individual in them. Now it's possible for creatives and audience to interact, to give and receive feedback. The public now has greater control over the content brands, creatives and artists create for them.
Human Factor: Emotion and Identification
The massive amount of mobile-shot video pushed through social networks, the huge success of Instagram with its “natural-style” image enhancing filters, are at the same time a reason and a proof of the popularity of authentic stock footage.
The picture-perfect look of traditional stock video and old-school video production is now often perceived as fake, and sometimes that leads to rejection. While certain parameters related to beauty and aesthetic values are still strongly sustained, viewers no longer engage to images that look too staged and too different from their own life.
Getty Images has pointed that the two most popular styles within authentic stock are “point-of-view” and “technically imperfect” images. Both trends reflect the potential for viewers to identify themselves and their own images with what they see on screen.
Evolution of Social Parameters
The roles in society and the relationships between individuals have changed. Families are no longer heterosexual couples with biological children, businessmen and women are no longer 30-somethings wearing suits in glass-wall offices, women are no longer exclusively mothers and housewives, men are no longer exclusively home providers.
The audience wants footage that represents that more accurately. And there's proof. Storyblocks recently shared internal market research they did, which pointed out that their most sought keywords for people in 2016 were “family”, “LGBT”, “diversity” and “friends”. Other keywords in high demand were for international locations, particularly Turkey, and in lifestyle topics, there was an increase in searches for “fitness” and “technology”.
Where to Find Authentic Stock Footage?
Now you know how well this kind of footage performs with the audience, you know it's a wise choice to use it in your own productions, to ensure you'll reach your viewers, transmit your message and get them to take action.
Of course, you can shoot your own footage, aiming for a realistic feel and trying to mimic mobile-shot style but with a professional approach. But even then, you'll need stock footage to boost up your production value. You can learn the why's and how's to do this here.
There are several stock footage agencies offering content with authentic aesthetics, that is high quality and safe to use in your projects, and affordable:
Storyblocks: The Authentic Collection
Storyblocks is a stock footage company famous for its unlimited downloads membership offer. Their footage is super cheap, high quality and Royalty Free, three factors to make them a popular choice amongst videomakers. You can find out more about them in our Storyblocks review.
Following their market research mentioned above, Storyblocks has recently launched their The Authentic Collection, featuring 1,500 high quality clips (from HD to 4K) covering different topics around the concepts of diversity and authenticity. And it's also replicated in their still images and stock music platforms: Graphicstock and Audioblocks.
The Authentic Collection is part of Storyblocks' wholly-owned library, which is available for members only. All videos are Royalty Free, and available for commercial and editorial use.
Storyblocks' membership gives you unlimited downloads. You can hire it for $39 a month, or save a lot with their annual plan at $199 per year.
Stocksy, a young and popular stock photography agency with a remarked artistic feel, has recently joined the stock footage market with a dedicated video collection.
Stocksy Video features exclusive stock footage clips with an artsy and authentic feel, far from traditional stock look. The collection is highly curated and prevails production value and artistic level of the content. They sell them under Royalty Free license, but they add the possibility of buying exclusive usage rights with their Market Freeze extended license (which comes at much higher cost).
All the clips are available to buy a la carte. They come in HD and up to 4K resolution, and they offer graded and ungraded versions:
- HD 720p $75
- HD1080p graded $175 – ungraded $275
- 4K graded $300 – ungraded $400
If your project has a higher artistic aesthetics, you can find the complementary shots you need at Stocksy Video.
Dissolve: Filmmaker Collection
They have recently added content in the authentic stock footage trend with their new Filmmaker collection. This is an exclusive, curated selection of over 10,000 clips from talented filmmakers, created for their own commercial and personal projects. The collection features lots of videos covering topics like lifestyle, nature, outdoors, landscape, animals, and much more. They are all high level productions that represent current themes with realistic perspective.
Most of these videos are Royalty Free, at $199 for HD quality and $499 for 4K. There's a small percentage of clips available with Rights Managed license as well, starting at $200. In both cases the videos are available a la carte only.
If you have a taste for artistic footage and are after authentic stock, Dissolve may have what you want.
Use Authentic Stock Footage to Raise your Video's Quality
Authentic style can likely get your viewers more engaged to your production. It's the aesthetics that better resounds with them and better connects with their emotions.
Shooting with this style can be a smart business choice, if your goal is to reach the audience as effectively as possible –and it should be–. But complementary shots and B-roll footage are very necessary to produce a superior and appealing video or film that viewers would be interested in watching.
Authentic stock footage is a great solution to produce highly engaging and professional-like videos. You can adapt it to your own style, and do something original that maintains the style and feel of authenticity.
What do you say? Are you giving it a shot?