Explainer Videos with Stock, done the Fab Way!

Making explainer videos with stock footage is a great way to get a “real life” look without busting through your budget on a big film shoot. But how do you use stock to make a video that’s not… well… stock-y? Here’s how we do it the Piehole way!


Go for Awesome

We have made a lot of videos using stock and so we gave a little bit of thought into what works and what doesn’t. We think it pays to be bold. A big part of success here comes down to scripting, i.e. writing scripts that lend themselves to stock. If your script contains dull, generic text like “Founded in 2006, Acme Incorporated offers professional, high-quality solutions… blah blah blah”, then your video is going to look cheap when you slap some stock on there, no matter how good your design and editing is.


Play to Stock’s Strengths

The stock footage needs to be a part of the story in a natural way. You shouldn’t use stock as a sort of poor man’s replacement for filming. For example with stock you can easily use a variety of footage so it lends itself to quick, dynamic edits of different clips.


Be Design-ery

Styling is important with any video but with stock you can’t rely only on the footage to make your video look good. You need to bring your A-game. This includes things like great typography treatment, using motion graphics to bring life to the footage and doing color correction so that the clips are consistent.


Use Cool Animation Sequences

An animated sequence to explain your product is a good way to break up the footage and give the viewer a bit of visual variety. See for example the 3d tech-looking sequences in the below.


Use Stock to Set the Mood

Sometimes you just need a real-life look but you don’t want to be getting carried away using too much footage. This can work well in screencast demo type videos like the below.



Use it in a Filmed Video Too

Some parts of a live action video lend themselves naturally to stock, even if you are filming. By using stock you can reduce the number of scenes to be filmed and the number of actors, thereby reducing a lot of cost. For example, check out the video below. The delivery person in the video is stock but you wouldn’t guess it as even the color scheme matches the styling of the video.


Where to Find Stock Footage

Just sit back and leave that to us, that’s what we’re paid for. Stock can be sourced in many different places. Companies like Shutterstock, iStockPhoto, Dissolve and Pond5 have high quality libraries in HD. We work regularly with Shutterstock.

Explainer Videos with Stock: Behind the Scenes

These kinds of videos take a bit of tweaking sometimes. Some of our most popular videos were tough projects where the first internal drafts… needed a bit of work. An experienced creative team knows what to cut and what to change. The success of this depends on a combination of people: your producer, creative director, script writer and on more subtle things like having a good relationship with a great sound studio.


Team Piehole, makers of fab explainer videos with stock footage.  And yeah, we film too.
Team Piehole, makers of fab explainer videos with stock footage. And yeah, we film too.


Topping it all Off

In conclusion, with a bit of clever scripting and great design, it’s possible to make fantastic explainer videos with stock footage.