Strategies like this one are far more important than technical perfectionism for making money with microstock. Unfortunately, the artists within ourselves may never understand it.
The technical requirements of stock footage
Becoming a video maker after already being a photographer is a step that, if you’ve got someone to explain how to do it, isn’t difficult and can make a difference in terms of earnings. One of the things that skeptical photographers struggle to learn is the technical requirements of videos sent to agencies.
For example, this was an e-mail sent from a listener of my podcast:
The first test footage I’ve uploaded was rejected by Shutterstock for this reason:
Frame Rate / Shutter Speed - Clip exhibits issues related to frame rate or shutter speed.
These are the parameters I used in exporting with Pinnacle 18:
- resolution hd1080
- 1200 Kbit/s
- 25.00 fps
- 16 bit stereo, 44.1 Hz
I can’t remember if Shutterstock asked me to choose PAL / NTSC. I think the reason might be the graphics card, which can lose quality in the processing.
When this happens, given the technology of today's computers, it is certainly not the graphics card’s fault. What is wrong is the settings selected in the editing software.
So, if you set an incorrect parameter, Shutterstock, or any other agency, will refuse the content. To work out the problem you just need to learn what Shutterstock wants.
The Pinnacle parameters indicated seem correct at a first glance, except for the codec, which the listener hasn’t written. To avoid problems, in microstocks, the codec for stock footage must be:
- PHOTO jpeg
- Apple Pro Res
If you choose one of them, no agency will refuse the stock footage due to wrong settings.
PAL or NTSC?
As for the television standard, Shutterstock accepts PAL and NTSC both. The former has 25 fps, the latter 29.97.
In creating a video, you should never mix the two, like:
- filming in NTSC
- exporting to PAL
because this creates issues with the fluidity of the video.
Beware of one thing: both Pond5 and Shutterstock, and generally all other microstock agencies, accept 25 (PAL) and 29.97 (NTSC) fps.
I recommend working at 25 if your portfolio is created mainly with content shot in Europe, or in other countries that use PAL, because the geographical area where the content is located represents the main consumer base of the content itself. Hence, videos of Rome and other European capitals are purchased all around the world, but mostly in Europe. Therefore, it is better to create them in PAL.
New York videos, instead, are mostly purchased in North America, so it’s best to create them in NTSC.
And, of course, I don’t recommend converting one TV standard to the other and uploading them both, because it’s a waste of time and has no positive impact on sales.