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Old May 27th, 2020, 08:35 AM   #166
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Re: Selling Stock Video Footage.

I am not making any long-term decisions or changing anything about how I work until the dust settles.
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Old May 27th, 2020, 06:12 PM   #167
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Re: Selling Stock Video Footage.

The only part of this change that surprises me is the January reset for everyone. I know compensation for stock contributors will continue to decrease but why are they screwing the long time contributors with a history of good sales? If I had a huge portfolio like Doug's I would be more than a little pissed off. What a bunch of crap. Obviously the reason is revenue. Imagine what this will do to first quarter profits. And they have the guts to try and pitch it as "leveling the playing field for everyone!"

I would like to know what percentage of contributors have 251 sales in a full year. This means the small portfolio guys will never reach a decent percentage on payout. And the big guys get hammered as well. They know their numbers well and are making a statistical run at something here.

"18,861,819 royalty-free stock videos" I pulled that off of Shutterstock's website today. That is one hell of a product inventory when you don't have to pay for any product unless you sell it. They do, however have to manage that inventory. Have they reached a saturation point? The release said they want a focus on "fresh, new content". Are they intentionally trying to discourage submissions? Is curator cost overwhelming as they screen to much bad video? I don't know the answer because either way throwing EVERYONE overboard every January does not make sense.

I have noticed recently my rejections seem to have gone up. Those rejections are almost always for the same reason "similar content". As a shooter and editor I do take similar shots of a subject. But I make sure there is something different in every take to give the buyer a choice. Lately they seem to accept a couple of shots and reject the rest as similar. Pond5 accepts all of the takes and I have sold clips on Pond5 that were rejected by Shutterstock. I have been wondering if the curators really view all of the clips. Curators must be under great pressure to deal with all of the volume. Likewise no agency wants to manage a database of "18,861,819 royalty-free stock videos" unless everyone of them has potential for sales.

Note that I only dabble in stock so don't take advice from me. Ironically I just invested in new equipment specifically to get more serious about the stock game as part of my COVID19 recovery plan. Yesterday when this thread started I was out testing new systems. I am going out this evening specifically to shoot stock. My time is valuable, shooting on spec is not something I do a lot. This news is discouraging but at least I wont loose a few thousand dollars in commission payouts on a portfolio of 8000 clips. This makes no sense to me. How can they hold back money from someone like Doug on clips that have already sold, they know will sell again, and they are not selling them for less. But they are going to pay him less!

I'm going out to shoot right now. But I am far from as excited as I was yesterday!

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Old May 27th, 2020, 06:54 PM   #168
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Re: Selling Stock Video Footage.

Good post, Steve. You have summed it all up pretty well.
BTW, I jsut got back from 4 hours of shooting wildlife. I shoot for fun and the money is icing. It is disappointing that I won't make as much money but I don't see it slowing me down on the shooting side of things. Maybe I will be less likely to spend time submitting, though. Time to get going on Pond5.
I'm glad I've got 7 months before this thing really affects me. Hopefully they will rethink their new plan.
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Old May 28th, 2020, 03:47 PM   #169
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Re: Selling Stock Video Footage.

I opened a contributor account with pond5 today and I am in the process of uploading my video clips on to pond5. I do have two question for those of you that have been using pond5 for awhile. Is it better to set your price or to have pond5 do the pricing for you? And, since I an relatively new to selling stock video, would it be advisable to just drop Shutterstock and go with pond5 as an exclusive contributor?
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Old May 28th, 2020, 04:14 PM   #170
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Re: Selling Stock Video Footage.

Bob, I have been with Pond5 for over 10 years. When I started it was 50/50 on the commission. This week I thought about going exclusive with them but have decided to hold off a little bit as I am trying Adobe Stock. I disabled my Shutterstock account (won't sell my work for pennies) until I see where things settle. I understand the "disabling" takes a couple of days to kick in.
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Old May 28th, 2020, 04:21 PM   #171
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Re: Selling Stock Video Footage.

Mark, thank you. Do you let them set the sales price?
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Old May 28th, 2020, 04:24 PM   #172
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Re: Selling Stock Video Footage.

Oh, and I let them set the price unless it is a very special clip.
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Old May 28th, 2020, 04:48 PM   #173
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Re: Selling Stock Video Footage.

Great, thank you. Stay safe. Bob
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Old May 29th, 2020, 03:41 PM   #174
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Re: Selling Stock Video Footage.

I am going to share my latest stock project and what shooting stock means to me. During my COVID19 downtime I decided getting serious about stock should be part of my recovery process. So I built a new rig. Hence my disappointment in the Shutterstock announcement. But sometimes you have to move forward anyway.

This is what stock means to me. First of all it makes me a better shooter. I give myself assignments I would not normally be out shooting. Even after a couple of decades shooting fulltime the more I shoot the better I am. It’s challenging. I have been in the image making business for over 30 years. The DVINFO community is important to me because I have benefited in countless ways by being active here for a very long time. I try to share my work and my work experiences in a way that younger guys might benefit from. I am candid and share the good, the bad, and the ugly. More often than not I get feedback beneficial to me. I love this forum. I think this is a great time to help Criss Hurd and each other by sharing our current experiences. If you're lurking, come on in and test the waters, the sharks don’t bite here. Staying successful in this business over a long period of time takes more than good business sense, sometimes it means hitting the reset button and changing everything. I am going to adapt to the new COVID19 world.

Shooting stock reminds me of the days when I earned my living laying transparencies (slide film) down on a light table in front of art directors and photo editors. Those guys could be ruthless on a young photographer. They had commissioned me to do the shoot and paid for everything else the shoot may have entailed. Then everything would come down to that face to face meeting when I laid the product down on the light table. I loved it, but that does not mean I did not get my ass kicked a few times. What does old time commercial still shooting have to do with stock video? The two main lessons I learned then apply big time to stock. First: A professional standard of technical proficiency was a given expectation. If you failed at meeting that basic standard you were going to get thrown out of the office and never work for them again. Rejection is much harder to take face to face than reading it on a screen. Second: Those guys taught me a lot about what an editor wants. If you asked anyone of them what they wanted to see the same two words would be spoken every time, "SOMETHING DIFFERENT". For the professional rates they paid they weren't paying you for the expected technical standard, they were paying you for talent. Anyone can learn to be technically proficient and shoot a picture or video. They were paying me for "A LOOK". And it better look different and better than everyone else's look.

Soooo....I have never forgotten those lessons and am going to approach shooting stock video that way. Here is how I am going to try to be different. It’s a work in progress so I am asking for community input.

In the last year I messed around with mounting cameras on my truck. Mostly action cam stuff. It all basically sucked. I decided to build a vehicle camera rig that would enable me to shoot from a moving vehicle. Here is the new setup I am working on, it is still being refined:

DJI Ronin S mounted on the hood of my Chevy truck. Hard mounting does not work so I built my own vibration dampening system to mount the Ronin on.

Camera is Sony A7III
Best lens so far is Canon 16-35MM L, old Metabones adapter

This part is where it gets bad:
From inside the truck I control the camera with Sony Imaging Edge Mobile on android phone. I dont use auto anything so exposure and control on a phone is difficult at best. Wifi connection is unreliable and drops out occasionally.

Ronin control is on I-Pad via Bluetooth app. This is almost worthless. Connection is terrible and the virtual joystick is only for crude rough adjustments. I am going to spend another $300.00 for DJI hard wire controller. This project has not been cheap.

Initial testing shows Ronin S performs very well bouncing around on my hood up to 40 MPH. It works! The vibration dampening mount is critical. It works but I am still refining it. Even though the Ronin is self leveling I still need to level the mount so cables will share load evenly.

Initial test results:
After short test sessions during the build process I went out on my first trial shoot. I am sharing that raw video straight from the camera. It is not processed in any way. You will see the 4K video. It's not good enough for stock yet but I will get there. My eldest son was driving. He is also in our business. We tried a very challenging “stock assignment” and had a lot of fun trying to work through all of the issues. Phoenix has a light rail system downtown. To stick with what I said earlier about making my images look different and better than most other videos we chased trains. That’s what this is about, better and different. I am not there yet, I am sharing my first test shoot. This is what I have learned so far.

Conditions: Temperature over 100 degrees. Blazing evening sun creating extreme exposure dynamic range. One minute you're in killer sunlight and you make a turn between skyscrapers and you are in a dark canyon. Try controlling that with a phone. You will see my adjustments, and those are the good ones, it is hard to do. Exposure from an android sucks.

Phoenix is no longer under lockdown. Downtown traffic was not as heavy as normal but it was busy. Trying to chase trains was a lot of fun and a big part of the challenge. I did not get the killer shots I wanted yet. I said the DJI app is terrible and the connection is weak and unreliable. Get this, every time we got close to a train I completely lost the DJI connection. They are electric trains and blow up the Bluetooth. Now I know!

Shooting:
The good news is the HD is beautiful. The A7III will do XAVC at 120 FPS, at 125th second it is sharp edge to edge. It handles all of the crazy motion perfectly. I cant believe how good it looks.
My goal is 4K and it is not there yet but close. I can only do 30FPS. At 1/60th it is unusable. I have only gone up to 125th so far as I would not normally go over that, but I am going to have to try. The attached video is the 4K 30P at 125th. The image softness is not focus, it is the motion. The HD is tack sharp. Any suggestions on making the 4K better? This is a big issue because if it is going to be stock I want 4K. I am not going to buy another camera just for this yet. And I am not putting my FS5 out there.

Still to do: Wire smallHD monitor into truck. Wire DJI controller into truck. Test more lenses and settings. Go shoot and have fun.

Here is a phone pic of the rig. Note the battery grip is replaced by a proper DJI mount to bring the center of gravity down. It is powered by a V-mount battery. This project gets more expensive everyday. I spend a lot of time in desert back country. If you see an orange Chevy Avalanche four wheeling with a rig on the hood it is me. Can't wait to try that.

Kind Regards, Everyone be well and safe!

Steve

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Old May 29th, 2020, 04:15 PM   #175
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Re: Selling Stock Video Footage.

Hi Steven,

This was shot in the early morning hours? My first thoughts from not quite seeing the tack sharp HD that I was expecting was that the footage is likely suffering from sensor noise (from low light filming) fuzzing out the detail of the image. The fringing of the traffic light lights was what really spoke to me here. That said, Doug knows more than I do.

My second thought is that I dearly wanted the subject of the video, the tram, to be lit/exposed properly so the art could be seen in all of its glorious beauty, even if it was at the expense of the rest. Any chance of mounting some big-ass cinematic flood lights on the front of your truck? ;-) Currently it looks like watching the comparative shadows.

Do you have something shot elsewhere in the middle of the day? I realise the city can be challenging with those annoying buildings that radically change available light when the direction of travel changes.

The stabilisation is certainly very impressive. This stuff must be so hard to get right.

Andrew
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Old May 29th, 2020, 05:03 PM   #176
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Re: Selling Stock Video Footage.

Hey Andrew,
We started shooting at 6:30 PM in a harsh setting sun and continued until dark. You are correct on grain. By the time we finished I had the ISO up to 4000 but I don't think any of those clips are quite that high.

Yes the exposures are poor and no attempt has been made to correct them in post. Its first time test footage and not worth it. I can continue to post more as project moves along. I will shoot something in HD so you guys can see it. The difference is shocking, It makes the 4K look like mashed potatoes. I have a lot of things to work out. 30FPS may not ever work, more testing to do.

Lights on the truck? I have some LED panels that run on batteries. That would get me harassed by the cops for sure! LOL.

Doug, Yes, I still enjoy shooting too. Especially when I am out doing things in the wild. There is more wildlife in the desert than most people think there is but it is hard to find. We are not quite the sanctuary Florida is but I try sometimes. I was surprised to hear you were out shooting wildlife on the day SpaceX was trying to launch humans into space? I was hoping to see your incredible footage.
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Old June 2nd, 2020, 08:25 AM   #177
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Re: Selling Stock Video Footage.

It turns out the new payout plan at Shutterstock isn't going to be as bad for me as I had originally feared. If the new system had been in place on January 1 of this year, I was orignally thinking it would have cost me about $4K. But I finally got around to crunching the actual numbers last night for January - May, and because my commission will rise to 20% after 10 downloads, rise to 25% after 50 downloads, and rise back up to my normal 30% level after 250 downloads -- the damage is not so bad.

I would have earned $1641 less in the first three months of this year and now I'd be back to my normal levels for the rest of the year. That's $12,358 vs. $10,717. A 14% drop in income for the first five months, and then I am back on track for the next seven months. No, that is not ideal, but not catastrophic by any stretch of the imagination. In the end, this payout change might reduce my annual earnings by about 7% - 10% over the course of the entire year. And, none of this effects me at all until January 1, 2021 so there is plenty of time for Shutterstock to reverse course and make further changes. I will continue to upload and conduct business as if nothing had changed. No big deal.

Of course, this only addresses the payout changes. The effect of lower subscription pricing is a totally separate issue and I cannot forecast the effects it will have. I will have to crunch the numbers after a few months to see what effect it has had on my average earnings per download.
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Old June 2nd, 2020, 08:32 AM   #178
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Re: Selling Stock Video Footage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Digges View Post
Doug, Yes, I still enjoy shooting too. Especially when I am out doing things in the wild. There is more wildlife in the desert than most people think there is but it is hard to find. We are not quite the sanctuary Florida is but I try sometimes. I was surprised to hear you were out shooting wildlife on the day SpaceX was trying to launch humans into space? I was hoping to see your incredible footage.
I was pretty sure that the SpaceX rocket would not launch last Wednesday due to weather, and I was correct. I didn't want to disrupt a planned 3-day trip to shoot wildlife just for that rocket. Yes, it was a historical mission, but from a strictly visual standpoint it was unremarkable. The Falcon 9 with a dragon capsule is the smallest, least interesting, rocket that ever gets launched from KSC these days. Nevertheless, I shot it anyway from my driveway on Saturday and didn't have to battle the huge crowds and traffic jams. It all worked out for the best and was still cool to see.

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Old June 2nd, 2020, 09:27 PM   #179
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Re: Selling Stock Video Footage.

Yeah, even Doug's driveway is super-cool

Andrew
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Old June 4th, 2020, 12:25 PM   #180
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Re: Selling Stock Video Footage.

Andrew, you always crack me up. I wish I could see rockets from my driveway too. It did happen here once. At 5:30 PM during rush hour traffic a couple years ago a UFO blazed across the horizon. It freaked everyone out. Even the media did not know what is was. People were stopping on the freeway to look at it. It was a wild sight. I was sure it was a spaceship. The media finally figured it out. They told everyone to calm down, it was in fact a spaceship. SpaceX had launched a rocket in California and we saw it blast across Arizona! I don't know how thats possible but I saw it and knew it was a spaceship. Quite an amazing sight!

I have not been back out shooting with my mobile rig yet. I'm waiting for new parts. I hope that post did not sound snarky. As in, I do not have stock that is better or different yet. Sometimes I write story's into my posts. That post is about one way I am trying to achieve better and different. I will post more video when I get there.

Tuesday I did go downtown and cover a protest with a few thousand people. What a great experience. This time there was no violence or looting. It was people making their voice heard and advocating for change that needs to take place. The cops were awesome and held their line without incident. I am submitting to Pond5 today. I dont know if it will do any good, they are not big on current events.

I was shooting video but I shot a few stills.
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