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Author Topic: Wildlife stock footage opportunity  (Read 1024 times)

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« on: November 27, 2019, 19:51 »
0
Hi everyone!

I live in Per and Im working with a company that have eco lodges in the national reserve of Tambopata, Madre de Dios. Its a pristine undisturbed place to see a loooot of wildlife, And filming wildlife full time is my gol. So Im thinking about stook footage as an income and doing what I love.

I have a good relationship with the founder and owner of the lodges and we are evaluating a company option. He will finance equipment, flight tickets, etc; and I will put my time as camera man, editing the clips and upload them.

So this is great as you can see, but he as the investor want to know how the money will eventually return (we both know this is a long term project).
Ive already made a cash flow but there is just one data missing to be more realistic. And that is: in one month, how many clips do you guys sell from the clips you have upload, and what was the income for that month? I could find in the web only the $income for the number of sold clips, but is missing the number of clips been uploaded in total and for that month. Knowing that number, I could estimate roughly the number of clips I need to make per month to see an income in the x year. Please notice this is for footage, not photos.

I know this is a valuable information and I would really appreciate it since this is an exception opportunity for me, please can you guys give me a hand with this?


Thanks in advance!


steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2019, 12:14 »
0
It sounds like a great job to have - but, I do wonder if the earnings will ever be there...

I blog a lot about my earnings from both photos and videos and how many assets I have online on https://www.backyardsilver.com/. As you will see, the earnings from video are very variable. Sometimes it is $600, sometimes $150 or so. But my videos are of topics that are in demand (at least from time to time) and I take things that I believe will form part of a story on a website or perhaps a short clip in some news story on the TV perhaps.

I may be wrong (as I have almost no wildlife shots) but I am not sure what the demand is for clips from a stock agency. Perhaps there are agencies that focus on wildlife videos, but where do you see them being used? The main uses of videos like that are in nature documentaries I suspect, but there, the TV company will be producing their own clips as part of the documentary. Would they use stock clips?

So I don't have an answer for you, but hope these thoughts help you work out if there is an opportunity.

Steve

« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2019, 12:28 »
0
I think you drive the road backwards. Working full time on location means that
maybe it is better to make a pilot first and show to some networks.
As long as you have someone to finance you, you can produce a documentary series.
Split the work with an editor if you feel uncomfortable to do the larger scale post production.
You will have an one time good payment plus you can still sell content to stock that might sell might not.

« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2019, 12:53 »
+1
I've been shooting North American wildlife and natural scenes/landscapes for 4 decades, so I may be able to offer you some insights.

Thousands of my wildlife stills have sold in all formats (film, digital, prints, direct sales, stock, etc) over the years, but only a relative few are what I would call "best sellers." The money they bring in helps me travel and buy new gear, but I would never be able to earn a dependable living from them, because my photography-based income varies too much from month to month.

My best landscape photos are more reliable sellers, but again, they would not sustain my lifestyle.

I've been shooting HD videos since 2017 and this fall moved to 4K. No 4K sales yet, but just about every month I get at least one HD sale. I like the bump they give my bottom line, and the 4Ks will do even better once they start selling.

I do this because it's what I most love to do, which makes me a "hobbyist." It helps that I'm older now and retired from a more gainful career.

If I were a young person starting out today, in all honesty, I would not even attempt to become a professional wildlife photographer. However, if that's what you have your heart set on, and if you have a sponsor who will help offset the costs, it's probably worth a try.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: November 28, 2019, 15:53 by marthamarks »

« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2019, 14:17 »
+1
Its a pristine undisturbed place to see a loooot of wildlife

This truly sounds great!

Of course, what you're asking is the classic impossible-to-answer "how many clips do I need to make this?" question... It's fun to discuss, but in the end, numbers from other people will mean absolutely nothing. Someone with a 1,000 wildlife clips might sell 0 per month, and another with 50 good ones (as in USABLE) might sell 50.

Anyway, because I love wildlife, and it sounds like a great opportunity, I think you should do it, but I'm not making any promises regarding $$$...

Here are some of my recent stats, just for fun:

Pond5 Oct sales: 18.
Wildlife: 7.
Percentage of sales that were of wildlife: 39%.
Percentage of wildlife clips in my portfolio: around 25%.

Same stats for November: only 1 out of 18 sales was related to animals.

---

At another site, 4 out of 24 sales in November were wildlife sales (16.7%), with a portfolio consisting of less than 15% wildlife.

---

If you add in nature and landscapes, the numbers go WAY up of course, so I encourage you to not only use your telephoto lenses.

---

Also keep in mind that a clip of a great white shark will probably sell 1,000+ times more than a viscacha...

Try to capture interesting behaviour, like hunting, fighting and mating, and the chances of selling go up 10-100 times.

---

For the people wondering where wildlife shots are used outside of documentaries - lots of places! Anything related to the environment (or rather, the destruction of) always use wildlife shots, and there are a lot of those projects being produced every week.

Also, standard business/corporate videos use videos of powerful animals.

---

This turned into a long post, so this is the end. :)

I wish you the best of luck!
« Last Edit: November 28, 2019, 14:29 by increasingdifficulty »

« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2019, 15:40 »
0

Try to capture interesting behaviour, like hunting, fighting and mating, and the chances of selling go up 10-100 times.

I agree with everything you wrote with this one exception: mating.  I've "captured" great stills and videos of mating birds and other critters, only to have them almost universally refused by my stock agencies. Just too kinky, I guess.  :(

OTOH, this long-ago shot of wrestling baby Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels has sold in the gazillions. :)   (Magnify it on the SS page to see details.)

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/goldenmantled-ground-squirrel-babies-40667884
« Last Edit: November 28, 2019, 16:13 by marthamarks »

« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2019, 10:57 »
+2
Ok so first I want to thanks all of you for all your feedback!

Steve,
I checked your website, Its very nice and you have very detail information, thanks for sharing that.

As if there are agencies that focus on wildlife videos, I know one called naturefootage.com, if someone else know any other ones please let me know.

I have seen a lot of wildlife documentaries using stock footage (you can see the agencies in the credits), even in big documentaries like planet earth. I dont know if this is a wide or main market though, I hope it is.


George,
Im open to all possibilities and I like your idea. I have never work with tv networks so I dont really know how all that works, but Im going to start to make some research. Can you recommend me any webpage, forum, etc were I can learn more about this?


Martha,
Wow! Thats a lot of experience you have in the business. Thanks for sharing your insights.

Thinking out loud maybe its not a bad idea having money to buy new gear and travel. Since Ill not invest money in these trips (the investment would be my time doing what I love), doing this as a part time hobby doesnt sound bad at all.
Is good to know and to corroborate thanks to all of you that this is not probably a full time job. Is good to hit land to take good decisions. 

Increasingdifficulty,
Thanks a lot for your reply, and also for the fun part. I understand these numbers are very relative, but since you give some detailed numbers Im again intrigue, in this case with your results in your particular situation.
So what I would like to ask you then is how many clips you have on your portfolio? And how many downloads you had the last month, lets say, for not only wildlife footage? I dont want to be annoying though, so feel free to skip this if you prefer.
Quote
Also keep in mind that a clip of a great white shark will probably sell 1,000+ times more than a viscacha...

Try to capture interesting behaviour, like hunting, fighting and mating, and the chances of selling go up 10-100 times.

Totally agree, and this is whats really drives me into this. I have a lot of opportunities to capture rarely documented behavior. I would like to give you two examples.

Last year there was an active Harpy eagle nest with one chick near the lodge, you could get great footage of the mom bringing prey to the nest and feeding the chick and, with some luck, get a shot of the Harpy hunting. I will also have access to a moving platform, so logistics isnt actually a problem. (Im now waiting for the next year hopping they breed again). Here is a playlist where you can see this, although it was done with security and trap cams for scientific proposes.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fiWBMDKjt0&list=PLbI535UFO9JyFomD1JNdf9zeo3omc-gP6 [nofollow]

Another example is that this area is probably the second place in the world where you have most opportunities to see jaguars, been the Pantanal in Brasil the first. You can get great shots from the boat but using a blind in land is totally possible for better results.

And these examples brings me to another point. The filming crew doing documentaries for big TV networks usually dont live near this places and have to invest good money to have their crew for a few weeks on location. Were I, since I live here, can stay for a long period of time all year round, having more opportunities to get those nice rare shots.

This post have gone to long hehe sorry, but I wanted to give you guys a better understanding so new ideas can come up. Maybe contact BBC directly, for example, is not a bad idea if I got those shots (the equipment meets their requirements at least).

What do you guys thing?

Best

Daniel

« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2019, 14:54 »
+1
So what I would like to ask you then is how many clips you have on your portfolio? And how many downloads you had the last month, lets say, for not only wildlife footage? I dont want to be annoying though, so feel free to skip this if you prefer.

Without going into too much detail, I have less than 1,000 clips, quite a bit less on most of the sites where I never uploaded my "beginner" shots that weren't too great.

I get around $4-5 per clip, per month, from that portfolio from all income sources combined. A bit more than 50% of my clips are related to nature (wildlife, landscapes, nature close-ups etc.). The sales coming from nature footage are also around that number (40-60%). I have pretty much no people footage.

I make a good living from stock (in any country), but most of my income comes from other assets, and my stock footage income alone wouldn't be enough to live comfortably where I live right now, although it would certainly be more than enough in cheap countries. Some months of the year I dedicate to travel/filming/uploading footage, and some months to other stuff like 3D animation and music.

If I were to focus 100% of my time on stock footage only, I'm certain I would be able to live well from that.

---

You seem to know what you're doing, and I'm sure you'll end up with better clips than I have. Most of my wildlife shots are quite easy shots, as I've never spent weeks in hides or anything like that. I wish I had more cool scenes, but that takes a lot of time and dedication of course. And I don't have any RED cameras, C100s or Arri Alexas in my hiking backpack. As you say, to sell to BBC, you would probably have to have certain equipment, but I agree that even they buy stock footage for their films, at least of the surroundings (like aerials with certain weather conditions the film teams weren't lucky to get).

---

Make the most of your time. I assume that 90%+ will be waiting time, so capture time lapses, close-ups of insects, leaves, aerials of the surroundings, etc.

---

I would really love to be able to film harpy eagles! That is really, really cool!
« Last Edit: November 29, 2019, 15:06 by increasingdifficulty »

« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2019, 16:31 »
+1
Quote
George,
Im open to all possibilities and I like your idea. I have never work with tv networks so I dont really know how all that works, but Im going to start to make some research. Can you recommend me any webpage, forum, etc were I can learn more about this?

You don't need forums you need contacts I think. You can expand later. Many people lost their way ending up chasing festival awards or exposure.
Guess a way is to direct contact channels or sites and communicate your idea and benefits of you doing this to as many as you can.
Listen to their opinion or suggestions and decide yourself.

Back to stock, I have a question David, have your searched in general the terms and locations that you will shoot?
I mean if park views are covered by aerial & drone shots in main agencies, or the species that live there "exist" in large amounts as stock content already?

Here is a subjective cynical opinion, doing what you love as main job, sometimes becomes a trouble if you base your meal on it.
The "easy" way to test the waters is to do some filmimg and edit some promos for the resort you currently work and ask opinions.
I wish you best of luck! :)



« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2019, 20:50 »
+1
Quote
I have less than 1,000 clips, quite a bit less on most of the sites where I never uploaded my "beginner" shots that weren't too great.
I get around $4-5 per clip, per month, from that portfolio from all income sources combined. A bit more than 50% of my clips are related to nature (wildlife, landscapes, nature close-ups etc.). The sales coming from nature footage are also around that number (40-60%). I have pretty much no people footage.

mmm So thats $4-5K per month? That would be assuming that you resell your 1000 clips every month, but I feel Im assuming wrong. Can you clarify this for me?

Quote
If I were to focus 100% of my time on stock footage only, I'm certain I would be able to live well from that.
Thats great! Its also great to know its possible.

Quote
Make the most of your time. I assume that 90%+ will be waiting time, so capture time lapses, close-ups of insects, leaves, aerials of the surroundings, etc.
I will for sure!


Quote
Back to stock, I have a question David, have your searched in general the terms and locations that you will shoot?
I mean if park views are covered by aerial & drone shots in main agencies, or the species that live there "exist" in large amounts as stock content already?
I got in touch with naturefootage.com and they point out there was a few or nothing on this region and the wildlife you can see (at least good quality 4k footage). I havent completely dive into other websites though.

Quote
The "easy" way to test the waters is to do some filmimg and edit some promos for the resort you currently work and ask opinions.
You are right! I have actually done that and you can see it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6ZPDpzsK0M&t=3s [nofollow]

Ill be glad to have some feedback!



« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2019, 04:10 »
0
I am not the right one to judge a video but I like it :)
If there is no actual material online, sounds as an actual opportunity!

« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2019, 04:10 »
+1
I'm no expert in this field but in your planning I would just caution that what you make or made in the last year on each clip is likely to decline given the often discussed issue around the supply and demand problem. So I would factor in some "depreciation" for that. e.g 15-20% each year.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2019, 05:22 by Pauws99 »

« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2019, 13:56 »
+4
mmm So thats $4-5K per month? That would be assuming that you resell your 1000 clips every month, but I feel Im assuming wrong. Can you clarify this for me?

Well, I said LESS than 1,000 clips so not quite that much. :)

But the average $4-5 per clip per month is just that - the average, which means some clips may earn $0, and others $100.

To me, this is the most useful metric when comparing, and whatever costs you may have is up to you to add. For someone living in NYC, a clip worth $10k might cost a short walk, while it would be a lot more expensive for someone living in Zadar.

You should know that the $4-5/clip/month is a HIGH number, and most people don't make nearly that much. And you probably won't either the first 1-2 years.

That is because I:

Don't upload a thousand similars, only 1-3 of the best clips of a subject/location.
Spend A LOT of time on the metadata - which should be different for each site. You HAVE to know and use each search engine to your advantage.
Have some unique clips that generally can't be filmed - they are "Photoshopped" (but in After Effects).
Have CONTROL over my clips - do not go exclusive or use services like BlackBox if you want to maximize earnings.

Most people are very lazy when it comes to the "boring" side of stock, which is the metadata, SEO, editing, adapting to new markets, etc., anything except for actually filming. That means they probably lose thousands of dollars.

Some people just upload directly from their memory cards, write a few lazy descriptions (often very bad) that they copy/paste to 30 clips, upload 50 slightly different variations of the same clip and then complain when they have 5 sales from 20,000 clips...

---

Also, if you really want to sell a lot of clips, you need subjects that are likely to sell over and over, and over, and over again. If you only have very specific clips, of an animal few normal people even know exists, you will probably only see 1-2 lifetime sales. On the other hand, a roaring lion is universally known and needed all the time.

This is also connected to tagging. If you have a clip of an alpaca that people only find if they specifically search for "alpaca", you might see a few sales. But if people also find that clip when they search for "travel in South America", you will sell a lot more.

« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2019, 15:54 »
0
increasingdifficulty, sorry I couldn't reply sooner to say thanks for all the great tips!! Really you helped me lot.  :)

I see, the most boring stuff is what makes the difference really, so I would take more time on that.

Quote
To me, this is the most useful metric when comparing
Great! I agree! It's all very clear now. I would take those numbers as an optimism reference.

Best

Daniel


 

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