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Author Topic: Time to give up on Pond 5.....  (Read 10587 times)

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« on: April 30, 2016, 18:27 »
+4
Last year I had a huge row with Pond 5 because they would not accept broadcast standard 1080i video. To this day there is no warning on their site that they don't want 1080i and seem unaware that the paying customer can de-interlace this kind of material themselves anyway. I actually raised this issue with a colourist at major facility and he thought the policy was hard to understand.

A few weeks ago I uploaded nearly 200 1080p clips. After waiting for about three weeks I discovered that about 2% of what I uploaded was accepted.

The reasons for rejecting material was lack of focus and something they called 'smudge'. I looked at these rejected clips and saw that the chroma was damaged, the clips were crushed and they looked awful. They did not look like that after they had just been uploaded. This is an IT problem at Pond 5.

The other reason for rejecting clips was that the reviewer said that the site already had clips similar to ones I had submitted. I was also told that the variants on a theme I had submitted decreased the chances of a sale.

I had a lot of clips returned because I had helpfully stated in the descriptions that they were 25 fps 1080p.

The other reason given for rejecting clips was that Pond 5 is looking for material which is 'vibrant and original.'

I have written to a contact at Pond 5 to say that most of the material I shoot is establishing shots. By definition they cannot be vibrant and original but are intended to serve a need for somebody who wants to include them in their edit. Most film and TV is actually shot in quite a safe way and clips which are shall we say too Art House can't be used easily in an edits because they will not fit. Submitting clips of the same subject means that you give the potential customer a lot of choice and they might decide on a whim to pick one clip of the same subject and not another. A simple example is that a 10 second clip of Big Ben might be cheaper than a 20 second clip of it. It is entirely possible to sell both clips in time and this actually used to happen before Pond 5 started becoming prissy about what they accept.

My recent submission of a number of clips of The Little Mermaid in Denmark was intended to nail the subject on the head so that this would be a definitive collection. The limited collection already on Pond 5 were so obviously shot by tourists on non-standard equipment and looked dark and pretty awful for the most part.

Pond 5 do not seem to understand the notion of an electronic press-kit. I submitted a number of clips of people outside Abbey Road studios in London along with some establishing shots. The idea of such a collection is that somebody making a film or news item far away can pick and choose what they want out of a collection that is all shot the same way. The idea expressed by Pond 5 that fewer clips of the same subject will increase the chances of sales is contradictory. They are not even prepared to let the potential customer browse a variety of clips at the small expense of using up a bit more server space. I wouldn't mind if they had a cull of my clips that hadn't sold after a year, the process could be automated and I'd accept that that they weren't ever going to be saleable. The simple of idea of hanging them up and seeing if they sell or not doesn't seem to apply at Pond 5.

In short, the reviewer does not know what will sell or not. Their lack of understanding about what video editors can easily use in terms of bought-in clips shows because they confuse photography with video media, which are two different things. Establishing shots are not actually that interesting but they are a cornerstone of the stock shots market. For a curator at Pond 5 not to understand this and to exclude material that does not try to be Art is quite a concern really.  The practice of wholesale rejections is actually pretty grating and the reason given that the lazy curator doesn't find the material interesting enough doesn't mean that somebody out there might not want to buy it. 

Once again I have tired of having to deal with people who know so little about how video is actually used and what you have to give a video editor. A collection of breath-taking and Arty video clips is less likely to sell because such material has more limited uses when you try to combine it with other clips.

I'd be open to suggestions of alternative agencies. I think I have given Pond 5 the benefit of the doubt now and it hasn't worked out.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2016, 18:34 by abcdstockshots »


« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2016, 19:56 »
+1
Quote
My recent submission of a number of clips of The Little Mermaid in Denmark was intended to nail the subject on the head so that this would be a definitive collection. The limited collection already on Pond 5 were so obviously shot by tourists on non-standard equipment and looked dark and pretty awful for the most part.

Slightly off topic, but beware of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen. Certainly not suitable for commercial use, as the descendants of the sculptor are very litigious and there is no freedom of panorama for sculptures in Denmark. Editorial - maybe, but they might still claim that it is done "for profit".

« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2016, 21:01 »
+1
You need a release if you want to include most well-known privately-owned buildings in your commercial production, let alone works of Art, the Mermaid is no different. The clips of the Mermaid on Pond 5 are all awful, last time I looked. I am still quite surprised that reviewers who work for Pond 5 don't understand that simple establishing shots are the mainstay of the stockshot business. They aren't fascinating but they are a cheap way of scene-setting. It's irritating to have your work slung in the bin because the reviewer doesn't feel entertained.

« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2016, 21:03 »
+3
You need a release if you want to include most well-known privately-owned buildings in your commercial production, let alone works of Art, the Mermaid is no different.

Which is why stock sites won't host them, as they don't want the buyers to get burned for using unreleased content.

« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2016, 21:10 »
+1
Pond 5 accepted three of my Mermaid clips, which probably means that they don't know their stuff, though they are terrified that somebody you might video in public might sue, even though they have no legal recourse. They used to jump all over contributors about this but they seem to have forgotten about this and now seem to consider themselves as an Art House agency. If you search for abcdstockshots you will see the clips.

The point I tried to make to Pond 5 was that posting variants of the same subject means you can sell more clips of exactly the same thing and a decision to buy or not can depend on a small difference between clips, even just the length of the clip and not how arty and original you can be in your videography. Selling the same thing twice is great business, something Pond 5 doesn't understand and I'm sure the owners of the work would be delighted with the royalties.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2016, 21:24 by abcdstockshots »

« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2016, 03:34 »
+1
Because of all the possible variations in timing, panning, shooting from above, below, you need a lot of variations to allow the customer to find the right clip.

If anything, I would expect a professional video agency to always offer more videos than photos from a scene.

I fully agree with the usefulness of establishing shots and also the many small scene clips, opening a door, receiving a parcel, planting a flower, pressing a light switch.

This is the stuff you buy to cut into your own material.

And most of the useful content is still missing and 4k is completly empty.

Cistomers will move to another agency for their daily needs as soon as SS overtakes them.

Maybe the pond can reinvent themselves as a place for arthouse clips, but they still need people to supply them. And with all those rejections....people tend to learn quickly.


Great opportunity for the others to step in and take away their normal stock business.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2016, 04:36 by cobalt »

« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2016, 05:30 »
+4
It might be that the 2K crowd got fed up with the mass rejections of their clips and when they moved to 4K, decided not to bother. If I had a clips agency I'd include everything that was competently shot and then cull it after six months to a year if it didn't sell. The curators at Pond 5 really can't know what will sell or not and the new policy that quality equates to how interesting the clip is shows that they don't understand what stock footage is.

Most video rushes and stock collections are incredibly dull to watch but you have to adhere to the idea of shooting more than you are going to edit because then you have more choices. The same applies to a stock catalogue of say clips of Big Ben. They are nearly all quite boring but having a vast catalogue means endless browsing and sooner or later the customer will pick one.

If you have ever tried to edit video where the camera op was trying to be arty and creative all the time, rather than just pointing the camera at what is in front of them and letting it roll then you'll know what real pain is. Material like that is very hard to work with and the more niche it is the less saleable it is, because there are fewer ways you can fit it into your edit.

The other issue is that it takes a lot of time to upload and label a batch of clips and the attitude of the curators can seem smug and shallow, there is a lack of appreciation which second time around for me makes me not want to give them the business. I know that they are probably using cut-and-paste scripts but it is annoying having to deal with people, probably students who don't know about film & television and actually quite resistant to learning new things it seems.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2016, 05:48 by abcdstockshots »

« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2016, 07:24 »
+2
Wait, I remember you and I thought you were gone from there long ago after that massive row with Lawrence and your letter to now ex-CEO.
Once bitten twice shy!

« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2016, 09:40 »
+1
Yes that's right. I did have the courtesy of an exchange of e mails with Javier Salinas who seems to be somebody at Pond 5 with a brain and it seemed encouraging. I did give them a second go and I think I've been fair about it.

« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2016, 12:58 »
+2
I decided to postpone uploads for a while -
I don't want to waste my clips...

« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2016, 03:51 »
+1
Yes that's right. I did have the courtesy of an exchange of e mails with Javier Salinas who seems to be somebody at Pond 5 with a brain and it seemed encouraging. I did give them a second go and I think I've been fair about it.

The only logical question would be what Javier said about rejection issue, if you contacted him at all?

btw...New CEO email address - ryanscott@pond5.com
« Last Edit: May 02, 2016, 06:14 by KnowYourOnions »

SquirrelPower

« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2016, 06:08 »
+2
Sad that Pond 5 is basically gone now as they paid 50% commission and had a easy method of uploading and also accepted editorial.  They say the reason for near 100% rejections is that they are improving their standards but I am not buying it and the buyers seem to have left as well.  The new management have in one month taken the company in a different direction and ended it for many and it's anyone's guess if their new art house format will make money, gifs of goofy hipsters with large goofy glasses who can't dance trying to dance pretty much sums up their new target market.

This was the best site too with the best sales. 

« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2016, 08:20 »
+4
Sad that Pond 5 is basically gone now as they paid 50% commission and had a easy method of uploading and also accepted editorial.  They say the reason for near 100% rejections is that they are improving their standards but I am not buying it and the buyers seem to have left as well.  The new management have in one month taken the company in a different direction and ended it for many and it's anyone's guess if their new art house format will make money, gifs of goofy hipsters with large goofy glasses who can't dance trying to dance pretty much sums up their new target market.

This was the best site too with the best sales.

I have about 250 new videos and 100 that they blanket rejected that they will never see.  Really too bad, too.  These agencies like us when they are building, then they despise us when they change course as more of a nuisance.  Why don't they just turn off uploads except for those with a 100% acceptance rate? It is a HUGE waste of time to upload and prep clips only top have them rejected.  They KNOW that many of us will stop and that's why they reject like they do now. The KNOW it will drive contributors away, which is what they seem to want. And it's working.

« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2016, 08:59 »
+2
Javier actually contacted me first last year, nothing to do with the letter I wrote to the CEO. He said that there was nothing wrong with my 1080i collection, so I carried on uploading only to be told by the curator that interlacing was a problem and they would have to issue refunds. I tried explaining that they just would have to tell the customer to de-interlace correctly and it would be fine. I was actually telling support things that would save the company money.

Stock agencies seldom have anything newsworthy in the way of clips. Their mainstay is lots and lots of clips of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, The White House, Red Square Moscow etc etc. They are very boring but a huge collection will keep the browser on site until they decide to buy something and a decision to buy can be very subjective. Less variety or sheer quantity would damage sales. Arty clips have very little use because the people who make art movies are usually broke anyway and would be a bad customer base. They would probably going to want to shoot their own clips anyway because they are artists.

Moving Pond 5 support to India, employing people with no film or TV experience and using scripted responses is a decision that is nearly 20 years out of date.

SquirrelPower

« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2016, 17:33 »
+1
Sad that Pond 5 is basically gone now as they paid 50% commission and had a easy method of uploading and also accepted editorial.  They say the reason for near 100% rejections is that they are improving their standards but I am not buying it and the buyers seem to have left as well.  The new management have in one month taken the company in a different direction and ended it for many and it's anyone's guess if their new art house format will make money, gifs of goofy hipsters with large goofy glasses who can't dance trying to dance pretty much sums up their new target market.

This was the best site too with the best sales.

I have about 250 new videos and 100 that they blanket rejected that they will never see.  Really too bad, too.  These agencies like us when they are building, then they despise us when they change course as more of a nuisance.  Why don't they just turn off uploads except for those with a 100% acceptance rate? It is a HUGE waste of time to upload and prep clips only top have them rejected.  They KNOW that many of us will stop and that's why they reject like they do now. The KNOW it will drive contributors away, which is what they seem to want. And it's working.

Would be easier if they simply closed the door to new submissions and posted a notice saying the database is full at this time thank you for your efforts over the years.  That notice would probably take them six months to write though.

Videoblocks doesn't take photos at least not yet but they do video of all kinds including the new 360 and vr stuff so I guess the best thing to do right away is upload all content 24/7 to Videoblocks and then source out other sites as well.   As much as I hope they will I have a feeling Pond is not reversing course.

« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2016, 18:20 »
+1
Sad that Pond 5 is basically gone now as they paid 50% commission and had a easy method of uploading and also accepted editorial.  They say the reason for near 100% rejections is that they are improving their standards but I am not buying it and the buyers seem to have left as well.  The new management have in one month taken the company in a different direction and ended it for many and it's anyone's guess if their new art house format will make money, gifs of goofy hipsters with large goofy glasses who can't dance trying to dance pretty much sums up their new target market.

This was the best site too with the best sales.

I have about 250 new videos and 100 that they blanket rejected that they will never see.  Really too bad, too.  These agencies like us when they are building, then they despise us when they change course as more of a nuisance.  Why don't they just turn off uploads except for those with a 100% acceptance rate? It is a HUGE waste of time to upload and prep clips only top have them rejected.  They KNOW that many of us will stop and that's why they reject like they do now. The KNOW it will drive contributors away, which is what they seem to want. And it's working.

Would be easier if they simply closed the door to new submissions and posted a notice saying the database is full at this time thank you for your efforts over the years.  That notice would probably take them six months to write though.

Videoblocks doesn't take photos at least not yet but they do video of all kinds including the new 360 and vr stuff so I guess the best thing to do right away is upload all content 24/7 to Videoblocks and then source out other sites as well.   As much as I hope they will I have a feeling Pond is not reversing course.

8)
https://www.instagram.com/p/BC0rOJFr6PH/?tagged=pond5

SquirrelPower

« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2016, 20:34 »
+3

https://www.instagram.com/p/BC0rOJFr6PH/?tagged=pond5
[/quote]

I don't know how you find this stuff and don't want to know but that photo kinda puts things in perspective.

« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2016, 03:37 »
+1

https://www.instagram.com/p/BC0rOJFr6PH/?tagged=pond5


I don't know how you find this stuff and don't want to know but that photo kinda puts things in perspective.

Google knows ALL.  :)

« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2016, 09:35 »
+2
The membership program has been bad for contributors.  If we are making less money, Pond5 must be making less money too.  It's a stupid program.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2016, 17:43 by helloitsme »

« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2016, 13:25 »
+3
The membership program has been bad for contributors.  I we are making less money, Pond5 must be making less money too.  It's a stupid program.

I love your insightful analysis

« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2016, 17:16 »
0
The membership program has been bad for contributors.  I we are making less money, Pond5 must be making less money too.  It's a stupid program.

I love your insightful analysis

So dazzle us with your insights. 
« Last Edit: May 22, 2016, 17:18 by PixelBytes »

« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2016, 17:42 »
+1
The membership program has been bad for contributors.  I we are making less money, Pond5 must be making less money too.  It's a stupid program.

I love your insightful analysis

Thank you for your compliment.

« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2016, 17:44 »
+2
The membership program has been bad for contributors.  I we are making less money, Pond5 must be making less money too.  It's a stupid program.

I love your insightful analysis

So dazzle us with your insights.


I think you have to pay for that because he/she is so smart.

« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2016, 21:10 »
0
The membership program has been bad for contributors.  I we are making less money, Pond5 must be making less money too.  It's a stupid program.

I love your insightful analysis

So dazzle us with your insights.


I think you have to pay for that because he/she is so smart.

You are correct, show me the money

« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2016, 03:44 »
0
The membership program has been bad for contributors.  I we are making less money, Pond5 must be making less money too.  It's a stupid program.

I love your insightful analysis

So dazzle us with your insights.


I think you have to pay for that because he/she is so smart.

You are correct, show me the money

As Tom Cruise once said
« Last Edit: May 23, 2016, 10:41 by Pablito »


 

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