Micro Stock Footage Guide top
by Stephen Finn

updated 28-02-2009

Price Comparison Advantages/disadvantages Footage Requirements

Micro Stock Photo Agency Guide

Basic Requirements

If you have a video camera and a tripod you can make some money from your movie clips.

Don't bother submitting footage from a point and shoot camera even though the frame may be big enough for Shutterstock it will be compressed so appear grainy.

All agencies want stable footage using a tripod, most hand held work will not be accepted.

The footage should be well lit and in focus.

Movie clips can be very big up to 100 meg.

Most home internet connections in the UK have a maximum upload speed of about 100 meg/hour so uploading can be very slow. All agencies will accept a DVD filled with clips posted to a North American address. iStock will let you upload a compressed proxy clip if this is accepted you can submit the full sized version.

Where can you sell your footage?

Unlike Micro Stock photo market there are currently only five agencies selling royalty free footage clips.

Pond5 50% of the price that you set - 122,000 clips

iStock 20% of price for non exclusive videographers largest portfolio about - 200,000+

Shutterstock 30% of price plus $8 or $13.25 from footage subscription sales, portfolio of about 95,000+

Stockxpert 40% of price smallest portfolio

Fotolia 30% of price due to go live in the spring

Only one agency Shutterstock accepts editorial footage it can be quite simple to make a photo royalty free (by removing copyrighted material) but a movie clip is 25 photos per second so special software is needed.


Price Comparison Chart Top

This table shows how much different sized clips would earn you. 

* Pond5 prices stated if you set a Pal clip at $30

# Pond5 prices stated if you set a 720 Hi-Def clip at $40

& Pond5 prices stated if you set a 1080 Hi-Def clip at $50

Istock prices assume 1 credit = $1

Size Royalty-Free Stock Video at Pond5 Fotolia sign up
240 x 320 $3 $4 $3 $3
480 x 640 $9 $8 $6 $5
PAL/NTSC $15 * $9 $12 $9 $8
High Definition

720 x 1280

$20 # $12 $16 $12 $15
High Definition

1080 x 1920

$25 & $15 $20 $15 $18

Advantages and Disadvantages Top


Accept a wide variety of codec even MPEG2 no need to buy extra software also compressed clips are faster to upload

accept editorial footage

Fast reviews

Footage subscription sales

Royalty-Free Stock Video at Pond5


You set the price 

No resizing so clients have to pay full price

high acceptance rate

Fast reviews


No resizing so clients have to pay full price which may discourage some sales if they only wanted a web sized clip

Don't accept editorial footage



highest earnings per clip

small portfolio so plenty of gaps to fill

Fast reviews


No sales so far

Need to Quicktime Pro to convert clips to required codec

Required codec have large file sizes so slow to upload



largest portfolio so will attract buyers


Without FTP uploading is a tedious process one at a time.

Required codec have large file sizes so slow to upload

Highest prices and lowest percentage of sales

Largest portfolio

Slow and strict review process

Need to Quicktime Pro to convert clips to required codec



Percentage of earnings sales increases with number of sales


Haven't reviewed anything yet.

Footage Requirements Top

  Fotolia sign up Royalty-Free Stock Video at Pond5
Minimum size 480 x 640 PAL/NTSC

576 x 720 / 486 x 720

320 x 240 480 x 640 PAL/NTSC

576 x 720 / 486 x 720

Clip length seconds 7 - 60* 7 - 40 5 - 60 5 - 30 5 - 30
Codec virtually any PhotoJPG, MJPG A/B,  H.264, flv, dvvideo, h264, mjpeg, mpeg1video, mpeg2video, mpeg4, rpza, svq1, vp6f, wmv2, wmv3 PhotoJPG,
Sound ambient None ambient ambient ambient
FTP Yes Yes Yes Yes Only for exclusives

* Shutterstock only state the maximum length of a clip and not to submit more than 20 clips at a time.

ambient is the normal background noise if there is music playing or people talking you will need to mute it.

If you wanted to submit the same clip to all five agencies it would have to be 7-30 seconds in length with no sound saved in PhotoJPG or MJPG B codec. Pond5 (apparently don't accept Motion JPEG A codec) or Motion JPEG B codec with sound if you were excluding SXP.

I would suggest submitting to shutterstock first if your movie editing software doesn't have PhotoJPG, MJPG A/B  codecs and you feel confident you can make some money from your clips you may have to purchase Quicktime Pro and possibly a plugin for playing MPEG in Quicktime.

Both iStock and SXP require you to send a test submission of footage which can be compressed details on their websites. 

MPEG Streamclip is free software for trimming and converting movie files though it needs Quicktime's codecs