While the use of cheap, amateur-shot library content is undoubtedly on the
rise, players in the stock-photo and stock-video game insist it's not at the
expense of high-end, professionally produced footage in the production market.
Corbis' Director of Photography and Motion Doug Segers says companies like
his have maintained a stronghold on high-end clients due to the company's
roster of professional videographers. He eschews the premise that amateur
shooters producing cheaper content will take up large swaths of market share.
"Just because you can point a camera at a dog hanging its head out the window
doesn't mean it's going to look as good as someone who does it professionally,"
Indeed, freelance associate producer Emily Harper, whose credits include
MTV's Video Music Awards and The HillsUncensored, says that "to an extent, you
get what you pay for." The need for professional-level stock remains, she says,
pointing to a recent project in which she considered a mix of stock content
from pros and amateurs.
"Everything I was pulling was supposed to look amazing, so I wasn't even
going to show producers something that wasn't going to look that good," Harper
says. "You just have to have a good eye for what to pick and what not to pick."
However, the next generation of TV producers is growing up in the business
using stock footage, often dressing up the cheaper stuff. That could mean
amateur video giving the pros more of a run down the line, Harper adds. "Lower-level
production workers have to be jacks of all trades, and a lot of kids in these
entry-level positions do have the skills to use Photoshop [and make stock
images look TV-quality]," she says. "Because the workers can do it, it's
something that has grown in popularity."