After announcing their collaboration with Apple on an extension to Final Cut Pro X a short while back, Shutterstock is continuing to refine their service with their new premium tier of video content Shutterstock Select. This new section of Shutterstock promises to be shot by high caliber industry professionals on top notch gear, specifically Phantom and RED cameras, utilizing helicopters and the like, to create the highest quality video content Shutterstock has ever offered. Shutterstock Select will still retain the same pricing structure and stay royalty-free.
With stock video services being high in number and very competitive these days, it really isn’t all that surprising they are trying to distinguish themselves from one another. We have written about Filmsupply’s Original Series, where they tried to produce an actual narrative, high production value content, that could be licensed and reused as stock video. Another stock service we reported about is RawFilm, a subscription-based stock service, providing users with footage shot exclusively on RED cameras and in REDCODE RAW. And then there is Adobe Stock, a service that really hit the ground running through their purchase of Fotolia and close integration with the Creative Cloud products.
Particularly the latter point is something that really sets the Adobe software ecosystem apart: currently, there is no parallel to the easiness of both roundtrips between different Adobe software and searching for stock to use in your project from inside the application you are using to work on it. While in Adobe’s case there is no distinction, it shouldn’t be forgotten, that both the stock provider and the software manufacturer benefit from such an integration. Apple and Shutterstock recently tried to balance out the situation by integrating Shutterstock closely with Final Cut Pro X 10.4.4, releasing an official extension allowing for similar functionality. The extension provides helpful features like search, adding footage to collections and downloading watermarked samples to use in your project.
Shutterstock’s Next Move
Shutterstock Select seems like a logical next step to further refine Shutterstock’s offerings for video production purposes. While there isn’t any precise information on Shutterstock’s blog or website, it seems like Shutterstock Select cannot be actively joined, but you have to be invited by the curators to take part in it. The sales pitch is this: a handful of experienced professionals produce high production value, expertly curated content, using only the best of equipment out there. Shutterstock Select contributor Bevan Goldswain puts it into words like this:
There is so much stock footage out there right now, a lot of average stuff, a lot of fairly good work. But there is a very small percentage of high-end cinematic quality stock footage
Yet the same simple Shutterstock model applies, meaning the content is still royalty-free and has one price, regardless of resolution.
Not Just Premium Content
Shutterstock’s approach to introducing its new tier is rather bold. Where other services try to create ample amounts of different content for all possible scenarios even at launch, Shutterstock Select is really trying to concentrate on creating just a few collections, with high depth, rather than a broad selection. Currently, it only has six collections: Millenials, New York Aerials, Los Angeles Aerials, Food & Drinks, Small Business, and Japan. While I don’t know about Shutterstock’s claim of some of the shots being suitable for “high-octane, Hollywood-style action” scenes the footage certainly would be good enough to use in most premium TV and web commercial contexts. In particular, the aerial shots and the high frame rate footage is quite impressive.
Another difference with Shutterstock Select comes in the kind of content that apparently is expected from their hand-picked contributors: bringing their own style into the game. Shutterstock Select contributor and experienced cinematographer with a particular expertise in aerials, Daniel Hurst says:
I think that stock contributors who have a more unique style will definitely stand out more in the future. I would love to see buyers recognize and seek out contributors based on that unique aesthetic.
If this turns out to be true for Shutterstock Select it might also be beneficial for creators, not being required to produce the exact same kinds of content day-in, day-out. If Shutterstock Select keeps refining their content like this, this might just be something actually new and useful in the stock footage world. We will keep you posted on new developments.
Did you like the footage from Shutterstock Select? Can you imagine using it or any other service for your productions and for what reason? Let us know in the comments!