I had some issues downloading clips with Firefox on a PC and contacted the website. The response was very fast and personal and that made me curious about the person behind the website. David Schmerin, owner of the website, has been in the business for a long time. I asked him a number of questions, among which: "Did you shoot the footage yourself?" and "How can giving away free footage be a viable business enterprise?" This is David's candid response:
"Yes, I shot almost everything on the site. The footage on the site varies from SD to HDCAM and almost all flavors in between. Right now most of the HD is HDV, and yes we used a Sony Z1U for most of our HDV work. We have long since retired our HDV equipment so all new footage coming will be from much higher end equipment including full 4:4:4 materials. We currently use EX3 cameras with NanoFlash recorders, F3 with a Gemini for our 4:4:4 acquisitions, and a CineFlex V.14 with 4:4:4 outs to the Gemini for our aerial productions
So the answer is, yes, there is no catch beyond you have to follow the terms and conditions of our EULA which is all pretty basic stuff… Don’t use may material in porn, don’t resale my clips, etc. Most important of all, if you use my material, give me my credit. That is all there is to it.
I have been doing this just about 20 years now. My website a www.wrightwood.com is the oldest royalty free stock footage company on the internet. I started my company before most people knew what the internet or a .com was which is why I have a single word Pronoun as a domain name.
Concerning the pay for sites, this is a complicated issue. While everything that can be found on BottledVideo.com can also be found on GotFootage.com and GotFootageHD.com, not everything on GotFootage.com or GotFootageHD.com can be found on BottledVideo.com. Further, there are differences of deliverable formats. BottledVideo.com utilizes an H.264 codec, while the pay sites deliver in a Photo-JPEG codec.
So basically, after 20 years of watching the Stock Footage industry decimated by low cost hardware, everyone thinking they can shoot stock footage resulting in some really bad stock footage being sold, aggregators like IStock and Pond5 who will sell anything from anyone so long as they get their cut every time something sells, and network executives who have no problems dropping $600 on lunch but won’t pay a $50 fee for footage, I just got tired of it. So I created BottledVideo.com where over time we hope to migrate all of our pay for footage over to Totally Free… Why because I can. Because after 20 years as a small business who created many of the models the current mega sites use, you are the first who has ever said anything like, hey we may want to write about you. Its time shake up the industry like I did 20 years ago as the first 100% royalty free stock footage agency. Also because I spent too many years having to tell people I am sorry I can not help you if you can not afford to pay. I have a lot of Karma to make up for and people now more then ever need a break."