When doing anything that has a historical bent to it, whether it’s a report, a documentary or even a scene in a short or move that has a need to be “old”, using rare clips or news footage from that era lends a level of authenticity to the shot that can’t be denied. And using stock footage from a vendor with all the rights to it makes life a lot easier when it comes to finding footage you can use safely.
When it comes to using video in a report, using video footage as an illustration of past events establishes a level of credibility that is undeniable. A clip from a well known source, like FOX or CNN was viewed by millions of people, and some who are in the audience for a presentation or report airing that clip may well have seen the original. Even if they didn’t, seeing a clip from a ‘trusted’ source establishes the fact that it was indeed a real event.
Clips used in TV shows, movies and short films can be used as a “timestamp”. This will establish a timeframe when a scene was supposed to have taken place. For instance, any evening news report from the late 1960’s or early 1970’s wasn’t complete without reports from Viet Nam and reports from the late 1980’s weren’t complete without some kind of reporting from Iraq. Showing 3 to 5 seconds of a news clip from those eras nails down a timeframe and even if there are other anomalies in the scene (shoes from the wrong era, a car from the wrong decade…) those will be virtually ignored because of the power of the news clip.
There are lots of reasons to use stock footage from a reputable video archive source. Getting clips from a good source means you won’t have any copyright issues when you use the clip. Let’s face it. The last thing anyone wants to deal with when it comes to using material that can be an integral part of a presentation or video is to have issues where the legality of using the clip is brought into question. While it would appear that news stories are “fair play” when it comes to using them in other works, that isn’t the case. Using clips that have those issues in hand prevents problems in the future.
If you’re working on a film or presentation that can use rare clips or news footage, go check out what’s available. You may well be surprised just how much is out there and how easy it is to get what you need.