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In film and video production , the term film material or footage refers to the uncut film ( camera negative or copies of it) that is used in the cut, or in general any unspecified amount of film ("Animators are paid according to the film material or footage" = the Payment depends on the amount of animated film).

The term footage originated in English usage because 35 mm film material was measured in feet (plural of foot) and frames, in German in feet and single images. One foot contains exactly 16 individual images and corresponds to one second of screening time during silent movie times.

Stock footage

Archived film material that is used in new productions is referred to as stock footage , regardless of whether it was used in previous productions or not. The early Tarzan films, for example, are known, the jungle shots of which were largely taken from such archives. The images from moving cars used for rear projections often came from the archive. A very pronounced use of archive material can also be found in the Star Trek series. Many of the animated spaceship sequences were used several times, among other things for cost reasons. For example, you can also find spaceship scenes or landscape animations (Planet Romulus from the film Nemesis in the “new” series Enterprise (ENT)) from the movies in the series.

The old term "clip material" has gone out of fashion since film material was quickly digitally accessed; It referred to the practice of marking usable places in uncut film rolls by inserting strips of paper between them, which "brace" the desired scene.

Archive material is now a separate product in the film trade. In particular, television broadcasters deal in news material. News agencies such as Reuters ( ITN ), Associated Press Television News (APTN) or CNN and the British BBC are world market leaders. Archive material is also often used in the production of new TV programs for magazine articles and in special areas such as films with historical film material, television series or even animal films.

In other branches of the film industry, such as commercials, corporate films or, to a lesser extent, feature films, there are other customers for film material. The advertising film industry is increasingly using film material as the basis for particularly creative productions that, for example, use complex compositing processes to create unusual image compositions in post-production.

Large providers in this segment are, for example, Getty Images and Corbis Motion in the USA, as well as the BBC Motion Gallery in Great Britain. The worldwide film material market is estimated to be over USD 200 million (2005). However, reliable numbers are difficult to determine. Getty Images alone has revenues of over $ 30 million in footage. The digitization of film production, from HDTV cameras to digital post-production - the earlier film editing - will greatly expand the use of film material in the coming years. Agencies and archives that can offer their holdings online via the Internet are successful in this market. The providers pursue different license models. Similar to the image market, a distinction is made here mainly between royalty-free (also referred to as “rights managed” or “RM”) and license free (also referred to as “royalty free” or “RF”) film material. For example, Framepool and Getty Images offer licensed footage where the license fee depends on the scope and type of use. There are also providers such as iStockphoto and pond5 in the USA and, among others, new European providers such as ClipDealer , Clipcanvas and Footage-Online , which offer royalty-free material. In contrast to licensed film material, a one-time license fee is charged here, and the material can then usually be used for an unlimited time and place and in various media or industries.

Particularly in demand are recordings of high artistic value, of high motif originality, and recordings that require a high level of technical effort to realize them, such as aerial photos, recordings from remote regions of the world and the wide range of historical archives, starting from the days of the Lumière brothers .

Today there are cameramen who only produce for the film material market and can live well on the license income from the sales of archival material if they are represented by an agency that is valued in the market, like a photographer.

Found footage

Found footage describes a special genre of primarily experimental films that consist entirely or partially of film material that was not shot by the filmmaker himself. There are different ways of dealing with the material, its composition and the way it is appropriated and reinterpreted. "Found footage" means "found material", so the found footage film is created with external film material from archive recordings, amateur films, corporate films as well as documentary and feature film images.


  • Norman Hollyn: The Film Editing Room Handbook: How to Tame the Chaos of the Editing Room. Peachpit Press, Berkeley, CA 2010, ISBN 978-0-321-67952-9 , p. 86.
  • Cathrine Kellison, Dustin Morrow, Kacey Morrow: Producing for TV and New Media: A Real-World Approach for Producers. Focal Press, Burlington, Mass. 2013, ISBN 978-0-240-81897-9 .
  • Robert Kneschke: Stock Photography : Earning money with your own photos. 3rd, updated and exp. Edition, publishing group Hüthig, Jehle, Rehm, Heidelberg / Hamburg [u. a.] 2012, ISBN 978-3-8266-9201-7 , p. 209.