Marketers, YouTube entrepreneurs, and social media communicators all have one secret in common. They know that video has an incredible power to tell stories, build emotion, and create connections with viewers. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth much, much more. In the mere space of just a few minutes, a company or communicator can reach out, capture a viewer’s attention, and motivate some type of desired behavior - to make a purchase, change a mind, or get involved with a cause.

With the digital advances, free stock video, and computer editing tools available today, even a marketer with a minimal budget can produce a video that looks good. The problem lies in making it look unique. If the video has been taken from a free stock video footage bank, it still needs to connect with the audience and make the company stand out from its competition.

Take a look at this example. All of these websites are using the same popular image of a girl from the stock footage:

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Using stock footage without adding any production values can run the risk of viewers recognizing it from other videos, and diminishing the information being presented. How many times have you seen the same great visuals taken from Unsplash or other free resources being used all over the place, from accounting to non-profit websites? And while there is no shame in using free stock pictures and videos, we assume all of us definitely want our content to look unique and represent the brand or company in the best light possible.

With that in mind, here are five ways to edit a video, so nobody will ever know that it was actually produced using stock footage:

1. Drive points home with text

Although most people retain more information if they can both see and hear what is being presented, many video producers neglect the importance of reinforcing the audio portion of their script with on-screen text. Repeating the most important voiceover points in text can refocus viewer attention back on the screen, and help direct the thought process in the desired fashion.

Sunny Lenarduzzi shows a great example of reinforcing the audio with text on video. Sunny accompanies all of her videos with text and captions to make sure all of her listeners follow along.

To be effective, the producer can’t just utilize basic fonts to slap something up on the screen. Think about size, color, boldness, and style. It also helps to combine fonts thoughtfully for added impact.

2. Get animated

PowerPoint presentations were boring until marketers started adding basic animation to their slides to introduce copy points or ease slide transitions. Although obtaining stock video free of charge is a great way to begin the production process, it can sometimes leave the editor with little room for creative expression.

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Animation can involve adding a creative character, making a whiteboard explanation, or building a simple visual explanation of a complex idea. Services like Animatron Studio allow producers to add animation over video to achieve a big boost in creativity, viewability, and effectiveness.

 

3. Be filtered

Although social filters are sometimes needed to keep people from standing out, the creative use of filters in the production process can have the opposite effect of actually making a video image pop off the screen and demand attention. Filters can make stock video feel crisp and clean, old and vintage, brighter or darker, or even more artistic. Think of all the photo images of people with cute dog noses and ears, and ramp that up about 1000% to get the impact that video filters can have.

 

4. Get in shapes

If variety is the spice of life, then shapes are the icing of life. They are the crowning touch, a highlight that makes something on the screen stand out to the viewer. Custom shapes, such as rectangles or stars can be added over the video, or the producer can also put text over the shape for an even more dramatic impact.

 

5. Effects are effective

Video viewers often have short attention spans, and it feels like they are getting shorter all the time. If video footage seems to drag on too long, the viewer’s thoughts begin to wander. Transitional effects like a fade in or fade out, wipe on or wipe off, or swirls can heighten the sense of action and bridge scenes more effectively than a basic cut.

 

Effects can also be used to underline particular emotions such as urgency, hope, or darkness. Instead of the traditional fade to black, a contrasting fade to white can smooth the transition from stock footage into a text or graphics screen.

Bonus tip: The most obvious, but most often overlooked, way to make free stock video footage look unique is to personalize it in some way. Add a company logo, website, photo or contact information.

The most obvious way to make free stock video footage look unique is to personalize it. Click To Tweet

If a video customer testimonial or an interview with a company representative is available, it can be spliced in with the stock footage to really give the piece a custom feel.

 

To be effective, producers, editors and marketers need to make videos that are view-worthy and share-worthy. Adding some basic production values can quickly ramp up the viewability and effectiveness of any video, especially one that is based on free stock video. Remember - just because it’s stock doesn’t mean you’re stuck!