Advice on making your own Music videos with Stock video clips – part 1

 Part 1 of 2

(note: I will update this post some more soon)

Nocturne no.1 screenshot 1

Nocturne no.1 screenshot 2

If you have your own music and would love to have real video footage for it,
then the advice in this blog post is for you!


If you are more into shooting videos yourself, you could read Dirk Radloff’s excellent 2-part blog posts on DIY Music video creations:


But if you’re like me, and rather would have a bunch of high quality footage that you hand picked for a track, then the editing can be joyful, and you’d know you got nice chances of making the end results look good.

I have made my first one from stock video clips myself!
Happy with the results overall and had very nice nods from musicians/composing friends! And a few asked for a some directions and where I got the footage from.

Recommending watching it before you read more about my advice on making music videos below.
That way you’d be less biased with your initial perception for certain details. (I will explain further on)

Hopefully it can inspire you!
Nocturne no.1 screenshot 3

I had picked a bunch of full HD videos (1080p), with beautiful nature scenes, then exclusively tailored the clip editing for the evolving dynamic phrases and context in my piano composition.

(note: I’m testing monetizing for the clip, but opted out of the longest ads)

I did a few video editing tryouts a few years ago, but since it was my first attempt with stock video clips, I’d say you can do similar things too, if you have/get sufficient:

  • Video editing software and basic skills in editing with it
  • enough High quality Video clips to choose from
  • emotional and dynamic original music
  • Knowledge and skills in visual media analyzing.
  • Knowledge and skills in analyzing music

I’d say all five aspects are important for your best results, although you probably can get good results even without having assessed your own visual media analyzing skills.

If you have the interest in it since before, then chances are that you have good abilities already.
You don’t need a master degree to have the talent, which of course also goes for analyzing music and creating emotional compositions, (even though I believe educated knowledge and skills often do help)


Stock video footage mentions

There are a few websites that share Creative Common clips for collabs, such as Vimeo (not all of the clips), but I went with a Videoblocks subscription for this and some upcoming ones.

There are pros and cons about using a single service as a source however, even if the clips are high quality.
(more about that in next blog part)

To begin with, it’s time consuming to select video clips and also to download them one at the time. (Make damned sure you only download one at the time if you use Videoblocks, or you can run into trouble with your account.)
But once I had hand picked, downloaded and also categorized the video clips meticulously on my hard drive, it was quite easy to put it together. (You could also )

I suppose it’s easier with music you know like your back pocket because you wrote it yourself… Although creating your own footage has some clear advantages as well.

The music videos is something I really have missed having, since much of my music is related to stories, visuals and other contexts in the first place.


Categorize your downloaded clips!

This is done for the similar reason to why sections in a library are organized the way they are. Imagine trying to find a specific book fast, if all the books where simply thrown into the corners…

This is why it’s important to create custom folders on the hard drive and with sub folders as well, to reduce the search for clips later on. Or you could make sub folders later, and use large thumbnails to decide where to put each clip.
Normally, I prefer to use the detailed list view in Windows Explorer, so this would be an exception for me.

About obtaining s large number of video clips, it’s important to either categorize on the website interface, or doing it manually on your own hard drive.

The latter is how I wanted it. Any given moment, I want to have quick access to the files, e.g. if getting a sudden urge to just direct away without any further time consuming delays.
It’s time consuming enough to edit the video, if paying attention to details like timing, transitions, text design etc.

For categorizing, you should make up your own mind what works best for you.
For me, I use different kinds of video contexts, like different situations in the clips to decide what category I’d put each clip in.

Also, some clips would fit into multiple categories.
For instance, what if you have downloaded a clip with some people in a beautiful sunset, playing beach volleyball?

(movie reference riddle: or “M for Miscellaneous?”
That movie scene highly correlating with this advice, so what’s it gonna be, “Marv”?
That nick name hint was spelled correctly, thank you very much.
So guess the movie? Late 80’s action film…

It can be inspiring to think in terms of film scripts and the visual aspects in films, even for composing inspiration sometimes, I think.)

Back to topic – In general, whenever starting a new video project, you’d want to find what you are looking for FAST, (just like scene in the movie riddle above.)

So for choosing where to save video files, I look at the strongest feature or most likely usage, and put it there, then put a shortcut link to other secondary choices of folders, where it also would fit.
Using shortcuts in multiple secondary folders also saves time later, or you’d risk having trouble finding what you look for. Shortcut links saves a lot of space, compared to copying files over and over again, so if doing this, I recommend using the Windows Explorer file viewer, or whatever file viewer you use on your device.
Either that, or “view all file formats” if available in your video editor software, or the shortcuts wouldn’t show up.
It works if you use the File explorer and open the shortcut files. Then it takes you right to the original folder for the video clips. Now you can easily select those clips to be imported into the video editor.
I have just about everything on my hard drives categorized like that, by the way.

Whenever you have lots of files, you truly find them quicker this way.
Also, don’t download big files of any kind directly to your desktop folder!
It would just takes up unnecessary space on your OS hard drive (which often is a small SSD disk)
Your desktop space is for shortcut links to programs, files and some functions! Not for the actual files!


Decide what you’re looking for, and choose search words wisely!

Videoblocks has many useable video clips, and Video effect templates like After Effects files.
It’s fairly easy to search for clips that you look for.

The search functions and it’s categorizes can always be better, but works for the most time. Finding all clips that would be of interest or even all clips within a certain category can be time consuming though.

It depends on how the clips are titled, and what tag words they use.
For instance, while looking for Nature footage, you could miss out on some, who might be named/tagged being from a certain country or area, etc.

Enough for today, but there is more specific advice coming up! (aiming for end of August)

Included in next blog part:

  • The ever present risk of popular clips being overused, and some workaround advice
  • Hand picked video clips correlating with the music and with each other
  • Important advice on Frame rates
  • editing timing and transition
  • Text editing for the video

    Thank you for reading! Let me know your thoughts on this.

    Link to Part 2/2

2 thoughts on “Advice on making your own Music videos with Stock video clips – part 1

  1. Interesting read, Fredrik, and thank you for linking to my blog. I also inspected some sites with stock videos, but was way too expensive for me. I have not checked your recommended “videoblocks”, but will do it

    • Thank you, Dirk!
      While Videoblocks might be less expensive than some other stock video sites, there still are pros and cons with it.
      So I didn’t intend to recommend the site specifically.
      More info, like the pros and cons with using a single website as the video source will be included in part 2!

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