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Best stock videos for YouTube of 2024

Best stock videos for YouTube

Thanks to YouTube stock footage, it’s easier than ever to edit videos for this platform on a budget. There are even free stock videos for YouTube, such as Pexels. The best stock videos for YouTube, though, come with legal coverage to protect you and your client.

The most popular options include stock footage subscriptions, which are also the most affordable. This makes it much easier for editors to offer competitive video editing prices and get more work done quickly. Most of the stock footage for YouTube that made our list are all-in-one solutions that include videos, music, SFX, video templates, fonts, and more for one monthly fee.

1. Envato Elements

The best stock footage for YouTube

Envato Elements logo on green background

Videos: 4.6 million / Other assets: 515,000 templates, 168,000 music, 652,000 SFX / Cost: $16.50–$39.00/mo

Envato Elements stands out as a top choice for creative folks looking to add flair to their YouTube videos. With a monthly fee starting at $16.50 when you pick the yearly plan, you get endless access to tons of digital goods. We’re talking millions of images and videos, plus cool extras like fonts and templates. This deal is a winner for designers, video makers, coders, or anyone into making stuff and needing fresh materials often.

The big perk here is the commercial license Envato Elements gives you. It comes with protection covering up to six months of what you’ve paid. That means you can use the same items over and over in different projects, and it’s all good. Sure, Envato might not have as many photos or videos as a place like Shutterstock, but it’s loaded with other useful things like website themes, mockups, and sound effects.

But it’s not all perfect at Envato Elements. Sometimes finding what you need can be tricky—the search can be hit or miss. Also, if you need lots of different music tracks, this might not be your best bet.

If you need more photos and videos or different license terms, Shutterstock could be a better fit. Or, if you only need a few downloads now and then, check out Envato Market. While you can’t get a free trial for a week anymore, Envato Elements does offer 12 free goodies every month to people with free accounts, so you can still get a peek at what they have.

2. Artlist

Artlist logo on yellow background

Artlist emerges as an attractive choice for those in search of high-quality stock videos, music, and sound effects without breaking the bank. At a starting price of $29.99 per month, you unlock unlimited downloads from a collection of 180,000 assets. While this library might seem smaller compared to some competitors, the platform does provide video footage of up to a stunning 8K resolution.

One of Artlist’s standout features is its simple royalty-free licensing structure, which grants users commercial use rights. However, a point to note is the absence of any indemnity protection. The pricing structure is also straightforward: the basic music and sound effects plan come at $9.99/month, while the Video and Max plans will set you back $29.99 and $39.99/month, respectively. All plans, however, require an annual commitment.

Navigating through the platform is made more intuitive with an AI-powered search function, which delves deeper into concepts and contexts rather than just keywords, proving invaluable for sparking inspiration. But while the platform offers a slew of assets, it doesn’t quite measure up in terms of advanced video editing features. This makes it a better fit for beginner to intermediate video editors rather than professionals.

3. Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock logo blue background

Adobe Stock is a prime choice for YouTube editors looking to enhance their video projects with superior visuals and graphics. If you’re familiar with Adobe’s ecosystem, you’ll love how Adobe Stock integrates beautifully with Creative Cloud applications. This means if you’re already using Premiere Pro or After Effects for editing, sourcing and testing out stock footage or visuals becomes a breeze.

Boasting a rich library of over 280 million assets, Adobe Stock offers a plethora of content, including videos, photos, vectors, and even 3D models, perfect for elevating your YouTube content. The pricing is flexible, starting at $29.99/month, but there’s also a pay-as-you-go option. To sweeten the deal, they offer a 30-day free trial with 10-40 free images and a generous selection of 750,000 free assets that are always up for grabs.

For YouTube editors concerned about copyright strikes, Adobe Stock has you covered. They offer robust licensing, from Royalty-free Standards to Enhanced and Extended licenses. Plus, the $10,000 legal protection provides an extra layer of security.

However, keep in mind that while the video and photo quality is top-notch, some of Adobe Stock’s premium assets can weigh heavy on the wallet. And, if you’re planning to source music, the selection might not be as vast as some other platforms. Customer service has had mixed reviews, so that’s something to be aware of.

4. Motion Array

Motion Array logo on a purple background

Motion Array packs a decent punch for content creators, especially if you’re in the market for specific assets that are hard to find elsewhere. With a starting price of $29.99 per month or $19.99 per month on an annual plan, you gain access to a library featuring 90,000 stock videos, 100,000 music tracks, 100,000 sound effects, and 60,000 video templates. Team plans are also on offer, adding flexibility for collaborative projects.

One of the highlights is the royalty-free license that not only allows unlimited use but also retains your rights even after you’ve canceled your subscription. That’s a significant win for creators concerned about the longevity of their projects. Additionally, Motion Array offers handy plugins for major editing software like Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Final Cut Pro, helping to streamline your workflow.

However, it’s worth noting that Motion Array has a smaller content library compared to powerhouses like Envato Elements. Furthermore, some users might find the interface not as intuitive as one would hope. These limitations may not be deal-breakers but do make Motion Array a good, yet not excellent, value for the price.

If you’re seeking a platform that’s rich in variety and cost-effective, Envato Elements stands out as a top alternative, offering over 8 million assets at a lower monthly cost. In summary, Motion Array is better suited for those who require specific assets they can’t find elsewhere. For those craving maximum variety without emptying their wallets, however, cheaper competitors might be a better fit.

Stock footage for YouTube: Buying guide

What are stock videos?

Stock videos are pre-recorded video clips that can be used in a variety of projects, including YouTube videos, websites, and presentations. They are a valuable resource for creators because they can save time and money, and they can also help to improve the quality of videos.

Stock videos are typically created by professional videographers and photographers, and they are available for purchase or licensing from a variety of websites. The cost of stock videos varies depending on the length and quality of the video, as well as the licensing agreement.

Why are stock videos valuable for YouTube creators?

Stock videos are valuable for YouTube creators for a number of reasons:

  • Save time and money: Creating high-quality video footage can be time-consuming and expensive. Stock videos provide a ready-made solution that can save you both time and money.
  • Improve the quality of your videos: Stock videos can help to improve the quality of your YouTube videos by adding professional-looking visuals and enhancing the overall production value.
  • Access to a wide variety of footage: Stock video libraries offer a wide variety of footage to choose from, including scenes, backgrounds, music, and sound effects. This gives you the flexibility to create videos that are visually appealing and engaging.

How can stock videos be used to enhance YouTube videos?

Stock videos can be used to enhance YouTube videos in a number of ways, including:

  • Adding b-roll footage: B-roll footage is supplemental footage that is used to cut away from the main action of a video. Stock videos can provide a variety of b-roll footage that can be used to make your videos more visually interesting and engaging.
  • Creating intros and outros: Intros and outros are the opening and closing credits of a video. Stock videos can be used to create professional-looking intros and outros that will make your videos stand out.
  • Adding visual effects: Stock videos can be used to add visual effects to your videos, such as transitions, overlays, and graphics. This can help to make your videos more visually appealing and engaging.

How do I find the right stock videos for my YouTube videos?

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing stock videos for your YouTube videos:

  • Relevance: Make sure the stock videos you choose are relevant to the topic of your video. For example, if you are making a video about cooking, you will want to choose stock videos that feature food and cooking equipment.
  • Quality: Choose high-quality stock videos that are professionally produced. Look for videos that are well-lit, well-shot, and well-edited.
  • Licensing: Make sure the stock videos you choose are licensed for YouTube use. Most stock videos are available under a royalty-free license, which means that you can use them as many times as you like without having to pay royalties to the copyright holder. However, some stock videos are available under a rights-managed license, which means that you will need to pay a fee each time you use the stock video.
  • Cost: Stock videos can range in price from free to several hundred dollars. Consider your budget when choosing stock videos.

How to license stock videos for YouTube

There are two main types of licenses for stock videos: royalty-free and rights-managed.

  • Royalty-free licenses allow you to use the stock video as many times as you like, without having to pay royalties to the copyright holder. However, you may still be required to give credit to the copyright holder in the description of your video.
  • Rights-managed licenses are more restrictive than royalty-free licenses. With a rights-managed license, you will need to pay a fee each time you use the stock video. The fee will typically depend on how you are using the stock video, such as whether you are using it for commercial or non-commercial purposes.

How do I use stock videos in my YouTube videos?

Step 1: Choose the right stock videos

The first step in using stock videos in your YouTube videos is to choose the right ones. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making your selections:

  • Relevance: Make sure the stock videos you choose are relevant to the topic of your video. For example, if you are making a video about cooking, you will want to choose stock videos that feature food and cooking equipment.
  • Quality: Choose high-quality stock videos that are professionally produced. Look for videos that are well-lit, well-shot, and well-edited.
  • Licensing: Make sure the stock videos you choose are licensed for YouTube use. Most stock videos are available under a royalty-free license, which means that you can use them as many times as you like without having to pay royalties to the copyright holder. However, some stock videos are available under a rights-managed license, which means that you will need to pay a fee each time you use the stock video.
  • Cost: Stock videos can range in price from free to several hundred dollars. Consider your budget when choosing stock videos.

Step 2: Download and Import Stock Videos

Once you have chosen the stock videos you want to use, you will need to download them and import them into your video editing software. The specific steps for doing this will vary depending on the software you are using. However, the general process is as follows:

  1. Download the stock video files to your computer.
  2. Open your video editing software.
  3. Import the stock video files into your project.

Step 3: Edit and Enhance Stock Videos

Once you have imported the stock videos into your project, you can edit and enhance them as needed. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Trim the stock videos: If the stock videos are too long, you can trim them down to the desired length.
  • Add transitions: Transitions can help to smooth out the flow of your video.
  • Add text: You can add text to your stock videos to make them more informative or engaging.
  • Add visual effects: Visual effects can help to add interest and excitement to your videos.

Step 4: Use Stock Videos Sparingly

It is important to use stock videos sparingly in your YouTube videos. Too many stock videos can make your videos look unprofessional. Use stock videos to supplement your own footage, not to replace it.

Step 5: Make Sure the Stock Videos Match the Style of Your Videos

Choose stock videos that have a similar style and tone to your own footage. This will help to create a cohesive and professional-looking video.

Step 6: Credit the Stock Video Provider

It is important to credit the stock video provider in the description of your YouTube video. This will help to avoid copyright infringement.

Additional Tips for Using Stock Videos in YouTube Videos

  • Use stock videos to enhance your videos, not to replace your storytelling.
  • Use a variety of stock videos, including b-roll footage, intros, outros, and visual effects.
  • Make sure the stock videos are compatible with your editing software and have the necessary resolution and frame rate for your project.
  • Follow the licensing terms and conditions of the stock videos you use.
  • Give credit to the stock video provider in the description of your YouTube video.


Can I use stock videos on YouTube?

Absolutely, you can use stock videos on YouTube, but there are caveats. Make sure to adhere to the licensing terms provided by the stock video platform. Most platforms offer royalty-free licenses, which are ideal for YouTube. However, some may require attribution or have restrictions on commercial use. Neglecting these terms could lead to copyright issues. If you’re serious about YouTube content, investing in premium stock footage might be a smart move.

Where do YouTubers get their video clips

YouTubers get their video clips from a mix of sources to create compelling content. Popular options include stock footage libraries like Envato Elements or industry-standards like Adobe Stock and their own original filming. Some also use screen recording software for tutorials or gaming content. Regardless of the source, it’s essential to pay attention to licensing and attribution to avoid copyright issues.

Can I use stock footage on YouTube?

Yes, you can. Royalty-free stock photos grant you the right to use them in videos intended to be played online. This includes YouTube and social media, as we just saw, but also pretty much any other online platform, like Vimeo or your website.

Where do YouTubers get free stock videos?

Pexels. Pexels began as a free photo site, but has since added a large library of free HD and 4K stock videos. With Pexels’ license, all photos and videos can be used for free, and without attribution (though giving credit to the videographer is certainly appreciated).

Where do YouTubers get clips from?

YouTubers get their video clips primarily through the internet. Some record them manually from a DVD/Blu-ray disc, but many find it quicker to find them online. Typically, clips are found on YouTube. When a YouTuber finds a movie clip on YouTube, they use a video downloader to download it as a file.Jan 11, 2022

Can I use Shutterstock videos on YouTube for free?

Absolutely. With a standard license you can use videos from Shutterstock in YouTube productions with less than 500,000 viewers. If you have or expect more than that audience size, the Shutterstock Enhanced license covers an unlimited number of viewers for YouTube content.

How do I avoid copyright on YouTube?

Only use content that you’ve created yourself. Another way to avoid copyright infringement and strikes is to only use your own content on YouTube. If you only use music and videos that you’ve created yourself, you won’t have to worry about copyright claims as you’ll be the copyright owner.

Daniel Long

Daniel Long

About Author

Daniel Long, as a writer, delves into the realm of emerging technologies and business solutions, with a particular emphasis on optimizing efficiency and fostering growth. He educational background includes a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of California, Irvine, and he furthered his knowledge by attaining an MBA from Chapman University. This combination of expertise allows him to offer valuable insights into the ever-evolving business landscape.

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