While the market for royalty-free images is very public and diverse, the number of agencies focusing on footage/video is rather limited. With MotionElements, an Asian based market player is offering a modern browsing experience and a wide variety of material ranging from video clips through 3D footage and templates for After Effects and Apple Motion.
MotionElements Base Facts
The Singapore based agency MotionElements started in 2008 mainly with stock animations and focuses on its strong knowledge of the video post-production market. Over time, they extended their offer to now include real-life videos, staged scenes, design elements usable as backgrounds, animated clips as well as video effects for Adobe AfterEffects and Apple FCP Motion.
Based in Asia, they offer site navigation in Japanese, Chinese and Korean besides the global English version. In addition, they started adding a German-language version recently to extend their reach to the core European market.
The pricing of the clips varies: Some clips and effects can be licensed at low prices of $5 or $10 for the full HD version while some clips can reach prices of $150 or $200 as MotionElements allows its contributors to set their own pricing, which is fair considering that some clips are a lot more expensive to produce than others such as aerial clips. That being said, the majority of the clips are competitive, albeit sensibly, priced between $30 and $80. This effectively makes higher quality clips more rewarding to produce as Artists from ME are paid at least 50% of the royalties.
Their payment options include the major credit cards and PayPal. And besides buying videos one by one, MotionElements also offers to buy credit packages of 300 or more credits with a discount on the bulk payment.
Choice of video formats and sizes for buyers
If you are used to buying images, you will know that there is a variety of square images to portraits in the most common 3:2 format to large panorama images. The variety in the video is not as big but needs some consideration when shopping for footage for the first time.
Today's most common format for video as well as screens is HD – the relations between the long and short side of the screen is 16:9. Though, already in HD, you will find two different versions: The full resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels is usually called “HD”, “Full HD” or “1080p”. For size considerations, it can be helpful to go for a reduced resolution in the same format: With 1280 x 720 pixels, the “HD 720” or “720p” format contains less than half of the pixels, so the file size is also considerably smaller. This format is most useful when the video is mostly sent out through wireless or mobile networks or on screens with limited capabilities.
However, below the HD formats, the traditional systems were split across continents: The NTSC system was developed for TV broadcasting in Northern America and still is being used also in Middle America and some Asian countries. The PAL system is most popular in Europe, large parts of Africa and Asia. Resolutions for both systems vary, so you have to choose carefully if you are licensing videos for one of those systems.
And on the high end, beyond HD new technologies allow for even larger video resolutions: The 4k format contains 4096 x 2304 pixels – this is four times more details compared to the Full HD format. Their uses are still pretty limited as new screens are only now becoming available. Also, the number of files available in these largest sizes is still very limited as affordable cameras producing these formats are coming out these days. But especially when thinking long term, it might be advisable to go for the largest possible resolution if possible.
Besides the native resolution and formats, MotionElements also offers an on-site conversion to all common file formats for customers during the download process. Also, all content comes with the convenience of a royalty-free license which includes commercial and advertorial uses as well as a perpetual usage license with a one-time payment.
What are After Effects / Apple Motion?
Besides the regular video cutting software (like Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas or Apple's FinalCut), there is a different set of software allowing users to apply effects to videos to generate higher impact. Adobe AfterEffects is one program in this category. If you have seen a corporate video presentation, you most likely know the results of using After Effects or Apple FinalCutPro Motion. Though, there is a wide range of potential uses for After Effects to extend the impact of videos to the audience. One of the current trends in the internet are Infographics, and video effects can be used to add dynamics and motion instead of a static image. Other uses include dynamic presentations or trailers.
At MotionElements you can also buy certain base effects that you can easily turn into your own corporate video with the right software. For example, you could license this template for a corporate video, then replace the containing videos and the text shown on screen. All of these elements are rather easy to use compared to working out how to transition elements or twist videos yourself.
These effects are very popular to combine multiple videos into a single final result and can also easily be used for commercials, documentary footage or summaries of sports events. After Effects and Apple Motion templates help the customers quickly achieve professional-looking results within a very short time frame, generating additional value and saving time and money when editing videos.
Our summary of MotionElements
The site design of MotionElements looks very fresh and modern. The navigation is easy, curated galleries help to find content quickly. Signing up and payment options allow for quick access to the content the customer requires.
The choice of content is rather limited at present, but if they can clearly communicate the marketplace benefits to their current and potential contributors, it would come as no surprise if the amount of their content grows exponentially. The pricing varies but mostly is very affordable and allows for huge savings compared to producing or editing your own videos. There is also the knowledge that at least 50% of the license fee will be paid to the artists providing the content, allowing for sustainable production.
All in all, we found to like the site. It might still take some time to grow into a video agency offering a wider choice of footage but we are confident, with rather high payouts to contributors and their current push to the Western markets, this will happen pretty quickly. Also, the long experience with the Asian markets allows contributors access to customers that might not be shopping for content at the “well known” agencies in the American and European part of the world.