Pond5 adds After Effects Projects to product sales

Pond5 made a big announcement on Wednesday that they are now selling After Effects projects.  This is after adding Audio files (music and sound effects) earlier in the year.  Pond5 takes another huge leap towards being a “one-stop shop” for Video production.

The process is fairly simple, you just upload a ZIP file with your AE project, a video preview and any additional assets required.  A few AE projects are already online with a price between $50 and $100 each.

RevoStock already sells After Effects projects and has for some time.  In fact, I think it’s probably a bigger part of their business than footage. However, they require a ridiculous quiz process in order to get approved for selling AE projects.  Which is the major reason why I don’t sell AE projects or Audio files on RevoStock (I have one of the Top 10 selling music files on Pond5).

If you’re not already selling AE project files and you’re thinking about it, one thing to consider is creating them in the oldest version of After Effects that you own.  Newer versions of AE can open older projects, but older versions cannot open project files from newer versions.  So contributing CS4 ot CS5 projects will limit your buyers since a lot of buyers will use older versions.  Pond5 supports Version 6 as the oldest you can upload.  Sadly, AE does not allow you to export project files in older formats even if your project does not use any new features.

Another pitfall to avoid is using expensive plugins in your projects.  If you are using TrapCode particular or some other commercial plugin, render out the layer and include the pre-rendered video.  Remember, many buyers probably don’t have all the plugins you do.

In the Mac world, Final Cut and Final Cut Pro are quickly catching up with After Effects in market share.  RevoStock realized this and started offering Final Cut projects recently.  Hopefully, after the bugs are worked out for AE, Pond5 will consider adding FC support as well.  I also think it would be a mistake if they added Stock Photography to their plate.  I know as a producer I use stock photos in a lot of my video projects, but the Stock Photo world is a completely different animal and I don’t think Pond5 would fare well in that world.  The only exception I could see would be support for still video assets like 3D still renders, matte paintings, etc…

The only other product I could see them adding in the future is 3D models, but that’s a lot like Stock Photography in that it’s a whole other world.  Personally, I’d love to sell my 3D models and projects on Pond5, but there are too many 3D formats out there to support and do it right.

September 2010 Sales Report

With the loss of iSyndica, doing these monthly sales reports is gonna be a major pain-in-the-ass.  But I vow to keep on keeping on.

Also, a little bit of great news… For the month of September this site averaged 244 unique visitors a day dropping as low as 82 but with well over 1000 when I make new posts.  So I’d like to thank everyone for stopping by and I’ve got a lot more info coming… Plus I’m working out a way to give back to all of you (some kind of contest, I’m still working out the details).

September 2010
Agency Clips Sold Portfolio Size
Pond5 66 (+0) 1105 (+6)
RevoStock 4 (-7) 321 (+0)
ShutterStock 4 (-5) 148 (+0)
ClipCanvas 1 (-1) 231 (+4)
MediaStock 0 (+0) 78 (+0)
Can Stock 0 (-1) 46 (+0)
iStock 0 (+0) 17 (+0)
Fotolia 0 4 (+0)

September was a pretty busy month for me with other projects.  I signed on as Director of Photography on a web based TV show and I got heavily involved with several other projects outside of stock.  I did manage to shoot about 100 new clips and render out about 20 new animations, but I haven’t had time to upload them.  With iSyndica shutting down on the 10th of October, I’m taking a few days off of my projects to get the clips edited and syndicated out everywhere before the 10th.

iStock announced a major cut in pay for most of their artists in September, I’m sure  you’ve heard of it.  As a result a lot of exclusives at iStock have dropped their exclusivity and started uploading to Pond5, Revo and other sites.  The result is MUCH slower review times on most of the major sites.  Since the pay cut doesn’t take effect until January of 2011, a lot of iStock exclusives are wait until then to drop their exclusivity, so expect review times to get even worse in January/February.

Pond5’s wait time is up to 3 weeks right now and they’re not reviewing clips every day (or even every business day), so it could get worse before it gets better.  Also, it appears that they read my comment about their lack of curating and decided to ‘punish me’ by removing all of my clips from their front page bin.  It’s probably hurt my sales as things seem a but down from last year and from reports by most of my friends that their sales for the first week of October are gangbusters.  I’m not happy about the lack of sales, but the lack of them curating is going to hurt even worse down the road.  The more clips they approve that are simply copies of what’s already online is going to hurt buyers as it becomes impossible to find exactly what they need through a sea of copycats.  Especially with all of the keyword spam going on there.  At least ShutterStock, iStock and other sites actually curate the keywords too.

Let me unequivocally state that I LOVE POND5.  It’s my favorite site, not just because it’s my highest source of revenue, but because they still treat artists as partners, not servants. at the end of the day, they prove that you can have a fair relationship with artist and everyone can make money.  My complaints about them are simply because I love them and I want to see them improve.  It’s the same reason I complain about my step-daughter chewing with her mouth open, or not saying please.  Pointing those things out so that she can fix the problem makes her a better person.  Pointing out Pond5’s faults so they can fix them makes it a better site.  Sadly, it doesn’t seem like they see it that way…

RevoStock was super dead last month, not just for me but for a number of my friends as well.  Maybe it was because I didn’t upload anything… But I doubt it because all of my best selling clips on Pond5 are also on Revo.  They just don’t appear to have a good base of buyers.  The good news is they enacted a new method for sharing revenue between artists.  So, two or more artists can collaborate on a project, then one artist uploads the project and sets up sharing with the other artist(s).  That is an AWESOME new feature and if they would promote it more, I think they’ll see a major upshift in quality submissions.  I created a clip using some footage loaned to me by a friend and I’m about to upload and test out this great new feature.

It’s definitely the beginning of Fall here in Kansas.  The pollen count is going nuts from all the dead foliage, the temperatures are near perfect during the day and the skies are mostly blue and clear.  Perfect for getting outside with my camera and shooting some footage.  I just need to make time for editing and submitting, otherwise it’s pretty useless just sitting on my memory cards and/or hard drives.

R.I.P. iSyndica, you will be missed

It is a with a heavy heart that I read the news today about the passing of the much beloved iSyndica. A tireless worker, iSyndica would spread my great cheer to many MicroStock sites without prejudice and generally with much expediency. As our relationship grew, iSyndica did more and more for me… Adding meta-data to my video and providing me with statistical feedback that helped fuel my passion for photography and video.

And I am not the only one who will miss you.  Indeed I have read numerous blogs and tweets this sad day about your premature demise.  You were indeed loved by many.  While your body may decompose, your memory and spirit will live on.  Like many before, you were simply before your time.

It is so difficult to hold back the tears… Thinking about all of those countless hours you saved me…  And now thinking about all of the time I will have to spend doing my own distribution feels me with dread and loathing, for you had spoiled me to the core.

I will not forget you, my dear iSyndica… and I will not let others forget you.  You brought me so much joy and happiness and it is those memories I will cherish for all time.

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, my sweet iSyndica.

More to come…

These past two months I have been very busy with a number of projects.  I worked as an Associate Producer and Director of Photography on an small Indie Film. I took a few consulting gigs as a photographer. I wrote a script for a documentary I plan to start shooting in October.  And I signed on as an Associate Producer and Director of Photography on a local TV/Web show.

As a consequence of all that, I have purchased a lot of support equipment for my two cameras.  A shotgun microphone, an external audio recorder, lav mics, lighting equipment, and more. So over the next month I’ll be posting blogs on the equipment I’ve purchased and how I’m using most of it to shoot stock photography as well as the video projects they were purchased for.

When I need something for a project the very first place I look to see what might be useful and actually work is a web site called CheesyCam.  CheesyCam is dedicated to cheap film making. It occasionally has posts about DIY projects for building useful equipment (Track Dolly, Shoulder Mount, DSLR Cage, etc..).  But they also find a lot of really good deals on cheap equipment (usually directly from Chinese distributors on eBay).  Best of all, most of the reviews posted include accompanied video which demonstrates the equipment being reviewed. I highly recommend the site.

In the meantime, here is a short film I worked on for the 48 Hour Film Festival in Kansas City over the summer.

[vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/14046343[/vimeo]

August 2010 Sales Report

The first half of August was a continuation of the summer slump with more sales woes.  Things did start to pick up some mid-month and the final week was a very good week bringing August sales up to respectable levels.

August 2010
Agency Clips Sold Portfolio Size
Pond5 66 (+4) 1099 (+52)
RevoStock 11 (+4) 321 (+22)
ShutterStock 9 (+3) 148 (+9)
ClipCanvas 2 (+2) 227 (+18)
MediaStock 0 (+0) 78 (+0)
Can Stock 1 (+0) 46 (+2)
iStock 0 (+0) 17 (+1)
Fotolia 0 4 (+0)

Believe it or not, RevoStock went toe to toe with Pond5 for the first 11 days of August.  Not that Revo sales were so spectacular, Pond5 sales were just that bad.  It also helped that I sold my first bundle on Revo.  I also had some rejections that I thought were out of line.  A friend of mine posted this quote “Yes, for a site that sells the least RevoStock has the biggest rejection rate.”  They just don’t seem to understand the overall footage market.  It’s nice that they curate submissions better than Pond5, but I they have also rejected a number of clips that sell very well on Pond5.  When they reject clips for suspect reasons, it just kills any motivation to spend time uploading there. They just don’t seem to be serious about selling footage.

As I mentioned previously, Pond5 started out extremely slow and then came roaring back with lots of sales at the end of the month to make it a respectable sales month over all.  There have been a LOT of  new people uploading clips to Pond5 lately which has caused very long delays in getting stuff into the uploads page to be submitted.  To make matters worse, there are dozens of new artists who are literally submitting hundreds of animations rendered from tutorials, and free animation demos like particleIllusion.  And the Pond5 curator is just letting everything through.  It doesn’t appear that there is any actual “curating”  going on there.  The file count keeps getting higher at Pond5, but the quality of clips is going down and I imagine at some point buyers will get frustrated with too much spam and poor quality clips.  Pond5 needs to do something to curb the number of new artists and they need to actually spend some time looking at each submission for quality and redundancy issues.  It would really be great if they started looking at keyword spam too.