January, 2018 Stock Video Income Report and Review

Monthly review of sales, production, new footage listings, and general progress towards StockbyNumbers’ 2018 income goals – 800 Unique Clips Produced, 3500 New Items Across Portfolios, 300 hours of work, $23,750 Grossed.

 Income – $483

$483 is nothing to complain about, but not on track towards earning over $20,000 in 2018.

In total Stock by Numbers’ had 19 downloads, selling 14 unique clips. Return per download was $25.

The most encouraging news is that this was a +135% increase in sales year over year from the $205 made last January. If that pace continues, earnings in 2018 would reach around $16,000. Not bad, but will still need to balloon the portfolio to reach the 2018 goals.

Other encouraging news was that Pond5 came back to life and a few clips that had zero sales in the past were sold. Clips that sell once almost always sell again over several months in Stock by Numbers’ portfolio, so great news.

Read on below for clips sold, gear used, and other statistics and information from January:


In total, I only spent six hours on footage this month. Meaning I have 294 remaining. This obviously will not achieve the desired results.

On the positive side of the coin, this just goes to show how great it is that stock video keeps earning money over time. Still making almost $500 while doing almost no work is great.

The biggest takeaway from the first month was that I am going to have to allocate labor hours to stock footage more quickly at the start of the year. If I don’t front end the year, the footage won’t have enough time online to achieve the 2018 goals.

The other takeaway was that the blog has taken more time than I anticipated. I am going to scale back for that reason. Not that I have posted much yet anyways… But I’m going to cut out the weekly income reports in favor of monthly reports. Which should make up some room.


New Clips Created

January also saw no shooting. Shoot #1 planning is underway now. Considering that uploading 800 unique clips is the goal, I’ll need to conduct at least four shoots this year. If those 800 clips stand a chance of earning $10,000, I think they will need to be online in the next three months.

A lot of time is going to shift to production in February.

Uploads Accepted

While I was able to upload my library to Adobe Stock’s servers, I haven’t submitted yet.

I was only able to get nine clips submitted and accepted to Shutterstock and 12 clips on Pond5.

Again – will be picking up the pace in February.

Gear Used

RED Epic-X

RED Scarlet-X

Phantom 3 Pro

All of the clip sales above were shot several years ago with a RED Scarlet-X, RED Epic-X, or Phantom 2 Drone with a GoPro Hero 3+.

I think this might go to show that high dynamic range and good lighting in footage will have a long lifespan.

None of this gear is worth buying new in 2018, but used RED cameras are still worth considering for one main reason: The R3D codec. Other than the amazing data rates and workflow with R3D, the Black Magic Ursa Mini Pro 4.6K accomplishes the same quality of footage in a more well contained and affordable package.

Fortunately, while capturing this footage five years was fairly expensive, the best cameras available in 2018 are able to duplicate these results at a fraction of the cost and with much lighter and faster gear.

I have yet to do exhaustive tests, but just based on practice, I think the Black Magic Ursa Mini Pro 4.6K exceeds the dynamic range of the RED Scarlet-X and Epic-X.

Clips Sold

Two men kayaking across glassy water on Lake Tahoe in California Sierra Nevada Mountains during the summer slow motion tight telephoto shot 4K

Rock climber rappelling medium slow motion shot passing by tracking camera on crane in California Lovers Leap during an adventure race

Aerial: Patagonia camp site next to lake and mountains

Aerial: Mountain road through valley at sunrise with car pickup truck driving

Two men racing in enduro race in slow motion steady cam tracking

 Two men hiking in silhouette past rising sun slow motion

Aerial: Whitewater Rapids River In Patagonia


The only expenses of the month were Adobe Creative Cloud and a few small camera parts. Totaling around $60.

Fees and Dues

Adobe Creative Cloud – $50

Items Purchased

SmallRig Quick Release Nato Rail 7cm – $11

Best Day

January, 2nd – $101

Updates on Tests

Pond5 came back to life a few days after I started the “how much should you charge on Pond5” test. At the moment this is just anecdotal, but it is great to have two sales for a total of $79 after having gone silent for a few months.

Will keep updating as the test progresses.


Overall January was an incredible month considering that it more than doubled last year’s income in January.

The next few months will be even more exciting as Stock Performer is already projecting February at over $1,000 as there have already been four downloads in February.

January also saw the launch of the Pond5 pricing test, as mentioned above. While the first few sales are encouraging, it will take at least another six months to glean any meaningful data from the test.

The worst news is that Videoblocks has remained silent.

Posted by L.B. - Stock by Numbers

Team of filmmakers and videographers who started StockbyNumbers.com to provide and source helpful information for stock footage producers. Looking to increase stock footage sales for the whole contributor community, greater passive income, and more free-time to focus on even greater creative pursuits!

  1. Thank you very much for sharing this. Your site is pure gold.
    I started about mid 2016 and still in the ‘slow start’ mode, but with a great desire to grow.


    1. Hi Emilio – I’m so glad you’ve found it helpful. Please let me know if there is anything in particular you are curious about knowing. Thanks for reading!


      1. Now that you mention it, yes… How do you approach people and ask to sign a release? Do you do some kind of negotiation on the royalties?
        See, despite some years of experience in filmmaking with and without people (and also a good deal of motion design and animation), I don’t find a comfortable way of convincing someone to lend me their faces for free.

        That makes me focus on detail shots, objects, or working on animation or AE templates, instead of filming people.


        1. Hey Emilio – I’ll write at more length on how I go about this soon. Usually I pay actors or models, as I think it takes less time and earns more money in the long-run.

          Stay tuned though, getting more thoughts on paper about this now.


  2. This is hugely helpful, thanks very much for publishing this information.


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