Budget Films

Stock Footage

Rates and Reasons

Can you really afford to use cheap footage?

There is a proliferation of cheap stock footage available via Internet. Most of this is material that is ostensibly public domain in the United States and comes with no warranty with regard to use in other countries or possible 3rd party rights. We get lots of calls from desperate filmmakers who’ve availed themselves of bargain footage only to discover that broadcasters and distributors will not consider acquiring films or programming unless the stock footage material is cleared for worldwide use and the use is fully indemnified by a reputable footage library. Often we are able to match and replace footage that does not conform a distributor’s contractual requirements but sadly a number of terrific projects have been scrapped due to an over-reliance on footage from bargain sources.

Budget Films was started by my dad Al Drebin over fifty years ago. Whereas many of the discount libraries rely on tape elements from the Library of Congress, most of our holdings exist on film--which really makes a difference in the quality of the archival materials we license.

During the last Democratic Convention there was a tribute to the recently deceased Eugene McCarthy. The footage that accompanied the homage was apparently pulled by an inexperienced researcher. Instead of Gene McCarthy, the footage was of Joseph McCarthy, Gene’s polar opposite. Most of our research staff has been with us for over twenty years. We won’t make you look stupid and we know that Khrushchev never actually banged his shoe on the table at the United Nations so you don’t have to bother looking for it. My dad’s been gone for over seven years but he always said, “You get what you pay for,” and we all strive to make sure that’s always the case at Budget Films.

Budget Films has a commitment to documentary and independent projects and we try to discount license rates, particularly for projects that tickle our fancy, as much as we can.
If you are making a self-financed film, we highly recommend Kickstarter, the amazing funding incubator for creative projects. http://www.kickstarter.com/
We offer a 20% discount on all licenses for any project that is successfully funded at Kickstarter.

The rates listed are guidelines and we’re happy to work with customers on individual projects.
Internet (non-advertising context) and Student Films (with school documentation)
Low res Quicktime upload: $100 per clip of ten seconds or fewer (includes upload and one year Internet or film festival)
High res Quicktime upload: $150 per clip of ten seconds or fewer (includes upload and one year Internet of film festival)
(Ask us about rates for usage on longer clips)


10 second minimum per first five clips.  6th and subsequent clips charged at 5 second per cut minimum. Festival rates will apply for one year towards rights upgrade.

Festival only, single showing per festival: $25 per second
Festival and Internet: $35 per second


Ten second per cut minimum on first five clips. 6th and subsequent clips subject to five second per cut minimum.

Broadcast only, in perpetuity: $50 per second
Home entertainment only, in perpetuity: $50 per second
Theatrical only: $50 per second
All rights, all media, universal, in perpetuity: $75 per second or $60 per second for six or more clips.
Please give us a buzz for a quote if you need a different configuration of rights.

Advertising-Broadcast, Internet, Trailers

Advertising often requires additional clearance and rates are evaluated on a case by case basis depending on content, region and length of run.


High res Quicktime or Apple Pro Res upload, Beta SP, Mini-DV or DV-Cam NTSC: $200 minimum per order.
Inquire regarding other formats or PAL materials.
Most common formats for uploaded materials are ProRes, Uncompressed 8bit/10bit QT file, AVI, MPG, or MP4 Let us help you with any format or technical needs or questions.