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Contributor FAQs

General

What is stock footage?

Stock footage is video content produced for commercial and editorial licensing that is typically made available to customers by online distributors such as Dissolve.

Customers license stock footage for marketing and promotional videos, TV programs, advertising, and films as a convenient alternative to producing custom footage themselves.

What are footage clips?

Stock footage clips are the individual items of content that people license on Dissolve. Clips are short edits of about 5 to 20 seconds in length that capture a theme or moment. Customers use these clips to help tell their stories.

Examples of clips are an aerial shot of New York City, a couple walking on a beach at sunset, a person’s hands working on a pottery wheel, or an abstract graphic background.

What is a royalty-free (RF) license?

A royalty-free license allows a customer to download and use a clip in as many projects as they want, in perpetuity. However, customers do not own the clips they license — the contributor always retains the copyright of their content.

There are some restrictions for subject matter, but generally speaking, the purpose of royalty-free is to offer customers a simple license with the peace of mind that, when they license a clip, they can continue to use it in the future.

What is a rights-managed (RM) license?

Rights-managed clips are available for license per project, defined by a combination of medium (such as advertising, television show, or film), usage (such as theatrical, festival rights, online advertising), scale (region or target audience), and duration (e.g., one year or the life of the project).

Customers enter these preferences in a pricing calculator on any rights-managed product page. Each clip licensed may only be used once, within the project parameters the customer chose. If a customer wants to use the same clip for a different project or the same project with different parameters, they must license it again. 

Dissolve monitors usages to ensure clips are used in accordance with the prices calculated. As with royalty-free licenses, customers do not own the clips they license — the contributor always retains the copyright of their content.

Can I still use my footage even though I’m working with Dissolve?

Dissolve does not own your footage — you do. It's your footage. When you work with Dissolve, you are sub-licensing your footage to us, which allows us to license clips on your behalf through our site. You can still use your footage for your own projects — whether they’re personal, commercial, or portfolio in nature. And if you’re working with Dissolve on a non-exclusive basis, you may also license your footage through other stock websites.

How much money will I make with stock?

This is difficult to answer — the success of a stock collection depends on many factors: collection size, quality of the footage and its metadata, and how varied the collection is. Whether you’re shooting stock on a full-time or part-time basis also has an effect.

The stock world can be quite profitable for a producer. It takes time and work to build up a large and strong collection, but we’re here to ensure you have the best chance for success.

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Application Process

What is the difference between an exclusive and a non-exclusive agreement?

Exclusive contributors with Dissolve receive access to the following:

  • Marketing perks:
    • You’re part of an awesome brand that we promote with videos, catalogs, unique print pieces and anything else the crazy minds of the creative team come up with.
    • We tend to feature exclusive contributors on our site.
    • You’ll have the opportunity to have a Featured Contributor page and a Contributor Spotlight on our blog.
  • Additional perks:
    • Unlimited monthly file uploads
    • 10% discount when you license footage from dissolve.com
    • A preferred royalty rate
    • Faster upload times, front of the queue
  • Equipment loaner program (for Calgary and area):
    • Access to our equipment loaner program (including RED Epic, C100, 5D Mark III). Currently only available to contributors in Calgary and area or contributors interested in shooting in the area.
  • Insights:
    • Shoot list/customer requests
    • What’s selling/what’s popular
    • One-on-one assistance with everything from uploading to advice on building a strong stock collection every step of the way
  • Optional Dissolve Liftoff service:
    • Exclusive contributors can choose to send us unedited, raw footage. If it meets the criteria, we will do all the work to create stock-ready clips.
    • Approved clips will be professionally edited, processed, and color corrected. 
    • Our keyworders will also keyword and create all metadata for the clips.
    • For more information, see the Dissolve Liftoff FAQ.

Exclusivity with Dissolve is artist based, not product based, so exclusive contributors aren’t able to work with other stock agencies for the duration of their contract with Dissolve. Non-exclusive contributors may submit and license footage through multiple stock websites. They also are part of a wicked brand and have the opportunity to be featured in our marketing materials. However, as a non-exclusive contributor, you would not have access to the other perks listed above. The standard non-exclusive royalty rate is 30%.

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Technical

What kind of files should I submit?

File format
Our preferred file format is QuickTime .mov, but we also accept .mp4 and .mpg.

Codecs
We support unmodified camera-native codecs, Apple ProRes, DNxHD, DV100, H.264, MPEG2, Photo-Jpeg, Uncompressed, and XDCAM. Currently, REDCODE camera-native codec is not supported.

Resolution and frame rates
Our preferred resolutions are 4K and HD 1080p (1920x1080). We also accept 720p (1280x720) on special occasions, such as when footage on DSLR has been shot at 60fps for slow-motion purposes or for timelapse photography. 

Frame rates
Supported frame rates are 23.976, 25, 29.97, 60.

Duration and file size
Clips should be between 5 and 20 seconds in length, but we will accept longer clips. If the length adds value, include it. If the length brings with it variety in subject, angles, etc., we suggest you separate it into two or more clips.

Clips should have no edits. If you have a file with several clips edited together, please separate them as individual files.

Audio in video files
Clips should not include audio. On the very rare occasion where the audio adds value to the visuals or is ambient and does not include any copyrighted material (such as music and voices), include it.

Upload speed
Upload speed will be dependent on your internet service provider. To check your maximum upload, use a broadband speed test to check.

Should I color grade or leave the clips as log gamma?

You can definitely choose a distinct look for your footage, but keep in mind that the majority of customers buy stock footage to fill gaps in their projects, and many are not familiar with the process of color correction. If you submit clips that have been color corrected to an extreme level, they may not fit the overall look of the customer’s project. Conversely, if you leave clips too flat, they may only have a niche audience who knows how to color correct them.

We recommend that your clips fall somewhere in between these two extremes and that you do basic color correction.

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Submitting Footage

How can I ensure my submission is live as soon as possible?

To avoid unnecessary delays in the processing of your submission, follow these guidelines:

  • Keep all footage from the same shoot in the same batch. Don’t spread it across multiple batches.
  • Be comprehensive in describing the content of your footage, but don’t spam with your keywords — less is more. Please follow our metadata guidelines.
  • If your work includes recognizable people or properties, you must have the proper release form. To determine if a release is necessary, see Do I need releases? To find out how to submit the releases, see How do I submit model and property releases?
  • You don’t need to wait for one batch to be processed before submitting another. We process batches as we get them, so keep them coming!

What is an upload limit?

Upon acceptance, non-exclusive contributors are assigned a limit on the amount of content they may upload per month, ranging from 25 to an unlimited number of files. This limit is based on the quality and performance potential of your work. By default, exclusive contributors may upload an unlimited number of files.

You will be notified of your upload level in your acceptance email, and can always see your limit, and how many files you’ve uploaded in a month, on the contributor upload site.

How do I submit model and property releases?

If your work includes recognizable people or property, you must submit model and property releases. For more information, see Do I need releases? You should have received sample release forms when you signed up as a contributor. They are also included below, under “Attachments.” For a mobile solution, we recommend Easy Release. This app is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android and costs $9.99 for the base product.

On the upload site, after you’ve uploaded content files, you will move to the step where you can upload model and property releases for the current batch.

If your batch requires releases, once you’re done uploading the content and releases, you will move to the final step, metadata. There, either use the Metadata Editor or export the Excel spreadsheet and follow these steps:

  • Indicate whether there is a model and property release for each clip or photo in the batch by selecting “yes” or “no” in the Model Release and Property Release columns.
  • If you are using an exported Excel spreadsheet, in the Release Filenames column, enter a comma-delimited list of model and property release filenames, including extensions (PDF, JPG, or PNG) for each model or property. Then import it back to the upload site.
  • If you are using the Metadata Editor, choose the relevant releases from the Associated Releases dropdown, or simply start typing the release names.
  • We encourage you to name each release using this format and save it as a PDF, JPG, or PNG file:
    Model release: firstname_lastname_MR (where first and last names are the model’s)
    Property relase: nameofproperty_PR
  • Your batch is not completed until all necessary information is provided.

If this information isn’t filled out accurately and completely, the processing of your submission will be delayed, and could even be rejected.

Do I set the prices on my clips?

For exclusive collections, we work closely with contributors to find an appropriate price tier for their collections, considering overall quality and contributor goals.

For non-exclusive collections, we must match the lowest price found among other agencies that license your footage.

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Dissolve Liftoff™

What is Dissolve Liftoff?

Dissolve Liftoff is an optional service available only to exclusive contributors. Submit your footage, and if it meets program guidelines, we’ll process, edit, color correct, and create keywords and metadata for your clips. For free. Then you’re on your way to stock footage superstardom.

Dissolve Liftoff criteria:

  • Clips are in high-quality raw, unedited format.
  • You have the right to license the footage.
  • You have all required model and property releases and are the beneficial owner of the footage.
  • The footage meets Dissolve’s overall quality, style, and collection needs.

To enquire about Liftoff, please contact liftoff@dissolve.com.

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Metadata

What is metadata?

To find out more about writing great descriptions and keywords, visit our metadata guide.

Metadata is the information related to the content of each clip, such as its description and keywords. The data “about” your video clips helps people and systems process, administer, and, ultimately, discover the content you create.

Good metadata is critical to ensuring your clips are licensed correctly and easily found by customers. As such, concise, accurate descriptions, and straightforward keyword sets are crucial. Every customer should be able to find the right clip for them, and every clip should be able to be found by its customer.

Can I submit .csv files for my metadata?

We do not accept .csv metadata files. We provide an .xlsx template spreadsheet through the contributor upload site, which you may fill out before making submissions. Alternatively, the contributor site features a metadata editor that can be used to provide metadata for your clips.

How long should a clip description be?

A good starting point is 50 to 75 characters, but you may find you need more to cover all aspects of a good description. At the most, Tweet-length (140 characters) should be adequate to describe your clip. Less is more. Be direct and to the point, and refrain from including information that is irrelevant to the clip (e.g., your professional name).

How many keywords should I include for a clip?

Like a description length, there is no hard-and-fast rule for the ideal number of keywords. Aim to be as exhaustive as possible, but also specific. The less specific your keywords are, the poorer your clips will perform in search.

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Legal

Do I need releases?

Model releases are required for commercial use. If there are recognizable people in your clips and you want to license your clips for advertising, marketing, or promotional uses, they must sign a model release.

A model release is an agreement between the footage producer (you) and your models. By signing a release, the model grants permission for the stock footage in which they appear to be commercially licensed for any and all uses that are available to customers via the distributor’s end user agreement.

Editorial licenses (non-commercial, news) do not require a model release, but because editorial licenses represent only a portion of stock footage sales, we recommend that you always get people in your clips to sign a release to maximize your sales opportunities. This also ensures that you and your models have a mutual legal understanding of how the footage can be used.

Property releases are similar to model releases. They provide permission for recognizable property to appear in your stock footage.

For details on how to submit your releases, see How do I submit model and property releases?

What is an extended license?

An extended license provides usage rights in addition to those available in the standard Dissolve Content License Agreement. The customer pays $150 per clip or photo for the extended license.

Dissolve’s standard license has the following restrictions:

  • Single user (one person can have/use the clip)
  • No product for resale (merchandise, DVDs)
  • No show trailers

The extended license removes these restrictions, allowing:

  • Multiple users (a team at a company can have/use the clip)
  • Product for resale permitted (merchandise, DVDs)
  • Show trailers permitted

When is a model release required?

A model release should be submitted for every person that is visible in your clips. There are limited exceptions for crowd shots, which are considered case-by-case.

We do not make exceptions for shots where the person's face is obscured, they are at a distance, have been partially cropped, or are wearing costumers or masks. Every person you film must sign a model release or we will not accept the footage.

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Royalties and Taxes

What are Dissolve’s royalty rates?

For non-exclusive contributors, our standard royalty rate is 30% of the net selling price. This is the amount you will receive from each purchase of your content. Exclusive contributors receive a higher royalty rate — contact us for more details.

Can I view my day-to-day sales?

Not yet, but we’re working on it. In the meantime, you will receive a weekly report that shows the activity on your clips. The information in this report includes top keywords for your most-downloaded clips and how many of your clips have been added to dissolve.com, saved to folders, added to carts, and downloaded.

The report provides a week-by-week look at this activity as well as a snapshot of current status. It is an interim report — for final sales, check your monthly royalty report.

If you prefer not to receive this email, you can unsubscribe using the link at the bottom of it. You’ll continue to receive the monthly royalty report.

What do the terms on the weekly activity report mean?

The table in the activity report shows both the activity on your clips and photos in the preceding week as well as a snapshot of their current status.

Saved to folder: A customer has saved a clip or photo to a folder. Customers can create folders for different projects and save items to them for future reference or to share with others. If the number of clips/photos or folders in the “Currently” column has decreased, it means customers have removed items from folders or moved them to their cart and/or downloaded them.

Added to cart: A customer has added a clip or photo to its shopping cart. Items added to the cart are saved, so when the customer is ready to license, they are there for them. If the number of items or carts in the “Currently” column has decreased, it means customers have removed them from their cart or downloaded them.

Downloaded: When a customer licenses a clip or photo. This transaction may occasionally be reversed, so check your monthly royalty report for the actual number of clips or photos downloaded.

If you have any questions or concerns about your reports, contact our contributor support team

Do you withhold taxes on my sales?

No, we don't withhold taxes from your royalties. Dissolve assumes you will take care of your claims and taxes on your own.

If you are a non-resident of Canada and your clips have been used in productions or advertisements shown on Canadian television (other than those used solely for new programs), we are required by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)to withhold up to 25% of the royalty amount paid. Depending on where you live, and based on the bilateral tax treaty between Canada and your country of residence, this rate may be reduced.We remit these amounts to CRA on monthly basis.

For more information, please refer to the CRA website and this PDF, Non-resident Tax Withholding, Remitting, and Reporting.

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Photography

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Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? Contact us.

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