what they didn't teach you in film school

An Independent Review of Blackbox Stock Footage Platform

This is an independent review of the Blackbox stock footage platform that I found out about in 2018 and has been updated in 2020. As a regular Stock Footage contributor since 2014 of course I had to do some research and look into this.

2020 UPDATE: Watch the video since I’ve grown my approved portfolio to 1026 assets. I haven’t put too much effort on growing my assets on blackbox given the return on my time, but sales for this platform have picked up a little bit in 2020. I’ve since earned $100 US in the first 3 months. It has come from a variety of footage. Nightlife footage shot with my Ronin Gimbal, Slow motion food footage of french fries, and drone footage in Taiwan and so on. If you’re interested in the gear I use to create stock footage I’ve updated that for 2020.

If you join my Stock Footage newsletter you will receive screen shots of these sales.

The Coronavirus is impacting the world and is obviously a trend that all serious stock footage videographers should be providing content for.


I tested the platform with real footage

In August 2018 I signed up to the platform and decided to learn the platform and start contributing. There was a bit of a learning curve getting to know how to use the system and get setup. As of January 28 2019 I have 411 clips approved an online. If you watch my video and read other reviews you will see that are some real benefits to contributors that I’ll list out.

Potential Pros

  • The ability to streamline uploading the clips to some of the main stock footage agencies (Shutterstock, Pond 5, Storyblocks, and Adobestock)
  • The ability to outsource the keywording of your footage to others and to have them compensated automatically
  • The ability to compensate talent (models) that you work with or other team members to get the footage up and online and have them compensated

Potential Cons

  • Trust in yet another platform (youtube, instagram, facebook, udemy) to rely on
  • Loss of some revenue per clips
  • Loss in your personal visibility and branding as you represent blackbox
  • Loss in your ability to quality to offers like Adobestocks offer for their premium cloud suite for reaching sales or approved assets

To be fair the Pros outweighed the cons. I submitted some of the best footage I shot in 2018 from destinations such as the Maldives, Japan, Taiwan, and Kuala Lumpur.

To get my collection to this number I cut (edited and uploaded) most of the clips. I tried to enlist some help with some others using the platform using the blackbox facebook group, but the person I picked didn’t end up doing the work. The process to outsource the curation also required that I upload the raw footage to my cloud drive, and re-download the clips that the curator was supposed to cut. I think unless you are working with someone who is reliable that outsourcing this aspect of Stock footage is not worth the time.

A course about the Business and Marketing Side of Videography

what they didn't teach you in film school

Finding curators to keyword

This is something that gets me excited as I don’t enjoy keywording, but it needs to be done well for customers to find your work. I managed to find some curators to do the keywording through a variety of means. The blackbox members have access to a facebook group. To find someone here you can post your footage collection and then work out the details with the contributor via facebook chat. Finding a good curator requires some patience, luck and familiarity with the subject matter you are shooting. I also had an intern work with me last year remotely and in person at an office together. The Blackbox platform allowed me to partner with her and offer her some potential compensation for her work. I had to spend some time training her on how to do this in person. Keep in mind that this is also a niche activity so don’t expect some expect to have some patience. If you don’t have the time to train someone in person you can either screen record yourself doing the activity. You can also use my Online Course, which contains workflows for the major stock agencies including the Blackbox platform itself as well as sample CSV templates here.

Results to Date (Updated Nov 2019)

As mentioned I have almost 1000 approved assets and have about $100US in total earnings. The Blackbox pond 5 profile currently has over 1 million approved assets to date. When I wrote this in August 2018 they had 429,000 approved assets on this agency to date. This is a huge number, but only time will tell if my investment in time and energy into getting these assets on Blackbox will payout. Many of my individual sales on Pond 5 and the Shutterstock agencies. In 2019 I believe it is important to diversify your efforts to promote your footage library whether it is on Blackbox, numerous agencies, or even licensing your footage directly. You can sign up for the Blackbox Platform over here.

 An Independent Review of Blackbox Stock Footage Platform



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