Video Footage
Photo credit: Pedro Nogueira

Until now, producing good quality opening titles, station breaks and incidental footage for your online video channel has required lots of time consuming work. More often than not, you will have had to purchase expensive DVD catalogues of stock video footage.

Well now there are an increasing number of online resources for helping you find free stock video footage for helping you produce online videos and channels. Here we will look at 9 of the best.

Watch this new video for example:

Outside of the interest for such a new innovative way of using the world blogosphere collaboratively, I am sure you have noticed the nice, high-quality, video stock footage utilized to create this clip with a low-budget but with professional results.

Just like you have seen it happen with digital photos and photo-sharing sites there is now an explosion of publicly available video footage that has no precedents. 

Within it, we are starting to see some interesting new free video stock footage archives that open up a universe of opportunities for anyone wanting to produce more professionally-looking video online.

Here is the first hand-picked selection of readily-available 100% copyright-free online video footage sources online that you can start using immediately.

Public Domain Video For All Of Your mash up Needs – 9 Legal Sources

by Michael Pick

“Public Domain Video is out there in plentiful supply if you’re willing to have a poke around, which is a godsend for those looking to source moving image content free of copyright restrictions.

The emerging medium of the video mash up – remixes that re contextualize and re purpose video content – can be a powerful way to communicate your message. Here is a list of archives jam-packed with weird and wonderful content you can snip away at and mash together as you see fit.”

1. iMovies

Free PD Movies

A blog that features extensive search and syndication options, along with a healthy catalogue of free-to-download public domain movies across a range of genres, featuring classics, cartoons and shorts. You can download or stream the videos.

2. Openflv

Openflv Logo

Openflv features a good selection of b-movie trashola fare which you can stream or download for the most part via the services it aggregates (such as Google video). This is a great place to get hold of such timeless classics as Reefer Madness and the 1968 delight Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women.

3. Internet Archive

Internet Movie Archive

Internet Archive is the lodestone of public domain video, and there is a huge selection of video to download or stream in multiple formats across a range of genres, from advertising and ephemera to features and old TV shows. This is a treasure trove for the would-be mash-up-meister.

4. Wikimedia Commons

Wikipedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons features plentiful public domain video content, a lot of it from amateur sources. You’ll need to be patient though, the organization of the content leaves something to be desired.

5. NARA National Archives

Nara Archives

The national archive, hosted at Google, have a nice collection of historical movies, including lots of great NASA footage for all of those wonder-space scenes you might want to create.

6. PDComedy

Public Domain Comedy

If you’re looking for comedy footage in the public domain – think everything from unintentionally humorous kitsch to cartoons and I Love Lucy – this should definitely be on your list.

7. Stage6

DivX Stage6

Stage6, the video sharing platform for high-quality DivX recordings, has a nice selection of public domain videos to explore. The quality is among the best you’ll find, although you may need to install DivX on your PC first to watch the movies. Buster Keaton, Betty Boop and Charlie Chaplin prevail.

8. Public Domain Torrent

Public Domain Torrents

If you’re familiar with BitTorrent technology, this site has nearly a thousand movies in various formats for you to download without wondering if the MPAA are going to come to your house and flog you with a law suit. Well worth a look.


Free Movie Catalog

EMOL has great selection of public domain video free to download across a vast range of genres. The highlight for me has to be David Hasselhoff’s delightful music video “Jump in my car” (yes, featuring the inimitable KITT).


There are a lot more sources out there, especially if you are willing to stray into Creative Commons waters – but bear in mind that the popular Non-Commercial license won’t won’t allow you to use the footage in any commercial work.

If you want to promote your business, sell your video, or even run it along web-based advertising, you are stepping into murky waters.

If you know of any more public domain sources I would love to hear about them in the comments – especially those featuring public service announcements and vintage computing.

Originally written by Michael Pick for Master New Media and published as “Free Video Stock Footage Resources Online“. on August 28th 2007. Some Rights Reserved

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