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What does footage mean?

To the question “what does footage mean?” we can answer that the origin of the term “footage” is that early 35 mm silent film has traditionally been measured in feet and frames.  Film was measured by length.

There are 16 frames in a foot of 35 mm film which represented 1 second of film. That made footage a natural unit of measure for film. The term then became used figuratively to describe moving image material of any kind.

In filmmaking, footage is raw, unedited material as originally filmed by a movie camera or recorded by a video camera.

Typically it must be edited to create a motion picture, video clip, television show or similar completed work.

Footage may also refer to sequences used in film and video editing, such as special effects and archive material.

Since the term originates in film, footage is only used for recorded images, such as film stock, videotapes or digitized clips. On live television, the signals from video cameras are instead called sources.

Sometimes film projects will also sell or trade footage, usually second unit material not used in the final cut.

Today the footage is often intentionally shot and then marketed through the agencies.

Television footage, especially news footage, is often traded between television networks, but good footage usually commands a high price. The actual sum depends on duration, age, size of intended audience, duration of licensing and other factors.


Amateur video footage of current events can also often fetch a high price on the market. scenes shot inside the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001 attacks were reportedly sold for US$45,000.

A footage broker is an agent who deals in footage by promoting it to footage purchasers or producers, while taking a profit in the sales transaction.

Do you want to see a stock footage agency in action?

Look at Pond5, The world’s largest royalty-free footage collection.