As a solo content creator I try to grab my camera and film as much footage as possible, but sometimes I’ll want a shot that I don’t have the resources to film, and that’s where StoryBlocks comes in.
What is StoryBlocks?
StoryBlocks is a stock video, photo and music website, think of it as Netflix for stock video. You pay a subscription fee and then have access to download the video content, the files are the blocks with which you can tell your story through video, hence the names StoryBlocks and VideoBlocks.
They’ve also recently introduced Maker, an online video editor that allows you to make short, snackable, socially shareable videos from their stock videos, more on that later.
The pricing plan chosen will determine which content you have access to.
I did a lot of research into the different stock video sites available, looking into ArtGrid/Artlist, ShutterStock, Envato Elements and Adobe’s Stock offering to name a few, but settled on StoryBlocks due to the simple pricing plan: for an annual payment of £199 I would have unlimited access to HD or 4K footage as well as a wide range of Adobe assets.
They do offer an Unlimited All Access plan for £349 annually which gives you access to elements such as music, sound effects, loops, photos, vectors and illustrations but as I already have access to other websites for those the Unlimited Video plan suited me perfectly.
You can pay monthly but the price is discounted for an annual subscription. How can you get StoryBlocks free? You can’t, they don’t offer a free plan, a free trial or even the option to download a free video to try them out
You could try out the basic plan at £99 annually (or £19 for 1 month) but as that only allows 5 HD video downloads it’s not really worth it.
Billing can be cancelled at any time and your access will continue until your subscription runs out.
Keep in mind I am only using the video and Adobe templates, I’ve not made use of the stock photography or music aspects of the site.
You can check current pricing via this affiliate link: https://videoblocks.go2cloud.org/SHHS
Is StoryBlocks a scam?
This question came up a lot when I looked into signing up with the site, the simple answer is no, StoryBlocks isn’t a scam. I’ve been using them for months without any problems, once I’d signed up I had access to their library of stock video and templates.
The files you download and use are licensed for commercial projects, which includes YouTube videos if you have adverts running. If you end your subscription you don’t need to worry about videos files you’ve made, they’re still fine to be monitised and don’t breach copyright.
What really drew me to StoryBlocks was the unlimited downloads aspect, other sites I looked at were charging per clip and I’d easily spend more than £200. With my chosen plan I can search and download as many files as I want, keeps things nice and easy.
This applies to Adobe templates as well as footage, which has been highly beneficial to me as it’s given me access to a huge number of intros, titles, lower thirds, transitions, all of which are professional looking.
How I use StoryBlocks
I have two main uses: 1) video clips 2) creative assets for Adobe products.
I make use of footage in my own YouTube videos, sometimes it’s very subtle, for example I might make use of a generic abstract video as a background to photos I’m showing. Other times I insert the footage front and centre to help make a point. This is been very useful in 2020 when the pandemic caused a state of lockdown, and I was unable to get out to film shots for my FitBit review, instead I downloaded stock video of different exercises.
It’s easy to find the digital content you’re after and your can preview the files in your browser, no need to download preview clips. When you find something you’d like to use click the download button. If you pick a limited plan keep count of each download.
I’ve been experimenting with a number of the templates. When I originally signed up they only offered Adobe After Effects templates. I’m not too familiar with After Effects so these have been a useful way for me to get to know the programme as the templates usually come with instructions.
I’ve been really pleased to see Premier Pro templates have been added to the site, these are often amazing transitions or lower thirds, and they look really professional.
I don’t use the stock music as I have access to an alternative site which will soon be adding sound effects.
For solo creators this can really help improve your videos, saving you time on trying to film high quality footage. I’ve been impressed with the quality of video, just tap in some keywords and there is usually a selection of videos suitable for your project.
Looking for inspiration? There videos grouped into collections which are based around a theme or topic.
At the time of review a new tool has been added to the site and is in beta: Maker. This is a tool for creating your own short videos, usually for use on social media. If you’ve used inVideo you’ll be very familiar with the concept, find stock footage to explain your message, add some graphics and music and you’ve got an eye catching social post without having to film a single shot.
Maker can create wide 16:9, square 1:1 or vertical 9:16 videos and it has a range of video templates to get your started. These are simple to customize, you can change the stock footage, change or add text and you can even upload your own files to make it truly unique to you. Once completed the finished sequence can be downloaded as a single video file.
I haven’t made much use of Maker, but what I have seen looks good and will save you subscribing to other dedicated video making websites.
Is StoryBlocks worth it?
Like any service with paying subscribers the answer to that question is how much you use the service. The chose of monthly or annual fee allows you to try it out, albeit at a slightly higher cost, before committing to an annual contract (which can be cancelled at anytime).
It’s certainly offers a huge collection and wouldn’t surprise me if it was the biggest stock video library available, so far it’s not let me down when I’ve had an idea. For content creators, YouTubers, freelancers or anyone who works in digital media StoryBlocks is an excellent resource to have access to, especially with no download limits.
The stock contributors are of a high calibre, giving you a strong selection of files to choose from. And of course because I’m on the unlimited package if something I’ve downloaded isn’t working out I can just head back to the site and grab something else!
Keep in mind I signed up for unlimited footage, the top end pricing plan opens up access to high quality images and audio giving you a one stop shop for your project whatever industry you’re in.
If you’re ready to sign up please consider doing so via my affiliate link: https://videoblocks.go2cloud.org/SHHS
It doesn’t cost you anything extra but helps support the site.