Making My First Drone Stock Footage Sale Via Blackbox

Being able to sell drone stock video footage via the Blackbox Global web site is a neat way of earning some extra cash.  In an ideal world I would love to be able to travel the world with my drone and gather as much drone stock footage as possible and actually earn a living out of it.

However, in the real world with bills to pay and mouths to feed, being able to travel around the world with a DJI Mini 2 is just not possible.  However, I am delighted to say that it is still possible to generate drone footage sales without having to be globe trotter.

This photo of my first drone stock footage video sale is for display purposes only.

I made my first drone stock footage sale via Blackbox Global back in May 2021.  The footage was of the Great Stour running through the Westgate Gardens in Canterbury.  I believe I was flying at a height of 118 metres in that shot.  I’m actually surprised this clip sold at all.  Looking back at it now the sky is over exposed.

It is extremely satisfying to receive money from footage that I have shot in the past.  It’s footage that would be left on a hard drive some where gathering dust.  Now, it is online at various stock video web sites for other people to buy and use.

To date, all of the footage that I have made money from by using BlackBox has been footage that I have edited, uploaded, labelled and tagged myself.  This means that I have not had to share any of the revenue with a curator.  The money I have earned so far this year with Blackbox has not enabled me to give up my day job, but I believe that the more I upload, the more chances I have of making sales.

I am always surprised to see which drone stock video that I’ve uploaded actually creates a sale.  I’ve sold drone clips of everything from The River Stour running through Plucks Gutter, to flying very low over some orchard trees in Chartham.  So it just goes to show that anything can sell as long as it is a good quality clip.

Finding the Right Blackbox Curator for YOU

I have now decided to get as much drone footage as I possibly can online if the hope of selling it as stock footage.  After experimenting with uploading stock footage manually to Adobe Stock and Shutterstock, I have now decided that it actually DOES take too much of my time.

Blackbox Global Curator Advice

So I have settled on the idea of just getting out and about with my DJI Mini 2 and getting my footage edited and uploaded by a curator.  This means that I will be taking a hit in the pocket by giving away 40% of my earnings, but if it means I get more sales, then I’m sure this is the right path for me.

Finding a good curator was very important for me.  The last thing I wanted was to put my drone videos in the hands of somebody who will waste my footage.  I put a post on the Blackbox Global Facebook group asking for curators to put themselves forward as my full-time curator.  I wanted to find somebody who I could confidently hand over my 4K drone footage and do the rest for me.

I posted a selection of my drone clips with my post so prospective curators can decide whether they would be interested in editing and adding the relevant mega information on Blackbox.  To be honest, I was overwhelmed by the response.  I was flooded with offers to be my curator.

I filtered out some of the guys who could not speak English very well.  I wanted an English speaking curator who would understand the British landscape and title my clips using good structured English.

I eventually settled on a guy who took his time to carefully and precisely explain how his procedure worked.  He also had some YouTube videos showcasing his work that clinched the deal.

I have already sent him some of my drone footage and I am very happy with the way he has titled, tagged and edited the footage so far.  I am very much looking forward to building a partnership with my new Blackbox stock footage curator.

Here are my tips for finding a good Blackbox stock video footage curator:

  • Post on Facebook with samples of your work.
  • Take time to talk to prospective curators.
  • Make sure you agree on a percentage of earnings early on.
  • Try and build a partnership and listen to advice given.

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Deciding Whether to use BlackBox Global or Upload Manually

Uploading Drone Stock Footage Clips

I’ve been uploading stock footage for approximately 6 months now with varied success.  I’m now trying to decide whether to use Blackbox Global or upload manually to the major stock footage web sites.

Uploading Drone Stock Footage Clips

I am enjoying using Blackbox to upload my stock drone footage.  It is easy to use and the collaboration options are very good to use.  Being able to find a good curator to add the keywords and titles to my clips saves me hours of time.  However, it does mean that I could lose money on my sales.  Blackbox take 15%, a collaborator could take 20% – 25% depending on the agreement I’ve set.  Together with the fact that I can only upload 70 clips per week has made me start to wonder whether I would be better off uploading my drone stock footage clips manually.

The Uploading to Shutterstock Experience

To help me make my decision, I have set up an account on both Shutterstock and Adobe Stock.  I wanted to find out what the process was when uploading manually.  Looking at Shutterstock first, I found the uploading experience very simple.  Adding keywords was easy and Shutterstock also have a great keyword help tool.  This makes sure that your stock footage clips are being submitted correctly to be found by people looking for your relevant footage.

The only major problem I found was when my footage was being reviewed by the Shutterstock review team.  Some of my clips were rejected because the clips had “Noise / Artefacts: Content contains noise, film grain, compression artefacts, pixelation, and/or posterisation that detracts from the main subject.”  I found this a little odd.  I studied my drone footage on Shutterstock and could not see any such noise, film grain, compression artefacts, pixelation, and/or posterisation.  The clips that were rejected were of waves in the sea.  I am wondering whether the the uploaded clips are run through an automatic quality control program and confused the movement of the sea as artefacts.

I’m only saying this because the 2nd batch of clips I uploaded at the same bit rate and quality all passed this test.  A few of the second batch of clips I uploaded were only rejected because they were too similar to my other clips, which I can take on board.

The Uploading to Adobe Stock Experience

Again, setting up the Drones Deep stock footage contributor account with Adobe Contribute was simple.  In less than 10 minutes I was able to upload my drone stock footage clips.  I was really impressed how the Adobe Contributor system was able to automatically add keywords to my clips after they were successfully uploaded.  It does a great job at recognising what type of footage I have uploaded and adds the keywords itself.  I have to say that it doesn’t always get it 100% correct.  It can add the wrong country to the keywords and occasionally there is a random keyword that is not relevant to my clip.  But a quick glance down the keyword list enables me to find and replace any keyword that doesn’t not belong with the clip.

The only issue I have so far with Adobe Stock is that my clips are still yet to be reviewed.  So at the moment, I am unable to comment about if my clips are approved or rejected and on what grounds if rejected.  Adobe Stock contributor does state that my drone footage will be reviewed by the moderation team within the next few days.  Well it’s been a few day and my clips are still waiting to be reviewed.

BlackBox Global or Upload Manually Conclusion, So Far…

I’m still torn between whether to save time and getting BlackBox to upload to Shutterstock, Adobe Stock and a few other stock footage sites.  On one hand, it would save me time to get a curator to title and keyword my footage, but then again I could loose over 30% in revenue.  Also, seeing that some of my clips have been rejected my Shutterstock, I’m wondering how many other clips have been rejected from the major stock footage sites.  I have over 630 clips showing as online through Blackbox, but I am now wondering just how many have been rejected by Adobe and Shutterstock.

With Shutterstock, I’m also able to upload 100 clips per week rather than the 70 per week with Blackbox.  I am unable to locate the upload limits for Adobe Contribute.

I guess it all comes down to how much time I have to upload, title and keyword my drone stock footage clips.  I am leaning towards uploading manually so I can fully understand what type of clips are selling and (just as importantly), which type of clips are being rejected!

I think I will continue to experiment uploading manually for another few months and see what type of results I get.