The aim of this page is to make this the most comprehensive list of free (even for commercial use!) resources for video creators available on the internet. This is everything you could possibly need at the outset; from free HD footage, animations and overlay effects to sound effects, public domain music, and images.
*PLEASE note that although all of the sources in the extensive list below are 100% free, and most are either public domain or operating on a very lax Creative Commons license, attribution may be necessary for certain clips. It’s always best to spare 10 seconds to look up the license terms so you know exactly what you can and cannot do with the beautiful work that these people have so generously shared with us! Please let me know if any of these links don’t work or if I’ve neglected to mention anything important. 🙂
The Big Green Screen
If you’re a total beginner, you’ll probably be completely confused by the abundance of green screen clips provided by many of these sources. These are used in a technique called Chroma key compositing, or chroma keying, which allows you to layer videos in such a way as replace all that green with the setting of your choice. I remember seeing somewhere that something like ¾ of the Chronicles of Narnia productions involved all the actors walking around in front of giant green screens and relying on their imagination to fill everything in and perform convincingly enough!
But don’t worry! Although it sounds hard, all you have to do (once you’ve mastered the absolute basics) is find some good tutorials on how to apply the technique, and proceed step by step. They will show you everything you need to know, including where to download any necessary add-ons and things.
Mostly very old footage of the World Wars… And people annoying/torturing a few animals. Not great, although I do think I’ll be making an animal rights video at some point using a couple of these clips…
Truly there isn’t much on Vimeo except a few channels, like fczuardi’s attempt to create an HD Public Domain Channel (contains 10 videos).
Archive.org’s Moving Image Archive
Please note that this doesn’t appear to be moderated particularly well, so a lot of the content available for download is not free for commercial use. But if you sift through the chaff, there are some really great channels like like Johann Mynhardt’s.
Great HD animations and clips. You just have tor register for a free account. Try to avoid the first 6 search results unless you’ve got spare video budget though, because they’re sponsored ones from Shutterstock.
Mostly NASA clips.
There are some really beautiful ones here. If you’re having trouble downloading anything, read this.
Youtube Channel which uploads PD video & music. The majority of these clips are NASA and army ones, but there’s the occasional great find!
A lot of animations and short clips that can be used to create interesting effects + background.
They’re great, but there’s only a small playlist you can use for free.
Again, a really good source.
Excellent for backgrounds and effects.
Some good videos (the Nature playlist is especially good) and a lot of green screen pieces you can use well if you have passably decent video editing software.
Great overlays and backgrounds.
A lot of usable footage, with one or 2 exceptions (only a couple of cloudscape videos and the daybreak-at-tree one, which have to be bought).
Great idea, but very few clips. The project appears to have blossomed… but then stagnated.
Again, effects, beautiful backgrounds
Beautiful HD clips, but limited selection and only nature-themed,
Mostly backgrounds, overlays, and horror footage
More than a 100 clips! These are really good, and they have lots with people in them, but you will need to register for a free account.
All clips available for free download and use in SD. Some of it does look a little dated though.
Brilliant site, all HD downloads free. No attribution necessary!
As with some of the others in this list, attribution definitely necessary.
Good HD videos. Possibly related to the site above.
Excellent clips – but only a couple available.
Again, best for backgrounds, animations and overlays. I do love that video of the eggs though. So satisfying.
Really good free stock footage in between vlogs and other videos.
Good smoke, spark and particle effect footage.
Good clips, credit where possible.
Interesting selection, all HD and 100% free!
SOUND EFFECTS & MUSIC
This link right here will take you to where the CC0 (all rights waived) work is :).
IMovieAndSoundEffect Attribution necessary.
SOUNDFXTV No need to credit them. But it’d be nice if we did anyway, don’t you think? So many people putting up so much amazing stuff for free… It’s the least we can do!
PUBLIC DOMAIN MUSIC
Jason Shaw’s Audionautix Collection A good selection of clips that you can use for anything you want (including for-profit stuff).
JWinter Music Ditto.
Free Stock Music All you have to do is sign up for a free account and you’re good to go!
Free Music Archive This link will take you to the section of the FMA that contains tracks that can be used in videos – but to find the commercial-use-is-ok ones go here, to their search page, and tick the little box that says “Allows for commercial use” (see image). This will take care of the hard part!
The MUSOPEN Project Gorgeous site, but most of the clips are not free for commercial use.
PDMusic Good source of information regarding which pieces are public domain… But the actual midi files are copyrighted, unfortunately.
Public Domain 4 U Lovely site! These clips are free to share, and from what I can gather, to use in creative work – but not commercially.
VIDEO EDITING SOFTWARE
That’s everything an amateur could possibly need. So what are you waiting for? 😀 Get out there and change the world!