The weather video market is huge. If you want to sell your videos and get paid for them, Stormhour has the tips you need. Learn how you can make money shooting and selling newsworthy weather videos.
1. Longer videos sell better
We're so used to the impatience of Social Media that it's easy to think short videos are the way forward. If a video posted on Twitter doesn't flash with a catastrophic lightning bolt, or a car isn't washed away within the first 8 seconds, consumers move on to the following Tweet and the next video.
In reality, longer videos sell far better. If you are shooting a particular weather event, then keep filming. Newsflare research shows that 100 seconds is optimal giving potential media buyers much more to work with and is appealing for pay per view buyers on various video hosting platforms.
So, even if you catch just one or two lightning strikes in a 3-minute video, don't edit it away; submit the full video!
2. Natural Sound Sells
Whenever possible, keep the sound you record with the video. The crashing of a wave or rumbling of thunder is what editors are looking & listening for; The roaring sound of a gale-force wind on a video can be a much better gauge of wind speed than the video itself. Sound adds plenty of context to a video, so don't alter it or silence it.
Don't be tempted to add your favourite music track to back the original natural sound. It may work on social media, but this creates extra work for potential buyers and makes your video far less likely to sell. And there are the added complications of music copyright to be considered.
Music is highly subjective, you may enjoy the tranquil sounds of panpipes blowing across your weather disaster movie, but the chances are that many people won't.
3. Chase those Named Storms
What do Storm Barra, Hurricane Grace, Tropical Storm Fred, the Polar Vortex, and The Beast from the East have in common? They created headlines and instantly made videos more valuable. So if it's newsworthy, it's worth getting your camera ready. These storms are forecast in advance, usually at least a couple of days; they are creating a buzz on social media and the news, and the media are desperate to get their hands on click-worthy footage!
Named storms are a must for any budding storm-chaser or weather photographer and are one of the best ways to shoot a video that will make you money.
Of course, geographically, they can be a bit limiting, but keep an eye out for them, just in case one comes your way soon.
4. Make it Newsworthy – and timely
One person's light dusting of snow is another's blizzard. Wherever possible, weather videos need to be newsworthy to sell. In January, an inch of snow in Nova Scotia may look good on film but isn't newsworthy. However, a video of an inch of snow falling somewhere in the Mojave desert will send publishers flocking to your work.
The sooner you get your video uploaded, the better. Getting your video pitched promptly is essential as the news cycle will move on rapidly to the next storm. So don't worry about editing your video; just get it uploaded.
To emphasise the point, this video of an April snow shower in Manchester isn't as exciting as others you will see, but I uploaded it within 30 minutes of shooting, making it very timely and sold soon after!
5. Stay Safe
Weather can be exciting, spectacular, exhilarating, beautiful…and dangerous. With technologically better cameras and a zoom lens, it is always possible to get a good video without taking risks. Over the years, there have been numerous accounts of storm-chasers being killed or injured during their favourite pursuit, and people swept off rocks into the ocean for that final wave video. It's not worth it, the weather will always be volatile, and the next saleable weather phenomenon is just around the corner.
6. Right Place, Right Time
Let's face it, most of the time, the weather sneaks up on us. We're all busy people with jobs and lives to lead, with a lucky few who can do this as a full-time occupation. Therefore, for us mere mortals, it's important to always have a camera at the ready (much easier these days with smartphones) and don't be afraid to use it. You could spend a summer chasing tornadoes across Kansas with no success, only to find one destroying your back garden one evening in late October.
This video sold during Storm Barra and is an excellent example of right place, right time. (Please note there is some explicit language on this video…see note below)
7. And a few bonus tips
- Don't add watermarks; videos with watermarks are less likely to sell.
- Don't swear! If possible, sometimes this can be tough in the middle of a storm, but be mindful of your potential audience as some buyers won't be able to use content with bad language on it.
- People and animals. Videos with living creatures interacting with the weather are generally more valuable.
- Vehicles. Same as people and animals. A video of a flooded road will more likely sell if a car is stuck in it or an oversized truck charges through, creating a large, splashing wake.
- Waterproofing. More smartphones are waterproof, but take extra precautions in wet weather as they are unlikely to be 100% waterproof. A clear plastic bag or a brolly may suffice. I use an old Olympic Tough TG-4 for terrible weather.
And to reiterate the power of animals, this video sold solely because of the Reindeer!