Thousands of public domain free movies, films, audio and videos are available on the internet for you to download and use in your documentary project.
Scroll to the bottom of the page for a growing list of free film clips and b-roll footage resources.
Here are a few examples of free footage available from one of my favorite websites for public domain footage: The Internet Archive | Archive.org.
Pride the Saddle Horse (1952)-- This old film clip illustrates various roles of the horse in modern life, and traces the development and training of a colt until he becomes a prize saddle horse at three years of age.
A Colour Box -- A Three minute hand-painted film by Len Lye.
B-roll footage is any supporting visuals that helps demonstrate the theme or thought of your story. It can be used in between interviews or to visually explain what a narrator is describing. If the narrator is talking about a cat in a tree, b-roll is the footage showing a cat in a tree.
When you're out in the field shooting a story, you'll want to make sure and shoot plenty of b-roll, because once you're back at your computer editing, you'll want a lot of footage to choose from to piece together your story.
There are several ways to gather b-roll:
What happens if you're producing a historical documentary about events that have already taken place? Perhaps WWII? Or a film about cartoons from the 1930's? That's when you'll need to put on your reporter hat and start searching for existing clips that you can use for b-roll.
Perhaps you're interviewing an expert on a certain subject matter, let's say typewritters. You'll want to find footage (b-roll) of old typewritters that you can edit over on top of the experts voice when he is describing the typewriters.
There is a huge database of free video and film footage across the internet.
The Internet Archive is a great place to start. You'll find everything from full length movies, old home movies, cartoons, wartime film clips, video game footage, vintage educational films, live music concerts, sports events and live news coverage (including a collection from 9/11).
But there are plenty of other sources of footage if you're willing to dig a bit. Say for example you need beautiful nature scenes. Check out the National Park Service B-Roll Section of their website. Or what about medical scenes. You can check out the National Cancer Institute B-roll collection.
View A Growing List of Resources Below For Additional Free Film Clips and B-Roll Footage.
Do you have a resource for free film clips or b-roll you'd like to share with the filmmaking community? Create your own page right here! It's easy and only takes a couple of minutes to fill out the form.
There are thousands of free film clips available across the internet that you can download and use in your documentary project. Check out all these resources.
Beachfront B-Roll | Free Film Clips
Beachfront B-Roll is a resource for filmmakers and video editors to download (for free!) unique HD stock video footage and animated backgrounds for any …
Internet Archive | Huge Database of Free Film Clips
The Internet Archive, a 501-c3 non-profit, has a vast collection of movie clips online dating back to the early 1900's – including full length movies, …
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy | Free Film Clips
The U.S. Department of Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) provides free film clips and b-roll footage to producers. …
The American Academy of Family Physicians | Free Film Clips
The American Academy of Family Physicians has produced a series of high-resolution videos for use by broadcast and electronic journalists depicting family …
Wal-Mart | Free B-Roll Footage
Wal-Mart has more than 100 video clips available showing various scenes of their stores, customers shopping and merchandise including television sets, …
United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime | Free Film Clips
The United Nations Offices of Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) has free film clips and various b-roll from around the world highlighting their anti-drug activities. …
National Cancer Institute | Free Film Clips
The National Cancer Institute has free downloadable medical scenes for use in media projects. The NCI Office of Media Relations maintains, and frequently …
Defense Video Imagery Distribution System | Free Film Clips
Free US Military video footage is available from the Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System. The DVIDS serves as a turnkey operation that facilitates …
The National Park Service | Free Film Clips
The National Park Service offers an assortment of free film clips representing American State Parks. Categories include scenics, buildings, flora/fauna, …
Please find below additional resources for free film clips, b-roll and stock footage. Desktop Documentaries does not endorse any of these groups, these are simply quick referrals for your convenience. Please check the use policies and restrictions for the materials you download from each website to determine if your intended use is permissible.