By Marc Loftus
Issue: August 1, 2004


NEW YORK - Getty Images ( recently granted seven acclaimed designers and directors full access to its online 70,000 clip film library for the purpose of creating their own minute-long creative project. "The Big Idea" was an initiative set forth by Getty in which these filmmakers had a month to browse the footage provider's library and download content, which they would use to create their own experimental film short. The finished "films" were then shown at the Cannes Lion International Advertising Festival in late June.

From Getty's standpoint, "The Big Idea" was a great way to promote its enormous online library, which launched in April, offering visitors the opportunity to download 720-by-486 non-watermarked QuickTime files. It was also a chance to promote the use of stock footage in creative vehicles, such as commercials, and underscore the cost savings that can be realized by forgoing actual film shoots.

The list of filmmakers included Julian Gibbs of London's Intro, Jeremy Hollister of Plus et Plus in NYC, Alexei Tylevich and Ben Conrad of LA's Logan, Tokyo's Koichiro Tsujkawa, Paris-based collective Pleix, Mark Wilkins of Berlin, and Jonathan Kneebone and Gary Freedman of Sydney's The Glue Society. Their diverse portfolio includes work on music videos and commercial productions.

Gibb's "Hole Hog" looks at the effects a fiery flying pig has on a small suburban town. The 1:29 short was created entirely using Getty source material - 112 stills and clips in all. The piece was put together using Adobe After Effects and features the Extreme Music track "Cyclic Trick."

The 1:07 "What If" by Plus et Plus's Hollister is a Monty Python-esq trip through the unconscious, and called on 132 Getty stills and clips - representing 87 percent of the project - much of which was rotoscoped, helping to create the cut-out 2D animated look. The short was posted using a combination of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects, along with Discreet Flame.

Jennifer Burak, VP of marketing, film, at Getty, says that a production like "Hole Hog" called on elements from 40 different shoots, representing over $1 million in assets. Using stock sources, she says, the project could have been pulled off for between $150-200K, very reasonable for a :60 commercial production. Burak adds that the filmmakers praised Getty's search engine, which allowed them to find the film elements they were looking for, be it very specific searches or more general queries.

In addition to the 70,000 clips initially made available through its site, Getty is added thousands more each quarter.