Quality: It’s All Relative

What’s Your Definition?

It seems that just about the time you get used to something, there’s an upgrade that makes the old standard feel lame. Remember when static-strewn, B&W TV went to jaw-dropping color? Then we were impressed by cable, soon made passé by satellite, and now HD. Why is something amazing one year and outdated the next? Because quality is relative.

The same thing has happened in the stock footage world. The first footage we painstakingly shot, selected, telecined, cleaned, and color corrected was SD, for goodness sake! That was over twenty years ago and, at the time, it was remarkably beautiful. Then came HD and as camera manufacturers had major breakthroughs, that old SD standard of “quality” was (though still beautiful) outdated. Those first advancements in technology took years to achieve. Now it seems that the quality-standard bar is raised every month.


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With all this rapid change, what really defines quality stock footage? A 5K resolution? An R3D file? Not really. Resolution is only a piece of the picture.

For Artbeats, quality is the entire package. It means utilizing the best equipment and crew and choosing worthwhile, versatile subject matter, the right vantage point, and the best framing. It means waiting all afternoon for the light to change or shooting the same ridiculous elk over and over until they do something worth seeing. It means getting up before dawn to rig an airplane, getting sick and kissing the ground after filming on an extremely turbulent flight, de-rigging, and starting all over again the next day. It means taking footage from days and days of shooting, diligently cataloguing every shot, selecting the very best, and individually color correcting each clip (but not being offended if you choose to purchase a raw file and do it yourself). It means inspecting each finished product so that you, our customer, can instantly download what you need in time to finish your project without worrying that the footage will be unstable or there will be luminance changes or other flaws that slow you down. And for us, quality also means standing behind what we do and supporting you throughout the process.

We’ve actually been accused numerous times of having footage that’s “too pretty”. We understand. Not everyone’s looking for pretty and perfect. Sometimes it’s just not realistic enough and doesn’t fit the project.

Well, the good news is that we have that, too! We have producers all over the world who provide us with interesting, realistic, unusual footage that isn’t always “pretty” – and they’re very good at it! They use a wide variety of cameras, from HD cams on up. They travel to unique places and have rare opportunities to capture real life. Many of these producers also supply us with “pretty” – but some are great shooters of “just what I was looking for!” And because supporting you is part of our definition of quality, we stand by all of our footage to ensure its usability.

What’s your definition of quality?

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