Having a background video on the homepage of any website is becoming more and more popular. We can see some WordPress examples in Riley’s, MediaBoom o DuChâteau, among others. I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say videos can be more impressive and even more appealing than static pictures. And, moreover, they’re able to show a functionality or feature of your products more quickly.
So, what if you want to use videos on your site? Do you have to record them by yourself? Luckily for you, there are a few websites out there where you can find and download free (cool) videos. Keep reading!
Before showing the full list, I’d like to remind you the type of licenses you can find on videos. Most of the content have a “Copyright” license. If a video is released under that license, we can not use it unless you have the explicit permission of that right (who, incidentally, does not have to be its author). However, today there are several licenses under which we publish our creations. These licenses are much less restrictive that the Copyright and promote the dissemination of our work, giving certain rights “to the community.”
Creative Commons (CC)
For many people who have ever heard of it, the concept of Creative Commons is associated exclusively to “Free Contents”. That is, when they see that something is with a CC license, simply take for granted that they can do what they want with it… But this is not true. CC is much more and there are multiple variants of CC license.
There are two attributes that you have to keep in mind when using videos for your business. These are the Non-Commercial (NC) clause, which prevents you from using them for profit, and the No Derivative Works (ND) clause, which prevents you from modifying the original work to suit your needs. In fact, if you want to be 100% sure that what you se does not have any restrictions, make sure it is published under a CC0 license, which gives all rights to the work to the public domain. Another interesting license is the CC BY license, which allows you to use the work for commercial purposes and only requires you mention the original author (which, it would not hurt if you do it always).
The Royalty-free (RF) licenses are those that allow you to use material protected by copyright or intellectual property without paying any royalty or fee. In these cases, the owner of the work is the one with “all” rights; she is just leaving you to use her work without paying for it.
In the following, I share a great list of freeware video sources. Be aware some of them include free and paid videos, so be sure to check their licenses before you use them.
This is a subreddit dedicated to find videos and films with Creative Commons license. It is a very active group and I’m sure you can find some interesting gems.
Another subreddit dedicated to finding videos with Royalty Free license.
3. Alex Free Stock Video
In the YouTube channel created by Alessandro Zavattero, you’ll find hundreds of free videos and films.
Since the mid-90s, Archive.org has been a digital repository for all types of digital media. Archive.org offers you more than 2,000 films from Prelinger Archive. This collection is full of cultural and American films of the past 100 years. Many of the films in the archive are of public domain, but be sure to check the license before using them.
Here there are some time lapso quality films. You can download and use all of them in any project for free.
6. Clip Canvas
Clip Canvas also has some free videos on its free section.
Coverr is a joint initiative of two start-ups: Veed.Me and CodersClan. It has a library of free videos with CC0 license and it is increased weekly with 7 new videos posted every Monday that have been specially prepared for Coverr.
This website is a source of videos and sound effects with premium quality. But in the free section found on the menu, you will also find free videos.
If you are looking for explosions and smoke effects or splashing blood, you will find them on Detonation Films. They also have a series of video clips of fireballs, bullets, flashes, and weapon effects. Although most of the videos are SD (4×3) and therefore do not serve as a web background, they can be easily integrated within a framework of high definition.
On this website they offer each month 3 new high quality clips.
In Distill you’ll find curated videos that you can use in any project. This is an initiative of Create the Bridge and they add 10 new videos every 10 days.
12. Fancy Footage Club
Fancy Footage Club lists some great quality videos but this is a rather limited collection.
14. Flix Press
Flix Press is website where to find templates for creating professional videos. They also offer a few free templates. You have to register and you will have a library of free templates.
15. Footage Crate
Footage Crate offers free or royalty free license videos created by creative people or independent filmmakers.
16. Free HD Footage
Free HD Footage offers a fairly extensive collection of films. The videos are categorized and no registration is required to download them.
HD-Trainings offers free films and videos that you can use in your own video productions. If you do not speak German, I recommend that you use the Google Translator to find what you are looking for.
On this website you have at your disposal a set of green screen plates to experiment and create compositions. These clips are perfect for those looking to improve the post-production of their videos.
19. Ignite Motion
Ignite Motion is a website where you can download animated backgrounds and videos that you can use for personal or commercial purposes.
20. Life of Vids
Here you will find videos of Montreal created by Leeroy advertisement agency.
Mazwai has a large collection of videos of slow motion and time-lapse that can be an excellent choice as background of your site.
22. Motion Elements
Motion Elements is a source of free high quality videos. It offers about 400 free videos that can be downloaded.
23. NASA Galleries
The videos from the NASA Gallery are available for download for the purpose of using them only for educational purposes. This permit can only be extended to personal web pages.
24. Open Footage
Open Footage is a source of free videos organized into several categories and it is very easy to find and download them.
25. Open Images
Open images, an initiative of Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and with the collaboration of Knowledgeland, where you’ll find not only free images, but also free videos.
26. Orange HD
Great collection of films about nature available for commercial and non-commercial use.
Pexels has a large collection of quality movies with CC0 license that you can download for free and use it on any web or commercial project you have. Despite being free license, the quality of the videos is pretty good. You can also subscribe to their mailing list to receive a weekly summary of recently published videos.
Plixs is a website with plenty of images and images under CC0 license. You can search them by keywords and sort them by popularity and date.
Here you’ll have about 10,000 free, vintage clips.
Splahbase is a platform where you’ll find free images and videos.
Splansheo tries to be a booster of free videos. You’ll also find free images that you can use to create your own videos.
As the name suggests, in this site you’ll find an “endless footage rid”. They have an extensive library of free films.
Tania and Yuri travelers share videos and pictures with Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution.
34. The News Market
The News Market has clips that are topical and newsworthy as well as many pieces of prepackaged news (VNR). They are ideal for integration into documentaries and newspaper articles.
This site is another place to find quality videos. Currently you can choose from more than a thousand videos that have been published.
Videvo was founded by Tom Limb and has a huge library of free video and graphics in motion. It has more than 3,600 HD videos and continues growing, becoming a must visit when one seeks videos.
Each week, Vidsplay directory adds free videos. It has a broad collection of videos, but unfortunately they aren’t categorized.
Phil Fried created a group on Vimeo where you’ll find a good collection of films.
38. Wikimedia Videos
Similar to Archive.org, Wikimedia Commons also has a video section. The site has a large collection of videos but the search option are somewhat limited.
39. World Clips
World Clips specializes in videos from the world. All films of this site are free for free. No registration is required. It has an impressive section of Australia and North America broken down by more specific locations (Las Vegas, New York, Hawaii, San Francisco, among others).
40. X Stock Video
X Stock Video has a very nice collection of videos for download. The videos are categorized and you can sort them by popularity and download date.
And that’s all! I hope you enjoyed the list and find the video you’re looking for!
Featured Image by Loris F. Alessandria.