Capturing Authenticity on Film

by Adobe Stock Team

posted on 04-12-2018

Authenticity has been at the center of the stock conversation in the last several years, with more and more brands looking for natural, relatable content from their image banks. The Stacks has carved out a niche in the video market with their contemporary, fresh take on stock video.

The agency is a collaborative effort between cinematographer Seth Whelden and creative director Kelly Wilcox. Combining Seth’s experience as a director of photography and Kelly’s as an art director, The Stacks creates modern stock footage that “reflects live as candidly and honestly as possible.”

We spoke with Kelly to find out more about what makes The Stacks’ portfolio unique, and how they go about capturing authentic content.

What’s your role as the company’s creative director?

As a creative director, I find inspiration in following certain people or groups that I consider to be trendsetters on Instagram and Pinterest. I like to follow an eclectic mix of people — from locals to people all over the world — to get a sense of cultural diversity and trends, whether they’re in the fashion industry or outdoor photographers.

I’m also in charge of the talent we select, the creative of each shoot, and making sure the content is on-brand.

What makes The Stacks unique among other stock video agencies?

We love to use people we know for talent, and if it’s a group of people, preferably they’re friends or in relationships with one another. The chemistry that comes out of those situations is genuine and it shows.

What makes a successful stock clip?

We use shot lists of course, but we also have fun shooting the moments between actions. Sometimes that’s the best stuff, when the talent has no idea you’re still shooting. We also like to maintain a sense of humor on set, and I think it comes across in our work. The best takes, in our opinion, are the ones that aren’t perfect. We don’t live in a perfect world — why should our content be any different?

What makes a successful stock video agency?

The most successful agencies seem to be those that can find their own niche and then dominate that space. And, at the same time, they have an uncanny ability to be adaptable and grow in new directions.

How you decide what to shoot and clip?

A lot of our focus at The Stacks is on kids, teens, and young adults. As a result, certain themes come up naturally. Curiosity and exploration are common threads of shoots with children, while you can find rebellion, adventure, wanderlust, and love in our shoots with teens and young adults.

As far as trends go, we kind of have an unwritten rule that we won’t shoot it if it sounds boring to us. How can anything be great if your heart isn’t in it?

In March and April, we’re exploring the trend of the Fluid Self and the importance of having representations of diversity in stock. What’s your approach to creating and curating collections that are inclusive?

It’s not just about who we’re shooting, but how we’re shooting them — in what light are we painting this picture? Finding new ways to shoot people who have often been stereotyped, or excluded entirely, is hugely motivating and a definite driving force for The Stacks. More brands are starting to understand the importance of recognizing and embracing this concept, and we’re excited to be a part of this growing movement through stock.

It’s another reason authentic content is so crucial. When someone uses one of our clips, we want it to represent the people in it in the best possible way. By striving for authenticity, we hope to help break down stereotypes and work toward a shift in the way brands advertise their products and services.

Do you have any advice for contributors starting out in stock video?

Speaking to the photographers who are looking to expand their reach: for all the commonalities video and photography share, it’s important to remember that they are entirely different mediums. Outside of the technical differences, any given clip in the film/video world is likely to be just a small part of a larger story, whereas a photograph absolutely must be able to tell the whole story by itself. In stock footage specifically, the challenge is in not knowing what that larger story is and creating content versatile enough to fit into many narratives. One must consider the edit and the ways in which motion within the shot will cut into a larger story.

If you’re a photographer looking to get started with stock video, read up on our best tips for a smooth transition. Check more clips from The Stacks on Adobe Stock for inspiration.


Topics: Creativity, Video & Audio

Products: Stock