VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Video Project Guide

Gathering Assets

An asset is any material that you bring into your video project. Your footage is just one type of asset, but there are many others like images, sound effects, and music. So the first thing to ask before starting to edit is: Do I have all of the assets I need to finish my project? And if not, where can I find them?

Copyright 101 and Fair Use

For any media that you use that you do not make, consider the usage rights that the creator established. Usage rights help you find content that you can use above and beyond fair use. Site owners can use licenses to let you know if and how content on their sites can be reused.

Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. Section 107 of the Copyright Act provides the statutory framework for determining whether something is a fair use and identifies certain types of uses—such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research—as examples of activities that may qualify as fair use. Section 107 calls for consideration of the following four factors in evaluating a question of fair use:

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Courts look at how the party claiming fair use is using the copyrighted work, and are more likely to find that nonprofit educational and noncommercial uses are fair. This does not mean, however, that all nonprofit education and noncommercial uses are fair and all commercial uses are not fair; instead, courts will balance the purpose and character of the use against the other factors below. Additionally, “transformative” uses are more likely to be considered fair. Transformative uses are those that add something new, with a further purpose or different character, and do not substitute for the original use of the work.
This factor analyzes the degree to which the work that was used relates to copyright’s purpose of encouraging creative expression. Thus, using a more creative or imaginative work (such as a novel, movie, or song) is less likely to support a claim of a fair use than using a factual work (such as a technical article or news item). In addition, use of an unpublished work is less likely to be considered fair.
Under this factor, courts look at both the quantity and quality of the copyrighted material that was used. If the use includes a large portion of the copyrighted work, fair use is less likely to be found; if the use employs only a small amount of copyrighted material, fair use is more likely. That said, some courts have found use of an entire work to be fair under certain circumstances. And in other contexts, using even a small amount of a copyrighted work was determined not to be fair because the selection was an important part—or the “heart”—of the work.
Here, courts review whether, and to what extent, the unlicensed use harms the existing or future market for the copyright owner’s original work. In assessing this factor, courts consider whether the use is hurting the current market for the original work (for example, by displacing sales of the original) and/or whether the use could cause substantial harm if it were to become widespread.

Finding Videos and Images

Use the filter search feature on each site to find CC-licensed content. Capture video via screen recording using Quicktime on Macs or ActivePresenter on PCs.
YouTube The largest video-sharing website, which allows users to upload, view, share and find videos  | Non-profit digital library with collections of digitized free movies, music, images, websites and more
Vimeo Video-sharing website, more focused on high-quality creative content  | 
Google Video Use the Google Video search to browse the web for videos not necessarily hosted on YouTube  | 
Images and Photographs
Use the filter search feature on each site to find CC-licensed content. 
Creative Commons Search (beta) A Creative Commons search portal that provides convenient access to CC-searches on sharing sites Non-profit digital library with collections of digitized free movies, music, images, websites and more
Flickr A large image-hosting site with professional and amateur photographs  | 
Wikimedia Commons Online repository of free-use images, sound and other media files

Finding Sounds and Music

Download licensed or public domain sound for inclusion in your video. Capture audio from your browser using tools like Chrome Audio Capture.
Creative Commons Search Use this multimedia search engine to find various types of CC-licensed items from sources including Google Images, Soundcloud, Jamendo, Flickr and more.
Free Sound A collaborative database of CC-licensed sound. Freesound focuses on sound and sound effects, not music Non-profit digital library with collections of digitized free movies, music, images, websites and more
Free Music Archive CC-licensed music grouped by genre  | 
ccMixter CC-licensed music for film, video and games  | 
CCTrax CC-licensed music grouped by genre  | 
Incompetech CC-licensed and royalty-free music from one composer  | 
Soundcloud Audio-sharing site with a decent amount of CC-licensed music  |