FootageHub Brand Spotlight Q & A

Interview with Ribbit Films


Q: When did Ribbit Films begin shooting?
A: We started in June 2004 in New York City. After doing a few shoots there, we moved production to the San Francisco Bay Area due to the tremendous technical talent pool there. There are a lot of crews that do ILM and Lucasfilm work that were available to us.

Q: What motivated you to begin filming green screen stock footage?
A: While working closely with several motion graphics and post-production houses in New York, it was apparent that every single shot goes through some form of post, whether it was color correction or roto work. Compositing was being done on everyone’s workstation, and the need for green screen footage was voiced by nearly every artist.

Q: Your library is full of great shots of people doing various activities. How do you come up with ideas for the subject matter you're going to shoot next?
A: It comes down to authenticity over context. Humans are highly sensitive to human motion and can instantly tell whether someone is skilled at a particular action or not. Take soccer for example; lots of stock footage producers think in context, that some agency will need a soccer kick for their project. But what they really need is a real “futbol” kick – an authentic motion. We don’t shoot a lot of people walking or applauding, because everyone can shoot that. We look for the dynamic actions that only real athletes or performers can execute.

Q: What are some of the challenges you face in filming green screen footage?
A: Shooting on green screen or any chromakey background is a very clinical form of shooting. In regular shoots, you use a light meter. With chromakey shooting, you have to know color temperatures, specifically the chroma and luma levels, so a vectorscope is a must-have on set. The other great challenge is lighting; you need a ton of light to shoot a proper green screen production.

Q: How difficult is it for your talent to act out imaginary scenes for a green screen shot?
A: We only hire professional and semi-pro talent, especially with the athletes. They’re quite used to performing their skill sets without any tangible reference points (such as a net or goal), as they’ve done it thousands of times.

Q: Which camera do you prefer for shooting stock footage?
A: We’ve gone with the Panasonic Varicam in the past, mostly because they provided 60fps, Progressive. But the next time we go into production, we’ll be calling up the RED.

Q: What advice can you give to shooters who are just getting started in the stock footage industry?
A: Make sure you have signed model and property releases on every shot. Especially if you want your footage to be available for the Fortune 1000 companies – they typically require thorough releases before they even look at your stuff.

View all of Ribbit Films

About Ribbit Films:

San Francisco-based Ribbit Films produces pre-keyed green screen footage, specializing in sports and performance themes. Established in 2004, Ribbit Films is the industry leader in pre-keyed footage and has been used by ABC, ESPN, NBC, CNN and FOX, as well as by Fortune 500 companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Volkswagen, and Nike.