Envato Elements Review: How Does the Stock Asset Option Stack Up?
A few years ago, I discovered that incorporating stock footage into my YouTube videos made my job as video editor much easier while also adding more energy to my finished product. When I first started with stock video, I had a subscription to what was then known as Videoblocks and then Storyblocks Video. Unfortunately, when my most recent subscription expired, I learned that my plan had changed and would now end up costing me more. That realization sent me looking for an alternative — with that search landing me on Envato Elements.
So what does Envato Elements have to offer and how has it been serving me so far? Let’s take a look at a few things to know about the service.
Envato Elements Stock Assets Review
Plans, cost, and free trial
Let’s start off by talking about the price of an Envato Element subscription as, honestly, it was a big factor in why I decided to try a subscription. Currently, a yearly Envato Elements plan comes at a cost of $198 upfront, while a monthly option is $39. Additionally, they note that students receive a 30% discount.
What’s nice is that you can enjoy a 7-day free trial of Envato Elements. This should give you some time to explore the platform and make sure it meets your needs. On that note, you can also search the site’s assets without even creating an account if you want a preview of what they have to offer.
Per usual, once your free trial is up, you’ll automatically be charged for the paid subscription option you choose unless you cancel ahead of time. So, be sure to set yourself a reminder if you don’t want a surprise charge.
Something that’s pretty cool about Envato Elements is that you’ll have access to several different asset types as part of your subscription. This not only includes stock footage but also images, graphics, music, and even fonts.
Personally, I’ve used a few of these so far. While I mostly subscribed for the video, should I not be able to find a clip that fits my needs, I’ve had luck finding a still image that will do the job instead. Also, when I decided it was time to make a new channel trailer, you can bet I decided to see what Envato had available.
In all, Envato Elements says that it has more than 12 million assets available, including more than 3.8 million stock video clips and more than 7.2 million photos. So, with that, hopefully, you’ll be able to find useable content for all of your projects.
One aspect of Envato that’s a bit different than what I’m used to involves assigning your downloads to projects. When you go to download a clip, image, or song, you’ll be asked what project your plan to use the asset for. I’m not exactly sure how specific you need to be, but I usually enter a short version of my video topic or title.
The good news is that creating a new project is quite easy and assigning downloads to already established projects is every simpler. Plus, if you just want to preview something, you can download it without a license.
Looking at Envato’s FAQ, it says that the reason why it asks you to log your usage in this way is that it factors into how it pays creators. That makes sense… but it is a bit annoying to have to worry about each time you go to download something. Overall, this is far from a dealbreaker, but it’s definitely worth mentioning.
I’m not going to pretend to know all of the intricacies of stock footage licensing — but I think Envato does a good job at explaining what you are and aren’t allowed to do with your subscription. First, as a customer, you’ll be given a “broad commercial license,” allowing you to use assets for work and personal projects.
Naturally, there are a few things you can’t do under this license. Envato notes a few examples:
- You can’t re-sell, or re-distribute items
- You can’t use items in on-demand services
- You generally can’t use items as the basis for merchandising.
- You can’t use music items in a Broadcast presentation
By the way, if you have more specific questions about licensing, I’d recommend their help section.
Something important to note is that, under Envato’s terms, you are not allowed to use its assets for new projects if you are not actively subscribed. So, if you download a clip for one video while you’re a subscriber, cancel your subscription, and then want to use your downloaded clip for a new video, that would be a no-go.
Of course, if you did download and register an asset to a project while you were a subscriber, you’d still have the license to use it. As their site states, “If you unsubscribe, you can no longer use items from Envato Elements. However, any existing uses that you registered are still covered.”
Note that these policies do differ from some other stock footage sites, so make sure you understand these terms before signing up for the service.
When you select a video clip from Envato Elements, it will typically show you at least some basic information about the content. This may include the length, resolution, frame rate, and more. That way, you have a better idea of what you’re downloading before you actually download it.
With that said, while other platforms I’ve used have allowed customers to select what resolution and file type they preferred to download, that’s not an option with Envato (at least not that i’ve found). Because of this, I often find myself downloading clips that are in 4K resolution or higher even though I edit in 1080p. As a result, not only does it take longer for my content to download but also takes up more space on my hard drive and has been known to affect my playback experience in Premiere when I’m trying to edit on my laptop. Again, this isn’t the end of the world, but I do truly wish there was an option to download regular HD clips instead.
The bottom line
All in all, I’ve been happy with my Envato Element subscription so far. Since subscribing, I’ve had no issues finding stock footage, images, and (in one case) music that fit my project well. Just like with my previous stock footage experience, this has made editing my YouTube videos a much more enjoyable experience and resulted in better content overall (IMHO).
At the same time, if I could change anything about Envato, my first suggestion would be to allow users to choose what type of file they want so that I don’t waste time and hard drive space downloading 4K clips. Also, it is kind of annoying to have to log my clips by project, but I understand why this procedure exists.
Nitpicks aside, I’m definitely impressed with Envato Elements and the value it presents in comparison to other stock solutions. In fact, I’m personally saving $160 a year versus my previous subscription (the delta is even larger with a monthly plan). For all of those reasons, if you’re a YouTuber or other creator in search of an affordable catch-all stock content option, I think it’s worth giving Envato Elements a look.
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