Video Blocks

videoblocks

As a motion designer it’s always good to have a large assortment of stock footage in the toolbox. Video Blocks is a resource that could conveniently help you out of a tight spot or deliver your design message with some extra impact. Video Blocks has a subscription download model, offering over 30,000 clips across various categories.

Although some categories were limited, I found that there was generally quite a reasonable selection. Main search categories include US Cities and Locations, International Locations, Nature and Animals, Timelapse, Ariel, Slow Motion, Speciality and Looping backgrounds.

The Timelapse category has loads of useful clips including a range of clouds that we use regularly in our work. I did notice that some of the cloud footage was posterized, possibly to disguise upsizing to HD.

It’s always good to have a large assortment of stock footage in the toolbox

In the looping background category there were plenty of pieces to choose from although personally I found many to be too complex and fast paced to use. Ideally I would like to have the option to layer a couple of clips to create my own complexity within a project.  Some loops I tested were seamless whilst others such as ones with a sky or simple 3d models were a dissolve transition.  I probably wouldn’t use many of the the backgrounds with 3D models as I found them to be very basic and unrealistic.

There are are good range of looping light effects which always come in handy either by themselves as quick backgrounds for text or combined with other layers.

A few pieces that I came across were probably a little short (around 5 seconds duration) which could be a problem depending on your project timing, and some of the graphical backgrounds appear to have been created using Adobe After Effects and not always in the best way.

In the Slow Motion category there was a limited selection of fire, water, smashing, splatting and exploding type footage. As this is the kind of footage I tend to use most often in my projects I hope the selection grows because at the moment it could be a tad limited for choice.

Overall, for the convenience to download whatever you want, whenever you want and for $49/month, Video Blocks is a good design resource that with some additions over time could prove to be quite valuable. The 7 day free trial at least is a no-brainer, allowing you to download 20 clips a day for 7 days, so you can try before you subscribe.

Discuss
  1. Angel Reddy
    Reply

    I subscribed for video blocks 7 day free trial and forgot to cancel the subscription and they have charged me $79 for the subscription. Their refund policy says that I am eligible for a refund if i have not downloaded anything. And I have not downloaded any videos from their website from the date of subscription. I downloaded one video during the free trial on the day I subscribed just to check whether it is working. Their free trial is a scam… its not Free…

    They write in some terms and conditions which we never read ‘If you do not cancel your free trial subscription within 7 days of the date you start your trial, your subscription will continue automatically and the monthly fee will be billed’.

    This site is a FRAUD and THEY ARE THERE ONLY TO CHARGE PEOPLE AND LOOT THEIR MONEY. DONT EVER SUBSCRIBE TO IT. THEIR FREE TRIAL IS A MYTH AND DECEPTIVE. If its a genuine company, they are supposed to inform the customer about the billing like netflix, amazon and etc ofcourse if you start your company deceiving people God will not bless you.. and you will not grow but fall flat on your face…

  2. Mike
    Reply

    Angel, their site clearly says “Your VideoBlocks.com membership, which starts with a 7-day free trial, will begin when you click Start Free Trial. Simply cancel anytime in the first 7 days, and you will not be charged.” You forgot to cancel, so you were charged. That’s the risk of using these types of trials, which are very common these days. Don’t sign up if you are afraid you might forget to cancel before the billing begins

    • Angel Reddy
      Reply

      Yes ! Its my mistake that I forgot to cancel. I was always under the impression that they will send me an email whether I am willing to continue. But it didnt happen that way. But finally after speaking to the customer service, they have returned my $79 money understanding my concern as it was a genuine one. I appreciate that ! Nevertheless I feel that they should have clear-cut policies which will help customers to have trust in their service. Business news spreads through word of mouth in a better way.

  3. Lexander
    Reply

    This is my VideoBlocks experience:

    When you call the customer service representative, you’ll get the feeling like she’s watching television while talking to you. Doesn’t care. Is only marginally paying attention. And she will repeat the same phrase over and over: “It’s company policy not to issue refunds.”

    They use a sneaky tactic to get your money, deceptive “Free Trials.”

    You use it once for a project during the 7 days free trial, then they’ll sneak payments right by you.

    You will never receive emails telling you that you’ve been billed. No invoices. No “thank you for your business” messages. Nothing.

    They try and keep as quiet as possible so you don’t realize they’re “legally” charging you $49.00 every month because you agreed to their ToS. You might not use the website for months, even forget about it. One day you’ll check your bank account and there, you’ll find charges of $49.00 every month.

    When I eventually noticed these charges, I called immediately. The customer service agent answered as if I woke her up from a nap. I explained how these charges had been happening for two months now, and that, at the very least, this third charge of $49 should be refunded to me. I explained that I only used the website once, three months ago, to download during the 7-day free trial, so getting a refund for the last charge, at the very least, would be fair.

    Like a robot, she repeated the policy. Unsympathetic, she sounded eager to get off the phone and continue doing whatever else she was doing, perhaps checking her facebook. “No refunds!”

    The bottom line is that VideoBlocks.com uses a sneaky, inmoral business model that relies on customers forgetting about VideoBlocks.com so they can continue charging and charging and charging without us ever knowing.

    Stay away. Do business with respectful companies, not businesses that use stealth tactics to get your money.

  4. Wilson
    Reply

    Alexander, thank you for warning!

    Whether to show the quality of the products that leave it open for 7 days without registration credit card is good if the person will continue to pay, do not worry.

    And to minimize the fake accounts (abuse) consider the IP user, simple.

  5. BSmith
    Reply

    THIS IS A SCAM. EVEN AFTER CANCELING OR AFTER NOT DOWNLOADING VIDEOS THEY DO CONTINUE TO CHARGE PER MONTH. AVOID AT ALL COSTS!

  6. chris
    Reply

    I too had a bad experience not a recommend site to use!

  7. wibble
    Reply

    Stop bitching!

    If you don’t have enough brains to cancel your subscription then it’s your own fault – they’re doing exactly what they say they will do in their terms and conditions.

    • Glyster
      Reply

      All the negative reviews are true. People should be warned about VideoBlocks.com shady business practice.

  8. Thomas Bodetti
    Reply

    This company is allegedly in violation of the FTC guides which state that offers that involve credit card charges as a component of a “free” trial must conspicuously post on the same page as the offer the price associated with the “Free” Trial. Clearly Videoblocks.com does not comply with this provision, it is only a matter of time…

  9. Pastor Flash
    Reply

    I have taken advantage of the free offer three times using three different email addresses, and I have acquired a some beautiful HD video without being billed a penny. If you’re too stupid to cancel within seven days as clearly specified, then you’re probably too stupid to function as a professional editor, so why bother.

    • vap
      Reply

      Yup, and when you use PayPal, make sure you cancel 24 hours before subscription expires

      • Babs
        Reply

        Hi,
        Is it possible to pay via PayPal for this service?
        It only indicates payment via a credit card on their website.

  10. Don
    Reply

    Wow. I was considering trying this service, and this page came up while I was searching for reviews. You know what? None of the comments have discouraged me. Some people are clearly trying to game the system and get something for nothing. That’s kind of sleazy to begin with, knowing from the getgo that you plan to cancel regardless of how good a service is. That’s just wrong. I couldn’t in good conscience do that.

    But blaming a seller for YOUR not reading the terms and conditions is, quite frankly, ridiculous. There is really NO EXCUSE, because anyone using stock footage should be even more interested in terms and conditions than say, a person making some general purchase. I ALWAYS read them entirely, even for the amateur footage I’ve downloaded for free from video bloggers. I need to know not only the costs, but what exactly I am permitted to do with that footage, and you should, too.

    I’m also a small business owner, so I am well aware how rude and unreasonable some customers can be. Some of the comments here gave me flashbacks to the customers from hell I’ve run into myself over the years. One commenter blamed this company because he/she forgot to cancel their subscription and expected to get a reminder.

    Whatever happened to personal responsibility? I’m genuinely surprised at some of you, and I’d also guess that some of the comments were written by the same person using different names.

    I’m not sure whether I’ll sign up for this service or not, but it won’t be because of anything I read here. I also won’t take them up on the trial until such time as I’d be willing to pay to continue, assuming I liked the service. We can’t treat the people we do business with poorly and have any reason to complain when customers do the same to us.

  11. Paul
    Reply

    I was just on the phone with my credit card CO and a rep from VIDEOBLOCKS and they love to use the words Terms & Conditions but they did not like it when I pointed out that I was cut off the minute I canceled the service and could not use the service. They said they would reactivate the service for 30 days and I said it is not in your Terms & Conditions. I told them the truth is that I had not signed up for a service from Sept 10th to Oct 10th and did not need their service and I was not paying for services I was locked out on.

    Here is a copy of my original complaint to my credit card Co that resulted in the call I got. I am also local to this Co and I am thinking real hard about suing them.

    To: HSBC Card Services
    PO Box 81622
    Salinas CA 93912-1622

    I am notifying HSBC that I believe that VIDEO BLOCKS.COM RESTON VA made a false representation of why the wanted my credit card. I am attaching a screen grab that show where they said it was needed to keep people from abusing the free sign up.

    After speaking to their Rep on 9-1-2011, she advised me that it was stated in the terms and conditions that there was auto billing after the 7 days. This contradicts what the prompt says when I signed up. I would note that I contacted Video Blocks within 24 hours of the billing and I left a detailed message as no one was answering the phone. I also canceled the service through the web at that time (8-27-2011). They want to bill me for a 30 day time period from 8-26-2011 to 9-26-2011 when now I can not even access the site because I canceled the service. I have not used this service at anytime during the one day that the service was active.

    Disputes are
    1. Website gave conflicting and deceptive information that got me to give up my credit card info.

    2. Service is billed for a 30 time period, I canceled it on the first day off billing but can no longer have access as a result and can’t use the service I have been billed for. I would expect to be able to use the service till it ran out otherwise. I AM BEING BILLED FOR A SERVICE I HAVE NO ACCESSES TOO

    3. I have not used the paid service and am being billed for that service.

    I canceled on lone and was give no confirmation. Please note is HSBC does not decide in my favor I intend to inform Video Blocks that I want to got to arbitration on this matter. I am asking HSBC to withhold payment till this is resolved.

    Paul XXXXXX
    1488 XXXXXXX

    XXXna, VA X2XX2
    X03-7X4-X8X5
    XXXXX3@me.com
    Account Number XXXX
    Case ID# XXXXXXXXX

    • Peter Matthews
      Reply

      We subscribed but have been ‘locked out’. Our web browsers cannot access the site.

  12. johan
    Reply

    Same thing here, forgot to cancel and got charged. Although you could argue that this is my fault this is close to fraudulent behaviour on their part. The website requires you to sign up your card in order to try and and I only received one email from them regarding the sign up process and no reminders.
    Not a single email warning me that I was about to shell out $79 for something I don’t want.
    Statutory rights apply on the net to and this is clearly a company that intentionally is trying to mislead me as a customer.
    Responsible companies follow up a free trial by offering you to sign up for a subscription not the other way around.

  13. randy
    Reply

    I can be a fool with these kinds of trials and have more than once been charged but I have to say I’ve learned to put it on a pop up reminder…I just cancelled this trial with no problems.
    Can anyone suggest a good site where one can buy just 1 clip at a time for a reasonable fee?
    Thanks,
    Randy

  14. Stup
    Reply

    When I read the complaints on her, I honestly have to wonder who dresses you people in the morning. You are blaming everyone else for your own stupidity.

  15. Dianne
    Reply

    Video Blocks preys on people who should be paying attention to the fine print. Who reads that? I guess I’m one of the “stupid” ones that some of you smug and arrogant folks talk about. Fortunately it only cost me $49 before I canceled. I wasn’t impressed with their videos, although some of the music was nice.

  16. David Schmerin
    Reply

    I was reading on site site about free stock footage and royalty free stock footage resources. First I wanted to say thank you for the information. I also wanted to let you know about another site for free stock footage. I run a site called http://www.bottledvideo.com where all we do is give away free stock footage. We currently have just over 10,500 clips online and ready for free download. One thing that makes our site a little different then the others is that we do not require registration, user accounts, or credit cards.

    I hope you will have a look at our site and if you feel it is of the caliber your readers would find useful, I hope you will pass along the information. Should you choose to do us the honor of a write up or review with a link to our site, please do let me know so we can get you listed on our Shameless Promotions page at http://bottledvideo.com/shameless_promotion.html

    Oh and if I may further impose, we are running a small video contest to help get the word out about free stock footage. If video contests are your cup of tea, I hope you will consider entering ours.
    http://bottledvideo.com/contest.html

    Thank you,

    David Schmerin
    Fearless Leader
    http://BottledVideo.com
    info@bottledvideo.com
    01-213-258-1626

  17. John Kelly
    Reply

    Videoblocks.com is a SCAM. They will take your money and give you access to horrible footage. If you want a headache, try it out. You’ve been warned. Customer service is non-existant. You call and leave messages, no one replies. This company is waiting for a lawyer with skill to shut them down. Everyone involved should go to jail.

  18. Jacob Behunin
    Reply

    Here is my experience with VideoBlocks.

    I saw the big ad that said FREE TRIAL. At this point, we should all know that there is a catch.
    I read a little bit of the fine print on the website, (that WASN’T hidden in some huge disclaimer), stating that after the 7 day trial, if you didn’t cancel, they would begin charging your account. It was written in black and white. So, I made a note to cancel before the 7 days was up, and I had no issues.

    Personally…if you didn’t cancel in time, thats kind of your fault. And I don’t think they’re frauds. Its not some Scam. At this point in the digital age, we should all know to look for these things. Companies do it all the time. We just need to be diligent.

    So, even though they’re policy kinda sucks, and they’re footage selection was mediocre, I still wouldn’t call them Scam artists or anything.

    Just my thoughts.

  19. Don
    Reply

    I commented back in August and wanted to give an update, since I had not tried Video Blocks at that time, and just gave my opinion about people complaining without first reading the terms.

    Since then, I have finally gotten around to giving it a try, and here is my take.

    The 7 day free trial is, indeed, a 7 day free trial. If you cancel within 7 days, there is no charge. ONE CAVEAT: You are limited to downloading 20 clips (I believe that’s per day, but can’t recall if it’s per day or for the trial period itself, so read the terms to confirm. Pretty sure that’s per day though.).

    This means if you EXCEED that download limit, you are at THAT point going to automatically convert to a regular subscription, and the cost begins at that time.

    This turned out to be ok with me, because I decided within a day or two that I liked it enough to subscribe. I wasn’t sure how to get out of the “trial” mode (20 clip) limitation and become a regular subscriber, and it being a weekend, I couldn’t call to ask. However, after downloading over 20 clips in one go, and not having it give me a “limit reached” notice, I realized that you are automatically converted to a paid subscriber once you either go over the trial limit, or after the 7 day period.

    So anyone complaining either downloaded more than their free clip allotment during the trial period, or just didn’t cancel during the trial period. That wouldn’t be the fault of Video Blocks. I did notice there is a link to cancel, but I didn’t use it, so I don’t know how that works. They do post their phone number prominently.

    As for the service itself, here is my review:

    1. It really is a bargain, and more so than I expected. They have TONS of content. The site states “50,000 clips.” I believe it!

    2. A fair amount of the content is standard definition, but LOTS of content was 1080 def. It’s hard to know the breakdown, but I’d guess at least close to 1/2 or maybe more, was 1080. It looks like that’s all that they are adding to it at this point.

    3. During the 3 weeks I’ve been subscribed, they’ve been adding more content (there is a category for “new” additions so you can see it).

    4. I’m not sure there’s much point in my describing the content, since you can search it the same as a subscriber, but there is a little bit of everything. I especially liked the aerials, which are not usually something in my budget.

    5. The content is not all “perfect.” There are some clips that aren’t particularly well edited (for example, someone walking across a frame and it ends before they are out of the frame on the other side). However, the abundance of content makes up for the clips that aren’t so great. And, some of the clips are truly spectacular (like the gorgeous ones of Kenya, if you want to search and have a look).

    6. One surprise. They also have a great music selection, which I had not noticed before signing up. Wow, that alone made subscribing totally worth it. The quality of the music (lots of it, in numerous categories and multiple lengths) was amazingly good. I have about 30 volumes of stock music on CD that I’d bought a couple of years ago (at around $40 per) and frankly, this is WAY better. Not your typical “electronica” cheesy stock music by any means.

    7. Download speed. Excellent, and another surprise. I really expected that to be sluggish, but it wasn’t at all. I was able to max out my connection speed at around 3MBS. Not too shabby.

    8. One note about the usage terms. I think the usage terms are about the best I’ve seen. Nothing dodgey in them. However, you can only use the clips for yourself (your own business or your own projects). If you are in the business of producing videos for other people to use for THEIR own purposes, they will need to subscribe. I’m guessing getting them a month’s subscription would meet that requirement, if you do project work like that.

    Bottom line, this service is a keeper, and I intend to maintain my subscription. I only know of one other service that’s similar, and it is about $20 a month more, doesn’t have as much of a selection, and no music. I’d have absolutely no reservations at all about recommending this to anyone.

  20. Saro
    Reply

    They know people are busy and don’t have the time to read all the small letter terms and check them out every morning. So they take advantage of it and ripoff people.

  21. Appreciative
    Reply

    Well, I was getting ready to try the free trial but read these horror stories and decided not to. I’ve been burned before and don’t need the hassle for a few free downloads. Thanks folks.

  22. les
    Reply

    Here my story – I subscribed as per the 7 days trial using Paypal -lucky i am using Paypal. After a check with my paypal account immediately, I realized that i will be charge USD79 after 7 days if i don’t cancel my subscription. I immediately cancel the recurring payment to Videoblock. Guess what? after i cancelled my payment, i cannot login anymore using the free 7 days trial. Scam? I dunno. Sneaky definitely!

    • freddy
      Reply

      Hey, Les-

      You know why you couldn’t login after canceling your payment?

      BECAUSE YOU CANCELED YOUR PAYMENT! HOW IS THAT A SCAM, JACKASS!?

      And did you read anything here? If you download footage then you do get charged! Don’t download anything, don’t get charged. How did you get scammed if you agreed to this in the TOS?

  23. David Schmerin
    Reply

    Hey Freddy…

    I think people tend to call this a scam because a free 7 day trial should be just that, a free 7 day trial. When I receive a complimentary magazine or web subscription saying if you do not cancel your subscription by a certain date I will be billed, if I cancel the magazine does not send someone out to collect the magazine or cancel my access because I canceled prior to their deadline. The very idea of canceling someone’s Free Trial because they say they are not interested in paying once the free trial is over is just somehow wrong. I would think it would be better to give an extra free 7 days to your first month’s subscription. While it may be bad for business it is at least honest.

    David Schmerin
    Fearless Leader
    http://BottledVideo.com Where all our footage is free for everyone
    info@bottledvideo.com

  24. sarka
    Reply

    yes i was also scammed 79$. you have to give them your credit card number to start your free trial, that’s not so cool but it’s okay. BUT there’s no reminders or whatsoever when they start charging you – nobody remembers everything they do online. the WORST part is when i noticed i was charged i just went to my account and chose to ‘CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION’ immediately, wow they cancelled my ENTIRE account! i can’t even access my account which i paid 79$ for getting hardly anything!!! AND, when i questioned them via chat online with customer service, THEY SHUT DOWN ON ME! i hope nobody uses this website anymore

  25. Wemaster
    Reply

    I too was ripped off! By the time by credit card came, and I checked it I had paid for two months of service. I couldn’t even remember who videoblocks was! I had clicked on their site, decided to look at their materials using the 6 free days. They said my card would not be charged… but they needed it to open my account. So I wasn’t thinking they would start charging me after the 6 free days. I called my credit card number and they told me they have had numerous complaints. They had detailed instructions of how to deal with this company. They said to insist that I get a cancellation confirmation number… which videoblock refused to supply. If you find some video clips, good for you, but if you don’t you will be paying for nothing… over and over again, maybe without you knowing about it.

  26. T Bam
    Reply

    If you’re looking for more motion graphics type work,you may want to check these guys out. They have a similar site, but no “Free 7 Day Ripoff.”

    I used them for one month, and had a fine experience. Hope it helps…

    http://motionarray.com

  27. Leroy
    Reply

    Thanks for the heads up guys! I almost bought in……….

  28. Graham
    Reply

    I thought I would add my experience with VideoBlocks, as I found this review while disputing a charge as many above commenters did.

    I do think it is sneaky to offer “free” trials that automatically convert to paid accounts, but that’s the way VideoBlocks works. It’s also the way a lot of less reputable companies work, like online porn sites. But I read the fine print and was well aware of the 7-day expiration / conversion to a paid account. Where they really got extra sneaky was in the timing. I signed up via an offer to Mac-forums users that happened to come 7 days exactly before the Thanksgiving holiday. I then promptly got busy with holiday plans and on midnight the morning following Thanksgiving, VideoBlocks charged my American Express card. But what follows is what really annoys me.

    Card services called me that morning because the charge looked suspicious. I searched the memory banks and realized what it was (I had completely forgotten the trial and had taken advantage of not a single download) and relayed that to Amex. They said, “no problem, we are blocking the biller for you” and advised me to contact them. So I went back to my email from VideoBlocks and followed the link to log in to my account. When I did, I got a message that my membership had been cancelled, but “we’d love to have you back” at the full membership rate.

    I thought this was very convenient: Amex blocked the charge so VideoBlocks cancelled the account upgrade. But that’s not quite the way it happened. Amex card security blocked the biller, not the pending charge. It still went on my bill. But why did VideoBlocks cancel my account then? I have no explanation as of yet, and I cannot seem to contact them without a valid account number. It all adds up to under-handed tactics, if you ask me. Fortunately, American Express is very willing to strong arm businesses for their customers. They are now disputing the charge.

    So – yes, I can dress myself. And yes, I recognize my error. But I can’t even use the footage. My account was cancelled without my input and I still got charged the $79. I didn’t cost them a dime, so I have no qualms about disputing the charge and refusing to pay. And I will trust my instincts the next time.
    Cheers.

  29. jeffbbz
    Reply

    I have also fallen victim to this. Yes, they are acting legally and it its not technically a “scam”. However it is very shady and sneaky way to operate. I expected an email asking me whether I wished to continue or not or some/any kind of notification. Or notifications on the website. I did not receive any of this. I generally do not sign up for these kinds of things but my other similar experience is when i signed up for a trial of Amazon Prime. Unlike this, they ended the service directly at the end of the trial as well as asking me multiple times if I wanted to continue. This is reasonable and what I expect. Video Blocks acts/acted sneakily and shadily. I’m sure they make a lot of money in this manner from people who forget to cancel/don’t pay attention carefully to terms & conditions, which is why they do this. But it doesn’t make them look like a friendly company, an ethical company, or a company that cares about their customer. They should voluntarily stop it for you or ask you if you would like to stop. They should also have a way to stop it after a certain time not just force you to remember to stop it at exactly the right moment at the end of the month.

  30. Kim Merwin
    Reply

    VIDEO BLOCKS is a SCAM! They offer a free 7 day trial and then begin charging you $79 a month! No invoice…..it’s aweful! Do not use this company just on their shoddy business principles!

    I am writing a letter to the company as well as the National Better Business Bureau.

    It’s just wrong!

  31. Allen
    Reply

    DO NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS. I could not even figure out how to cancel this and when I finally called it was after hours call service.

  32. Ken Cooper
    Reply

    These guys were a scam when they were the footage firm. They were suppose
    to send you DVDs with free footage just pay for the shipping $7.95 per DVD.
    I bought 3….2 months later nothing came….I called…nothing came…I called again nothing came…5 months later 1 DVD came with SD footage that looked like it
    was shot by a 6th grader. It’s a rip. I was really surprised when MotionWorks endorsed them. There is no mistake….it’s a rip period. Not this many people have a bad experience by mistake.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      I appreciate your concerns. When we reviewed Footage Firm we had no reason to doubt their work practices and so far haven’t had any issues ourselves when dealing with them. Best, John.

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