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Envato celebrates ‘Space Day’ with SpaceStockFootage!

Today, May 6, is Space Day!

To celebrate we thought it would be nice to do a feature on one of the more curious members of the Envato Community, SpaceStockFootage, who first began on the marketplace as RedScreenDigital. Over the last five years he has cornered the space niche across almost all of our marketplaces and by focussing on this theme he’s been able to build a sustainable income from stock video, graphic and audio assets.

I asked him about the moment he knew he’d stumbled onto a successful niche, how he’s managed to make space themed items for multiple marketplaces and what the plans are for the future of SpaceStockFootage.

Why space? You’ve really become the leader in that niche, so what drives you to create those particular items? Is it based on a lifelong obsession with space, the beauty of it, or was it simply that you saw a gap in the market?

All of the above I’d say! I’ve always been a massive fan of space and astronomy since I was very young. Telescopes, magazines on space, sci-fi books and films… I even used to pay attention in science lessons at school!

Spinning Earth with Yellow Sun and Lens Flare

“I think this was the first item I uploaded, back in the mists of time before I started SpaceStockFootage. Definitely needs some work!”

“It wasn’t so much as seeing a gap in the market, but keeping a close eye on what was selling in my existing portfolio.”

It wasn’t so much as seeing a gap in the market, but keeping a close eye on what was selling in my existing portfolio. I’ve had non-space stuff before, but my space and sci-fi items always seemed to sell very well. Once I’d picked up on that, it made sense to go for a niche and brand myself accordingly.

And, I’m not gonna a lie… adding CC Sphere to an Earth texture in After Effects is ridiculously quick and easy, which appeals to my inherent laziness!

You’re on almost all of our marketplaces from VideoHive to 3DOcean with most of your items exploring the space theme. Do you yourself make all of the items across those different formats?

I don’t make all my items, no. I’m not that talented unfortunately! Every month or two, I’ll take a day or two off and make a list of all the items I want to create. That list is usually influenced by stuff that has inspired me recently, or items that are currently doing well in my portfolio. I’ll then figure out if I have the skills and ability to create all of those items. If there’s something where I’m not going to be able to do it justice, and the cost is warranted, then I’ll hire somebody to create it for me. That might be the entire item, or just an element of it that I’m having trouble with. I’d say 90% of my portfolio is all me though.

Like the recent article on Community.Envato about cross-selling, motion graphics previews are always better with music and/or sound effects, but I’ve always felt a bit bad sending buyers off to other people’s items to get the music from them…So I’ve hired musicians to create a selection of music tracks and sound effects elements that I can use in my preview videos. Those items are also available on AudioJungle so I can link to them in my descriptions.

Global Network – Orange

“This was the first item where I hired somebody else to help out. I knew what I wanted, and although the Earth was easy, I’ve never been that good at particle work… so I decided to bring somebody in. With three different color versions, I’ve had 303 sales over ten months, so I think it was a sound investment!”

– Audio Track “Deep Space Two” by SpaceStockFootage

What is your background? Did you study astronomy?

Yes and no. I didn’t go down the university route, although you could say I’ve been a lifelong learner when it comes to astronomy.

Just a couple of years ago I was on an astrophysics course at Liverpool John Moores University. It’s only a short distance learning course on planetary atmospheres, but it’s at degree level, and you get university credit at the end that can contribute towards a bachelor’s degree. I’ll be doing more when I have the time and the money.

“Accuracy isn’t exactly sexy…so I have to take a bit of creative license. But, I try to make sure the important things are right” 

I try and put that knowledge to good use when creating my items, trying to make them as accurate as possible. Accuracy isn’t exactly sexy though, so I have to take a bit of creative license. But, I try to make sure the important things are right: the direction planets rotate; relative position of stars; how astronomical objects look in visible light as opposed to X-Ray for example; making sure the Moon isn’t 100 miles from Earth etc!

As for my work background, I’ve mainly done sales and customer service. My last “proper job” was a customer experience and process manager for a large telecommunications company. That’s before I was made redundant in 2009 and I made the switch to VFX and motion graphics.

Mars Lander One

“I’m quite proud of all my Mars clips. Always been a big fan of Mars and I did a series of clips on the exploration and colonization of Mars. About a dozen of which were used in a documentary on the possible colonization of Mars.”

“Having a residual income from my sales on Envato means that I’ll have money coming in every month…”

Where are you based?

I’m Scottish, born in England and spend a lot of time in Spain. So I split my time between the UK and Southern Spain. Although I’m off travelling at the end of May – first stop, the US of A for a couple of weeks, and then on to South East Asia. Having a residual income from my sales on Envato means that I’ll have money coming in every month while I’m away, so long as I’m sensible with my money, which is unlikely, I could be travelling indefinitely.

Australia is on the list of places to visit, so I might swing by the Envato compound and see if I can blag a cup of tea and a biscuit. Or a shower. Or somewhere to sleep.

What’s your strongest suit? Video, audio, photography, animation…?

Definitely video and animation, specifically VFX and motion graphics. If I was just uploading photos and my own musical compositions, then I’d probably still be at Level 1 for sales!

“You can create something that you think is great, which you’re really proud of…and wish you’d never bothered. Or you can create stuff that you wish you’d never bothered with, and it ends up selling really well!”

What’s the item you’re most proud of?

That’s a tough one! You can create something that you think is great, which you’re really proud of, and then you sell one of them over the period of a year and wish you’d never bothered. Or you can create stuff that you wish you’d never bothered with, and it ends up selling really well!

It’s always great to see your clips in the wild though, so I’m particularly proud of some of my items that have appeared in film trailers, documentaries etc.

Some places where SpaceStockFootage’s items have popped up recently:

What’s the item that took the most work?

My recent World Map Kit item, that’s why I hired somebody else to do it! I couldn’t bring myself to mask out every single country. My hand was going numb by the end of the US Map Kit, and that only had 50 states. I handled all the other map kits though, just so you know!

World Map Kit

“I created this after the success of my International Space Station View clips. It was around that point where I really started to think about usability of items. Providing layered clips, transparency, the ability for people to add their own content.”

Was there an item you released that suddenly convinced you that you were onto something?

I’d say “International Space Station View”. It was probably the first item that I realised where it was possible to get more than one or two sales per month! It did help that the item was featured though, and that inspired me to create different versions along the same theme to maximise sales.

It was probably around that time that I decided to start focussing more on VideoHive as it was then that I realised it was possible to make a decent amount of money on Envato. Sure, there are plenty of Elite Authors, but I think a lot of people feel they’ll never reach that level, that it’s too far off. I’m still a long way off, but with plenty of hard work and a decent plan of action, I’m hoping I’m only years away, rather than decades or millennia!

International Space Station View Kit

“I created this after the success of my International Space Station View clips. It was around that point where I really started to think about usability of items. Providing layered clips, transparency, the ability for people to add their own content.”

“The more I earn from stock, the less I have to rely on freelance work,”

Was there ever a point where you weren’t gaining enough traction and thought of giving up?

Not in the past eighteen months or so, since I’ve been putting in the effort. I think I’ve been earning nearly 20% extra month on month, for the last eighteen months or so… which is a good motivator! The more I earn from stock, the less I have to rely on freelance work, so the more time I can spend creating more stock. It seems to be snowballing at the moment, which is nice!

Finally, what are your plans for the future of SpaceStockFootage? Keep creating, or is there a new strategy?

Well I’ll be travelling the world for the next year or so. I missed out on the whole gap year thing when I was younger, so I’m making up for lost time! I’ve been to a few places in Europe and the US, but there’s still plenty of the world to explore.

I’ll be taking my laptop, so new items will be popping up in my account for the foreseeable future.

Can’t see there being many complex CG renders on my laptop though! I have bought a DJI Osmo to take with me, with the intention of shooting some stock footage while I’m travelling. Wildlife, temples, landscapes, cities etc. I’ve set up a new account for that, to keep it separate from my space content. Took a while to think of a name for it, but I think EarthStockFootage is quite fitting!

But yeah, I’ll still be making space and sci-fi stuff for as long as I’m coming up with new ideas and until my mind and body no longer function correctly. Hopefully that won’t be any time soon!

Check out SpaceStockFootage on Envato Market


Dom Hennequin

About the Author Dom Hennequin

Dom is the host of the Famous 5, and Community Content Coordinator at Envato.