How to Find the Best Free Videos

Camera, Bokeh.. Action!

Web masters, presenters, and videographers all need video clips every now and then, and there’s a wide world of open content that you can incorporate into your works without paying a dime.  By combining these with great free pictures and audio, you can create some amazing work without breaking the bank or risking copyright infringement!

One year in 40 seconds from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo.


You can embed any YouTube video as is in your website, as per their terms of service.  There is a small button underneath the video window that says “Share,” if you click the Embed button, it will give you the html code you need to put it on your website or blog.

To get videos you can really play under a Creative Commons license you can enter the search term, “creativecommons” all one word, or:

  1. Enter a search term into the search bar and click search.
  2. Above the search results will be a long row of links. Including “Filter & Explore” at the very left. Click this one.
  3. At the bottom of the fourth column, click “creative commons”

Voila! A whole list of creative commons videos for you to use.


All Vimeo videos are offered under a very limited open content license.  Mostly useful for embedding in websites, their Terms of Service state that you may modify or make derivatives of the work “solely to the extent necessary to view the videos.”  It also states that individuals who upload videos are essentially allowing Vimeo to provide it for embedding on third party websites.

You can search for the term “Creative Commons” (use quotes) so that if the creator has elected to say it’s created under creative commons licensing in the comments, you’ll find it.  If they do, it means you can do more than just embed, depending on the license used.  You can then arrange by most played, most commented, etc.  You can also search with another term alongside “creative commons,” such as:

love, “creative commons”

It would be better if Vimeo had a specific field for licensing that could be used in search criteria, but, c’est le vie.

The Internet Archive

With more than 500,000 videos available under open content licenses, this is a great place to look.  Once you’ve entered a search term, there is a host of ways to refine your search along the right hand side of the window.

Open Video Project

The Open Video project is a small collection of videos for use under open content licensing.  They’ve got about 4,000 videos you can peruse, but their search capabilities are limited.

Open Courseware

More limited in scope, but a lot of online open courseware, such as Kahn Academy, or MIT Open Courseware has video that is offered under an open content license.

Big Buck Bunny from Blender Foundation on Vimeo.

See the rest of our Free Media Guide for more info on how to license, find, and make the best open content!

Creative Commons Love: Attila con la camara on

Written by Michael Jones
Michael JonesHow to Find the Best Free Videos