In a casual survey of Super Bowl commercials from 2015 to 2016 we saw a roughly 700% increase in those commercials using some kind of aerial shot. We expect an increase in the 2017 commercials as well. You see them everywhere now. And if aerial footage seemed like some secret production element that only big production houses could use, that's no longer the case. With the number of drones in the "wild" today, it's more available and affordable than ever and it's no wonder why it's quietly becoming the new "must-have" element.
If you've used stock footage before, you know the drill, if you haven't, it can be a game-changer. There is an unbelievable number and array of clips available, but aerial shots from drones are particularly stunning. This footage is a unique point of view as drones are not legally allowed to fly over 400 feet, and helicopters are not allowed to fly lower than 500 feet (ref: here
). And the top drone pilot/operators have been flying for years.
It can be a bit time-consuming; looking through stock sites for the right clip, but when you do get that right clip, bang! Suddenly your "regular" video now has real production value. Most people won't even know what it is but when they see a sweeping shot over trees or a zoom out and up revealing a snowy mountain with ski tracks, they'll just say "whoa" when your video stops.
Here's the best part: cost. You can find a stock clip that is "close enough" to a clip for pennies on the dollar compared to hiring a drone pilot. An experienced drone operator who is commercially approved will run you anywhere from $2,000-$5,000 per day to do your custom shoot. Yes, it will hopefully be EXACTLY what you want, but unless you have an unlimited budget then you can get darn close for $45 or less, or up to $200 or so for a 4K clip.
An unexpected outcome of a stock footage search, however, is coming across shots you didn't even expect you'd want, or even seeing something that spurs other ideas. Searching for drone footage, or any stock imagery, can be time-consuming but rarely is it boring.
If I sound like I'm suggesting a "keeping up with the Joneses" approach to your videos, in this regard you guessed right. There are lots of editors out there, so any competitive edge you can get is a good one. Aerial shots from drones are cheap, plentiful and becoming an expected production element. If you want to be considered a serious content creator these days, then seriously consider using aerial stock footage from drones.