If you’re a budding drone entrepreneur, you probably already understand the value of a good demo reel. After all, this will be the video that you show to clients and (hopefully) the video that people see on YouTube when they search your name. Because you’re only ever as good as your last video, you want to make sure that any demo reel you make is something you’re truly proud of.
We’ve all seen demo reels on YouTube and we all understand that they’re not created equally. Some reels are fantastic while others come across sloppy, careless or just boring. Because an understanding of how to make a great drone demo reel will enable you to differentiate yourself from the competition, we’ve assembled some tips to help you along the way.
It is easy to assemble a 2-3 minute compilation of footage, slap some music behind it, publish it to YouTube and start cold emailing to every potential customer you have. This definitely isn’t the best way to do things.
This reel, after all, is intended to show your prospective clients that you know what you’re doing. You need to use this reel to build credibility and authority. Even if you have a handful of decent shots, you want to make sure that the video is put together in a way that shows you care about quality. Put a logo at the front of your video and take time to make sure it’s edited in the best possible way. If you have the money to pay a professional or a friend who knows what they’re doing, have them do an intro for your reel. Going the extra mile in your demo will show the audience that you’ll go the extra mile for them.
As any professional pilot will tell you, your cinematography skills aren’t worth anything if the subject is boring. A smooth, buttery video of something boring is obviously just not as valuable as a smooth, buttery video of something exciting. While you obviously want to have a good mix of shots (some smooth, some quick, things that demonstrate your technical expertise), you want to make sure that your footage depicts cool and interesting things. Finding eye-catching and beautiful subjects will increase the value of your reel immensely.
It is important to keep in mind that you don’t have to live in the Bahamas to get beautiful shots. There are video-worthy things everywhere in the world that, if shot at the right time of day, lend themselves to amazing aerial footage.
Instead of just splicing all of your best footage together in a random order, it helps to captivate your viewer if the demo reel works to communicate some kind of story. Placing your clips in a narrative structure, as opposed to a mishmash of unrelated footage, will ensure that your audience maintains interest for the duration of your reel.
One of the things you’ll have to figure out, as a professional drone pilot, is which footage to show which audiences. Particularly when you’re working across multiple fields and markets, you need to understand that each audience will want to see something different. If you’re showing your demo reel to the owner of a hotel, for example, you want to make sure that your reel includes footage of other hotels or similar properties. It is easier to sell somebody something if they can already see themselves in it. This will give them the opportunity to project their business into your video and see how you’ve helped other businesses with your service.
That being said, you also want to consider the space in which your audience will be viewing the reel. You might want to make multiple videos, each catered to the context they’ll be experiencing your video.
A YouTube demo reel, for example, should be short enough to hold the attention of a viewer bouncing from video to video. A reel meant to be shown at a convention can be longer and include more information about the services you offer. Building each version of your reel around the needs and desires of your audience will help you to customize the experience each audience has when viewing your work.
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