A well cut out demo reel can certainly help steer your work relationship in the right direction. A good demo reel will help your client visualize what they will get once they hire you. Lot of demo reels end up looking one and the same. So, think how you can be different and stand out from the crowd. For this, it is necessary to research the industry and your client needs before you start working on your demo reel. Checking out the various demo reels on YouTube is a good way of kicking off your research.
Are there any interesting locations that you can shoot? How about some editing tips and tricks for enhancing the appeal of your drone footage? Should you have one longer reel? Or multiple demo reels categorized by industry? Asking these questions will help you come up with an impressive demo reel that stands out.
Pro Tip - An hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset is the best time to shoot a demo reel
Newbies, who are just getting their feet wet in the drone industry will not have a big and varied portfolio – factors necessary to cut an impressive demo reel. What can you do in this case? Let’s say there is a particularly impressive real estate property that is on the market or an impressive car dealership that is looking to enhance their marketing efforts – offering free drone services in exchange for the rights to use the drone footage in your demo reel is always a strategy that you can explore. This is when your negotiation strategies come to the fore. Check out our podcast with former FBI negotiator, Chris Voss to learn how you can sharpen your negotiation skills. Gradually, as you get an opportunity to do cooler and cooler shots, you can make an even better demo reel.
Unless you sign off the rights to your drone footage, commercial photography rights state that you, the contractor own the rights to your drone footage. However, if you are an employee working for a company, the company owns the rights to the drone footage. Check out the Drone Pilot Field Kit for more information about this.
Often, even if you have not signed off the rights to your footage, the client may request you to refrain from using the footage in your demo reel. Doing otherwise might jeopardize your client relationship. What do you do in this case? Well, you can always post a private video onto Vimeo in order to showcase your work. Because you are privately sharing your work with prospects, your client will not end up knowing about this. Of course, if you wish to post the demo reel on your website and YouTube for SEO purposes, you cannot really employ this strategy.
Pro Tip – When you send out a Calendar Invite, under “Terms and Conditions”, you can include the Commercial Photography rights. So, if a client accepts your invite by agreeing to the terms and conditions, it is legally binding. Don’t you just love the digital world?
When you are starting out, a short demo reel that runs for 2 to 4 minutes might suffice. Advanced drone pilots offering a range of different services can consider having different demo reels categorized by industry. However, if you are attending a networking event, you can even consider having one long ten minute long demo reel that covers all your work across all industries.
Wondering what a great demo reel looks like? Check out Paul’s 2016 Demo Reel.
Editing is critical for cutting an impressive demo reel. Good editing is what makes the difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary. Check out our Editing course where we teach you all about camera settings, hardware requirements, lights and more. In order to stand out from the crowd, you can even have an animator design a custom intro for you.
As a drone pilot, you can choose to do the editing work yourself. Or, you can avoid spreading yourself too thin and outsource your needs. You can hire a good editor/animator on Upwork or Fiverr for around $15-$20 per hour. Make sure that you are clear with your requirements – or, you will end up with a shoddy product.
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