How Drones Put Awesome Aerial Footage at your Reach

The constant development in drone (unmanned aerial vehicles) technology has been very interesting to follow. Despite it's various applications in different fields of action, like warfare or security-related, the landing of drones in the film making industry has also had its quota of controversy.

Debates aside, it's quite evident that drones are significantly transforming the art of filmmaking, and they are inaugurating a new stage in visual content creation, and the business connected to it. As part of this, stock footage is also experiencing changes since the dawn of drone footage.

By opening up new ways to capture aerial imagery, extending the access to more creators to devices capable of shooting it, and reducing by much the costs of making these shots, drones are visibly increasing the pool of aerial content being produced.

Where to Buy Drone-Shot Stock Footage

Here we will tell you all you need to know about drone footage and its landing in the market. But first things first: you need to know where to buy it.

And the answer couldn't be simpler: most of the top stock footage agencies have drone footage clips available in their libraries. As it couldn't be otherwise, they go where the market goes.

Most of our Top 5 Agencies to Buy Cheap Stock Footage include drone videos. At Getty Images, Shutterstock, iStock, Storyblocks and Pond5 you're certain to find them. Visit these agencies to buy great drone-shot stock footage. If you want to really get into it, make sure to check our Guide to Buy Stock Footage like an Expert!

And always check our Offers to seize special deals and save money in your purchases.

Now you know where to buy it, learn why you should!

Drones in Filmmaking Industry

Since drones got authorized and started to be used for filmmaking (and photography too), they have been gaining more and more ground in the filmmaking industry.

There's a considerable amounts of companies that offer drone filmmaking services, where you can rent out the devices and also hire an expert to operate it, and get a custom shoot for your project. There's also production companies that create drone footage upon commission. And, yes, there's drone-shot clips in stock footage agencies.

Besides this, the drone offer for the end consumer is improving as well. Different drone makers are teaming up with renowned professional camera companies to develop drones that are capable of taking high resolution, professional quality imagery, and their price points are aimed at the mass market.

At the moment. content that is suitable for professional use in TV and film is still a little bit away from the current off-the-shelf drones in the market, but at the current pace this should change soon, and more and more people will be able to acquire their own drones to shoot high quality footage.

Meanwhile, this kind of content is already being adopted in mainstream media and by big production studios and brands. Huge movies like James Bond – Skyfall, or Transformers – Age of Extintion have used drone-shot footage, showing the amazing potential of this technology. Prime time TV shows like Criminal Minds and others have also included drone shots in their episodes. As for advertising, big brands like Audi have used this kind of content in their commercials.

And the artistic world is not behind. There's already several events around drone footage and filmmaking, like the Drone Film Festival or the Flying Robot International Film Festival. And there's lots of talented filmmakers creating awesome things using drones, like renowned artist Philip Bloom with his awared “Koh Yao Noi” or Corridor Digital with their viral “Superman with a GoPRo”.

Drone footage is everywhere, and there's three big reasons why.

New Ways to Shoot, Never Before Seen Content

One of the stand-out points of its innovative power is in the content you can produce with them.

Until drones entered the industry, aerial or from-above shots were done using helicopters, airplanes, cranes, and other common methods. While visually compelling, these shots had inherent limitations due to the vehicles and devices used.

Being lighter, smaller, and remote-operated, drones make possible to shoot in ways that were simply unthinkable with traditional methods. You can shoot scenes that go from really high down to ground level within seconds (and vice versa), you can take shots of places and subjects that you could never capture with a loud helicopter (like a peaceful pack of gacelles) or that you could've never take yourself (like the inside of a stretch cavern or the side of a sharp mountain's edge). You can also do outside-in scenes flying a drone through a window. You can get content that you would've never get before because sending a manned vehicle or a crew to shoot it would be too dangerous. The opportunities are broad and you can always discover new ones.

Drones are shaping up new ways for visual arts, new concepts in video shooting and are bringing you more chances to increase your production's value with great imagery that you could've never reached before.

Aerial Shooting Open to Everyone

Drones are also bringing aerial footage to a much greater group of people, and this is mainly because of the production costs.

While the offer in drones for filmmaking is still relatively small compared with the camera and accessories offer for traditional shooting, the cost of the devices is much lower than all the resources required to shoot aerial before: shooting with a good, reliable drone capable of taking high quality footage can cost 1/5, if not less, than what it'd cost to hire an helicopter shoot for one day.

In addition, the skill set needed to use drones is not as complex and strict as its traditional alternative. To operate drones in most countries you need a license, and that involves having knowledge on how to pilot them. Plus, you must be informed and abide the laws and regulations that apply to flying drones as well.

But still, this is much easier (and cheaper!) to do than learning how to pilot a helicopter, or hiring the vehicle and the pilot.

Like this, a lot more filmmakers and camera operators are getting into drone shooting. They are excited about the new horizons this technology lets explore, and the affordability of the devices and necessary permits and skills lets them do it.

Increasing Pool of Drone-Shot Content

Reducing the production cost has two immediate results: it boosts up the amount of content being created, and it lowers the price of the content for end users. And this is where stock footage industry gets involved.

Before drones, top-notch aerial footage at stock footage agencies was much less available. Most of the big stock agencies like Getty Images, and microstock agencies like Shutterstock and iStock, had collections of aerial shots, but these were small and limited, particularly at the latter two. Being so expensive to produce, not many creatives were keen on selling it at a microstock agency for less than $100 per license. Getty Images had higher price points, but still not high enough to make creatives think selling their aerial footage as stock was the best idea.

That is changing now. The increasing popularity of drone footage in mainstream media productions, added to the innovative shots and the lower production costs are making that every day more footage content is available for license at stock footage agencies. Mainly because the reduced expenses to create it now make these outlets' prices worthwhile for contributors.

So now you not only can create your own aerial custom shots easier, faster and cheaper. But you can also buy drone stock footage to spice up your proprietary content.

An Evolution in Aerial Footage

As said, drone footage is an interesting and growing trend, but it's still too soon to know exactly where it'll go. Right now only 10% of all mainstream TV and film productions are using it.

However, there's one thing that's clear, and that is that drone imagery has already changed the industry. It has brought ways to create content that was impossible to create before, a way that allows more people to create aerials, and that is more affordable to produce, to comission, and to license as stock.

If you haven't tried drone footage yet, you might be missing out in a trend that has a lot of potential to add value to your productions.

Find great aerial drone footage at some of the best stock footage agencies in the industry: Getty Images, Shutterstock, iStock, Videoblocks and Pond5. And don't forget to check our Offers to find great special deals to save in your purchases at these agencies!

Amos Struck
Amos Struck

I am a publisher and entrepreneur in the stock imagery field. I focus in providing knowledge and solutions for buyers, contributors and agencies, aiming at contributing to the growth and development of the industry. I am the founder and editor of Stock Photo Press, one of the largest networks of online magazines in the industry. I am the founder of Microstock Expo, the only conference dedicated to the microstock segment. I created several software solutions in stock photography, like the PixelRockstar WordPress Plugin. Plus I am a recurrent speaker at Photokina Official Stage, and an industry consultant at StockPhotoInsight. I am passionate about technology, marketing and visual imagery.

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