This week Drone Safe Register (DSR) discusses the importance of a show reel to effectively market your drone business.

We explore, what makes an outstanding drone show reel. We’ll show you some of our member’s show reels and video examples that caught our eye! And we’ll provide some top tips to create a show reel that will help you secure future aerial work.

DSR is a drone hire website marketing legal drone pilots which are available for hire within the UK.  Our register is a busy platform because we have made it very easy to find & hire a professional drone pilot. Last month the DSR website had over four thousand new visitors from people looking to hire a drone.

So why does a drone pilot or UAV company need a showreel?

We live in a world driven by creativity and video.  Facebook has over 8 billion average daily video views from 500 million users. According to Forbes, 59% of executives would rather watch video than read text. YouTube has over a billion users! That’s almost a third of all people on the Internet. Every day, people watch hundreds of millions of hours of YouTube videos. YouTube reports mobile video consumption rises 100% every year. From your mobile to your tablet or desktop there is no shortage of platforms to watch online videos.

Demand for video is high. Video is a vital part of many businesses marketing strategy. It is increasingly becoming the way businesses communicate key messages to clients and potential customers. Businesses also invest in video because it helps them convert sales. Demand for aerial video content is high because businesses want to impress with their imagery and aerial footage without question does ‘wow’ viewers.

Aerial imagery is also effective because it provides a sense of location of the subject. Seeing a location from above creates a bird’s eye view and establishes where the subject is located in situ to its surroundings.

Drone pilot/company video showreels need to look amazing because they are looking to attract a customer that also wants to include amazing imagery in their video. Your showreel can create inspiration based on a shot your potential customer sees. The imagery instantly tells your customer that your end product is crafted with skill and professionalism.

Producing quality aerial content can be an enormous challenge. There are a number of barriers such as technical skills and equipment expenses that make it difficult to craft a top end video. However sticking to a few basic rules can make all the difference!

DSR are proud to list some of the very best drone pilots in the UK.

Here are DSR’s top tips for creating an effective aerial show reel video

Keep your Message Clear

Always ask yourself, what are you trying to say and show? Your show reel is a way of communicating a message to your potential clients.  You need to convey this message in a quick and concise way. Your message could be as simple as who you are, what you do and how to contact you.

Keep it Short

1 – 2 minutes in duration maximum. Viewers will click away if the show reel is too long. 2 minutes max should be enough time to engage your viewer, convey your message and create the call to action. The point of a show reel is to help sell you and your talents.  If you include anything other than your best bits, then it might not work to the best of its ability. A great one minute show reel will do far more good than a mediocre three minute one! Be ruthlessly selective about what you include. You don’t need to produce an epic movie, just a short punchy intro to your services and capabilities. Web users can be notoriously fickle so will turn you off at the first sign of anything too boring.

Keep it Slow

Slow is more cinematic and can provide the viewer with the impression you are shooting from a larger platform, such as a helicopter. Using slow cinematic establishing shots work well. This increases the production value and makes the shot appear more controlled and crafted. Take it easy on the control sticks of the remote. Accelerate and decelerate slowly with gradual movements. Avoid any camera shake.

Include a Variety of Movements

Showcase different movements such as an orbit, fly through or strafe (sideways movement). Include low and high flying shots (up to 400ft). Show something different, include action such as a runner, biker, cyclist, car or boat for example. Using two axes of movement can imitate big-budget shots you see in feature films. For example flying forwards and upwards or backwards and downwards at the same time at a smooth steady rate can create impressive movement in shots.

Include a Variety of Lighting

Filming during the golden hours of the day, at sunrise and sunset, will really help your footage stand out. Low light i.e. when the sun is low over the horizon at dawn and dusk creates highly visible defined shadows. Shadows help define terrain and features that aren’t as visible during the afternoon. Fewer people film at these times, particularly sunrise, so by just following this one simple tip you are already differentiating yourself from the surplus of aerial footage out there. The early bird catches the worm! This is especially true for drone filming.

Plan with Editing in Mind

Before a flight pre-plan and visualise your aerial shots. To safely prepare for your flight scout your filming location and the airspace. Knowing what you need ahead of time will also help you optimise your drone’s battery life and avoid missing a shot before the battery runs low.


The weather will be a crucial factor when filming for your showreel. Rain and wind speed could be a big spoiler on the day if it’s too wet or windy. Rain and drones don’t mix because of the rain can damage the drone motors/electrics. Rain can affect the look of the footage if the sky is too washed out or if rain effects visibility. In terms of wind speed, don’t try and fly your drone anything above 20 mph. Drones can fly in conditions up to 25–35 mph winds but the footage you record at these higher wind speeds will most likely be a waste of time.

Colour Grading

Colour correcting tools can really help add cinematic value to your footage and differentiate between a standard ‘video’ look. Tweaking the contrast and adding some extra saturation can improve the look of the footage. Divinci Resolve is great and free! It is a lovely editor and awesome colour grader.


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About the Author: DSR Journalist

Harrison Green

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