DJI and Pond5 have announced a collaborative effort through which drone operators who hold FAA Part 107 Certificates will have footage they've captured on DJI drones curated and promoted in featured collections on the Pond5 website. In order to be eligible to apply for the program, drone operators must have and provide proof of their FAA Part 107 certification as well as a reel of their aerial content and a list of the DJI drones they own & use. If selected, Pond5 will work with aerial content providers to identify and prepare their most marketable content for inclusion in these new aerial footage collections, which will be promoted on the Pond5 website.

In addition to promotional and curation support, Pond5 is rolling out a service that will allow aerial filmmakers to upload raw footage without having to trim & tag it first and Pond5 will do the rest. According to their press release, "Select participants will also have access to Pond5's premium clipping and tagging services, allowing them to save time by simply submitting raw footage, rather than having to do the work of editing, formatting, titling, and keywording the footage themselves. Footage receiving these services will then be made available exclusively through Pond5 for a limited time." 


What it means for aerial filmmakers

Other stock sites license drone footage, but one of the differentiating factors of these new collections is that they will only be showcasing and explicitly notating that the work was done by drone operators who have gone through the proper legal channels. This means that they applied for and received a Part 107 certification (which is one of the requirements in the US for commercial drone operations to be legal). With the FAA promising to ramp up enforcement actions against production companies as well as against individual drone operators for footage captured and used illegally, this is a way for production clients to take steps to make sure they're using legally obtained aerial footage as well as to support the drone operators who are conducting their operations lawfully.

 It's a way to differentiate yourself from all of the non-certificate holding operators who have flooded the market in recent years. 

For the drone operators accepted into the program, it's a way to differentiate yourself from all of the non-certificate holding operators who have flooded the market in recent years. For legal drone operators, the combination of negative press, unlicensed operators with a lack of best practices knowledge, and easy access to drone technology has made it challenging to stand out in an ever more crowded marketplace and it's nice to see the legal operators getting supported and recognized. 

So how much can an aerial filmmaker sell their footage for? One of the nice things about Pond5 versus some of the other stock video websites out there is that it allows contributors to set their own prices. Commissions are 50% of the sale. So, in a way "what you make is up to you", but of course you'll have market forces to contend with. A superficial site search for "aerial footage" turned up clips ranging in price from $49 - $499 per clip. The clips in these new collections will likely be able to command a premium. 

Apply for inclusion in this new program at https://www.pond5.com/dji

Featured image: Aerial View of Stony Point Lighthouse by BerCo Aerial