Drones, Music Vids, and Your Budget

Drones are everywhere! The FAA is worried about them flying into jetliners, sexy chicks are worried about them peeping in windows, and cops are worried about them assisting the neighborhood drug dealer. But for you, my fine instrumentalists, they can come in handy. They can film shots in high definition 4K resolution and do it on the move at any location. They can supply you with footage of your band in the act. Or they can give you footage of city landscapes, natural scenery, kick ass riots etc. to stock your music video. Some of us may know someone who has one. And hopefully that someone is cool enough to help your band make their next music video. But for those of us that don’t, I’ve thrown together a little two-part plan to make it happen.

Now where oh where can you possibly find a guy with a drone on a mission to make you famous? Well, I’ll tell you. The FAA keeps a searchable registry online for your viewing pleasure. Back in July of 2018, this list hit 100,000 certifications. But you can’t search for a pilot by skillset or location, only their name. You can, however, use this to make sure you’re hiring a pilot who’s not going to cost you ser charges plus bail money. A pilot having a Part 107 Certification or a 333 Exemption, plus valid liability insurance will help prevent your music video shoot from being shut down because you’re all going to jail.

I dove into this article with the intention of helping bands DIY their next music video with style. I scoured the internet looking for directories that would allow you to search by location and put you in touch with the right pilot. I kept finding sites that are essentially middlemen, harvesting lists of pilots and taking your money to link you up with them. If you’re ok with this, has over 15,000 pilots ready. You can list your upcoming music video shoot by clicking the “post your job” button on their main page. I use guerilla tactics when it comes to getting things done. It takes some work, but it’s cheaper that way. So if it were me, I’d post for free on sites like,,, or Use those links because it skips right to the posting area. As for New Orleans, here IS one drone service in particular that I have dealt with, Purple Fox Media. They got their start filming for real estate companies and have since branched out. You can find an example of their work in the music field at the end of this article. And now, onto the editing portion of this fiasco.

Below are examples of free and paid video editing software. I threw out a few names of paid versions for good measure. But our focus here is on your budget. So greater detail is provided for the free versions. Just remember this, filming in 4K HD is preferable. The greater resolution allows for zooming in on your scene, you know, if you needed to crop out the airplane flying overhead in your Medieval Times based rock video. All paid editing software packages accommodate this, but only some free, aka “open source” versions have this service.

Adobe Premiere Pro costs $20.99 a month. This is a popular, affordable editing software suite. One tip before we move on, make sure what you’re buying has a 24-digit serial number. Some folks out there have made this purchase and received a version with only 17 digits. This is no Bueno.

For our high rollers out there, there’s Apple Final Cut Pro X for 300 crispy one dollar bills. ‘Nuff said.

In the middle you can find Cyberlink PowerDirector, starting at $69.99. If you’re dying to spend moolah on editing software, those are your top three. But if you’re the sort that would rather be saving for your next stack unit instead of throwing pesos at the cyber machine, this next part is for you.

Blender’s specialty is 3D animation, simulation, and game creation; real complex shit. So, if you’ve got a brain in your band, put that person on this software. Your video could become otherworldly. Which could be a plus if you’re planning to include that sort of thing. There are, however, so many features and this can be a bit much for the beginner.

Lightworks only does 4K HD in their paid version. While the software claims to have a simple interface, critics say it’s too advanced. But video tutorials are out there. Features include video FX and access to royalty free video content. If you need a little extra oomph to fill in the blanks, you’ve got it. The software also helps with uploading to Youtube and Vimeo.

                Shotcut is a free version that supports 4K HD filming, and the software accepts a wide range of formats. For bands that use one guy to fly and another to edit, this is key. It has drag and drop capability for uploading files, that’s always cool. Sometimes video editing software programs can be clustered and intimidating. But this one seems to have a more organized feel to it. You can move panels around your screen to suit your needs, it has a search bar, and a playlist with thumbnail view.

VSDC software is for windows only. It has audio editing, but I would not recommend that to my bands out there. It supports 4K HD and has a high number of visual effects and filters. An interesting side note, the people that make this software also make a video format converter and an audio format converter which are also free. It has an “easy export tool” which helps submit your video in required formats to places like Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, and Vimeo.

                And there you have it. Snag a drone pilot, cop some free editing software, and DIY your next music video. Louisiana, nicknamed Hollywood South, has thriving metropolises, abandoned buildings and theme parks, plantations and swamps all waiting to hear you shred front and center for the camera. When you get done, you can upload it on our site for free and hopefully catch the eye of an A&R. With your music, merchandise, and videos all in one place, is a band’s one stop shop for success! Oh, and speaking of drones, check out this awesome drone video from Purple Fox Media of VooDoo Fest New Orleans 2018. It’s a wonder it didn’t get shot down by the fireworks! Podcast can be found on these platforms.

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