LEE — The Lee Chamber of Commerce's latest promotional tool depicts unique aerial views of High Lawn Farm, Greenock Country Club, the historic Hurlbut Mill and other local landmarks — all shot from a drone.
"Lee, Gateway to the Berkshires" is a 2-minute, 18-second, narrated video, primarily filmed from a small, unmanned aircraft courtesy of Northeast Drone Video of Pittsfield.
The 125-member chamber recently unveiled the promotional film at its annual dinner meeting to rave reviews, including by co-owner of Devonfield Country Inn, Bruce Singer.
Singer, a past chamber president, says he understands the importance of using modern technology to spread the word about a community he moved to and fell in love with a decade ago.
"Many people have commented to me that Lee is a real town they feel like they would want to live in, work in and play in," he said. "We are more than just a nice place to visit."
Current chamber President Franck Tessier, co-owner of Chez Nous Bistro, urged his business colleagues to share the video through social media.
"This video won't be popular unless you use it; put it on Facebook and your websites," he said during the meeting.
"As a marketing tool, video is crucial to our long-term strategy of growth" chamber Executive Director Colleen Henry added afterward. "Today's consumers tend to pay more attention to video when making decisions about where to visit, shop, live, work, learn and in general spend their dollars.
Terry Holland and Rick Sands of Northeast Drone Video applauded the chamber for taking advantage of what they consider to be a cost-effective high-tech flying machine.
"[The drone] allows shots that previously would have cost tens of thousands of dollars to be delivered at a fraction of that price," Holland said in a statement. "The production value of our setup rivals the very complex work coming out of Hollywood."
The videographers' intent is to draw in the audience with the aerial shots, according to Sands.
"You can get the camera to give you different perspectives on places people are familiar with," he said. "I especially like the shots of High Lawn Farm and Greenock."
Sands also shot ground-level video. Combined with the aerial footage, the video also shows the cultural and recreational offerings surrounding Lee, such as the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Becket and Bousquet Ski Area in Pittsfield.
Add in close-ups of the dining opportunities, manufacturing and Main Street shopping in Lee, and you get an overview of what Lee has to offer, according to chamber officials.
"We couldn't use all the footage that was taken, but we hope to use it in future videos with a more narrow focus," said chamber Vice President Holly Chaffee, CEO of Porchlight VNA/Home Care.
The chamber's annual meeting also bestowed the following awards:
• Corporate Citizen of the Year: Onyx Specialty Papers Inc., operating the only remaining paper manufacturing facility in Lee, employing 150 people.
• Lifetime Achievement: R.W.'s Inc./B-Safe Storage, a 30-year-old family owned towing/auto repair business that entered the self-storage market more than a decade ago.
• Distinguished Service: Ray Murray Inc., major distributor of compressed gas equipment, hearth products, gas grills, heating and air condition equipment with operations in three other states.
• Volunteer of the Year: Bruce Singer, with wife Ronnie, co-own Devonfield Country Inn. Singer is a past chamber president, organizes the Lee's annual Founders Weekend Parade in September and serves on several town and business boards.