As drones become popular among people from all over the world, we get to see drone video footage of all sorts every now and then. Drones are now within the reach of a common man and anyone with the desire to fly a drone can do so. Having said that, there is a lot of difference between flying a drone and capturing a video footage and with it that will stun your audience and make their jaws drop. You can only get better at flying by practicing as much as you can. In this post, we are going to share with you some flying tips that will help you capture some fabulous video footage with your drones.
1 – Strategize your each and every move
It is always judicious to plan your shot before making an attempt to capture it. You need to know the purpose that you want to extract from the video that you are about to shoot and the angle you want the shot to be captured from. This will automatically generate a visual image of the shot in your own mind and you will be able to avoid the very many risks and hurdle that might come in the way. It is suggested that you should not start trying newer things until you become adept at flying and filming. Take a deep hard look at your surroundings and determine your movements well before you are about to take a shot. If you have planned your every move before hand, you will be able to go directly for the shot that you are vying for and in addition to saving your precious time, it will also save your very important battery juice.
This is true that strategizing from the ground is not an easy thing to do since you do not get the view of the entire scheme of things while sitting in your garage or standing in your backyard or the local park. But it will generate a vague sketch of your movements and the lines that you want to follow in order to achieve your objective. As soon as you get an idea of what you are going to shoot, then you better start practicing hard. You are never going to get your coveted, dynamic shot for the very first time (at least that will not happen always even if you might get one immediately). You have to try again and again before you are ready to take a shot that is stable, smooth, bright and crisp.
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2 – Pre-flight checklist
This is one of the most important tips that will help you get the shot of your dreams. Before embarking on your quest for capturing a stunning video footage, you must check all your equipment. Getting ready for all the possible outcomes is essential to flying drones like pros. A simplest of mistakes could be the precursor to your drone crashing down into the ground. This checklist can be pretty handy:
- Check your battery and get it charged completely
- Check your drone if it has any damaged part or any parts that are loose
- Ensure that the drone propellers are attached perfectly and there is no hindrance in their rotation
- Ensure that the landing paraphernalia is free of any damage
- Calibrate your drone
- Switch the camera on and check its configurations
- Ensure that the memory card has been inserted into the memory card slot (this is a highly overlooked advice)
- Make a note of people, animals, cars and other things in your surroundings
- Start your drone
- Hover for a few moments to see if there are any irregular sounds or vibrations that are undesired
- Launch your drone
This is a general set of things that you need to check before you start flying. However, I suggest you to go through the specific checklist for your particular drone mode.
3 – Take things slow and low
Slow flight ensures that you are almost always able to capture the perfect video footage that you are looking for. It is always important to provide your audience with some time to explore your video footage and the environment it is covering. Slow shooting ensures that the cinematic sensation in it is enhanced while simultaneously it bolsters the production value of the video as it appears well-planned and well-thought out.
Wind is another factor that highly influences the quality of your video footage. The lesser the wind, the more you will be able to control your drone. If there is wind blowing with 15 to 20 mph of speed, it is prudent not to fly your drone in it. This will ensure the safety of your drone and even if you capture video in such strong wind, the result will be jerky and full of turbulence. It is recommended that you fly your drone at lower altitudes where the wind speed is low. Here is a sample video that is smooth and gets more and more stunning as the time goes on. Check out 0:40 minutes mark where it gets absolutely magnificent.
Common sense is something that is not very common but you need to ensure that you have bags of it while you try to capture a stunning drone video footage.
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4 – Capture long, steady and smooth shots
Poise your drone in the air so that the shot is as steady and long as possible. Ensure that there are very little vibrations or movements in the drone as you take your coveted shot. This will be very helpful in the post production stage when you are about to edit the captured footage. You do not want to edit a footage that has swiftly changing angles and varying speeds. There are numerous videos out there with the pilots changing the camera positions constantly and he ends up messing the whole video up. So, ensure that you keep things simple, take long shots and follow your plans meticulously. Avoid getting jello effects in your video by accelerating and decelerating slowly. This will ensure that your video is smooth and free of any jerks.
5 – Gradually reveal the main object from some distance
Most of the novices begin their shot with the main object and move forward from there on. This is a common mistake that you should always avoid. You should always try and develop some curiosity among the audience, some excitement, some drama. This will give an impression that you are following a strict script, a storyline and will give solid context to your video. While flying from a distance, gradually reveal the object by flying over it and focusing at it all the time. You can also do a pull back or fly backwards which will keep the viewer engaged and interested in the video. Otherwise, if you reveal the main object at the outset, there will be no charm left in the video and the viewer will be forced to switch onto the next video.
6 – Shoot for far more time than you need
Most of the beginners end their video recording as soon as they believe that they have got the shot that they had been vying for. This will take the leverage away from you in the post production stage when you are about to edit the video footage. An additional 10 seconds of an extra video footage towards the end never does any harm to you and your drone. As a matter of fact, it provides flexibility to the editor to smoothly make a transition to the subsequent video clip and gives him more substance to toy around with. That additional footage can be blended with stunning visual effects and serene music in the background to create curiosity among the viewers about what is coming next. Take a look at this drone video footage that I believe has been immaculately edited to the very last second.
7 – The Golden Hour Rule
The Golden Hour is a terminology that is employed by professional photographers and refers to the one hour after sunrise and the one hour before sunset. On a clear day with calm weather conditions, you will be able to capture the golden stunning light from the sun. This transform your landscape shot into nothing but a thing of absolute beauty and intricacy. With some cool music added to the background, you have all the ingredients of a video ready to become viral on the social media.
While taking a shot, always account for the sun. Most of the cameras offer very low visibility in sunlight and if you try for a shot by pointing your camera directly at the sun, you will have nothing but a white image. This can be gotten rid of by going through the following tip.
8 – PolarPro filters for drone camera lens
Even when the light conditions are not up to scratch, PolarPro filters let you capture stunning video footage as they
- reduce the shutter speed to create natural dramatic motion blur
- reduce highlights
- remove the glare on a bright sunny day
- enhance saturation and contrast
ND4 and ND8 lens can help you while shooting fast paced objects as they minimize over-exposure and ensure that the shutter speed is kept fast. Moreover, they also add another layer of security for your drone camera’s lens. There are professional aerial cinematographers out there who cannot think of a life without camera lens filters especially for daylight shooting.
This video will elaborate the difference between a shot captured without lens filters and the one captured with them. The video has been captured on a bright sunny day and portrays the effect of filters to daylight photography.
9 – Toy with your camera settings
Camera settings are really important when it comes to deciding whether your shot is dynamic or not. It is suggested that you shoot as flat as possible since it will provide you with more luxury in terms of the range from your camera platform. This will also make sure that the clouds and the sky do not blow out. If you have adjustable shutter speed, lowering it down would help since at higher shutter speeds you are likely to get a strobing effect that can be avoided by lowering the shutter speed down.
Try toying with the camera configuration and opt for different settings to see which one really works for you. Account for the light conditions and weather and then make appropriate camera settings. Keep chopping and changing unless you get the perfect settings for your camera and your shot.
10 – It’s time for an aerial cinematography course
If you are really serious about capturing stunning aerial videos, I suggest you to take an online aerial videography course. It will be more in-depth and provide you the simplest of details about flying and filming simultaneously. It will not only shed light on the approaches employed by the professionals but it will also help you take things into consideration that you always took for granted. For example, people rarely take care about adjusting the line of sight or being cognizant about the lighting angles. Even before I purchased my first machine, I participated in this online course about flying and filming with your flying camera. I felt that the course included some very insightful information and techniques that have always helped me out in getting scintillating video footages. So, far 2960 people have passed this course successfully and it is maintaining 5-star ratings consistently.
You will learn plenty of stuff during this course such as how to make use of the variety of flight modes that come with different drones, how to fly your drone in disparate flying patterns such as the Crab and the Elevator, how to launch your drone and land it safely, how to edit the video footage and add music in the background and a lot more of such stuff. The course will provide you 77 different lectures with illustrations and diagrams and also includes 6 hours of comprehensive video tutorials, tips and tricks for editing and adding visual effects and even some sample videos for hands-on practice if you do not own a drone.
This online videography course has been designed for rookies as well as the folks at the intermediate stage who are intending to become professionals. If you are interested in it, I suggest you to give it a go and see for yourself how much difference it will make to ensuring that your drone video footage is as awesome as it can get.
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