With the gift-giving season upon us, a lot of people are bound to be getting new drones in the not-too-distant future. Many of these drones will be received by people who’ve never flown a drone before. Quite a few of them may not still have a working drone by the end of the day. So it’s good to get yourself a little educated first, before you kill your shiny new, potentially expensive, toy.
In this video, Jeven Dovey and Aldryn Estacio from FlytPath go through ten of the biggest mistakes they see new drone pilots making, and some they’ve made themselves. Some of the items on the list are common sense once you’ve got the benefit of hindsight, while some are just good practice so you’re not disappointed with your shots.
- Flying too close to objects – The number one killer of drones (probably) is flying into things. It’s easy to misjudge how wide your drone really is, especially when you’re only seeing the viewpoint of a centralised camera.
- Not getting establishing shots – Get your establishing shots early, because you may be too low on battery life to do them later. Get the important shots first, then get the rest.
- Pointing at the sun – It doesn’t look great, and it’s going to completely throw off your exposure, sending the ground to blackness. Have the sun behind the drone to get a balanced landscape with your sky.
- Not enough batteries – This is one that I was guilty of initially. I got my DJI F550 with just a single battery. Eventually, I got 7 more just to make sure I had enough flight time to cover a day or two away with the drone.
- Not following the rules and regulations – This is a big one. So many people don’t follow the rules for flying drones where they want to fly them. Don’t break the law, don’t do stupid stuff, because all you’ll do is help the cause to bring in more regulation and restriction.
- Not pressing record – This one might seem a bit silly. But for a lot of new drone owners, they get so caught up in the new perspective they can see from the air that they forget to actually record it so that they can watch it back later.
- Shooting from too high – Getting that bird’s eye view can be cool, but it can also let you lose sight of your actual subject and composition. You’re going to be limited to a maximum altitude in many parts of the world anyway, but even that is often too high for most decent views.
- Forgetting or not formatting memory cards – Many drones don’t have internal storage. After you’ve copied that card to your computer, don’t forget to format it and put it back in your drone! It’s worth keeping a spare or two in your bag, too, just in case.
- Jerky movements and short shots – Don’t just fly the drone around randomly and quickly. Slow down and leave yourself some time at the beginning and end of clips and during camera movements. Fast jerky drone footage is unbearable to watch and short 2-3 second clips can be impossible to edit into a sequence.
- Staying in the air too long – This goes back to having backup batteries. A lot of people will fly their drones until they’re running on fumes (metaphorically speaking), assuming that they’ll still have enough left to bring the drone back to them. Best case, you might be walking for quite a while to collect your drone from where you were forced to land it. Worst case, the motors cut out and it comes crashing down to the ground. Have plenty of batteries, so you’re not worrying about using every second of flight time you can.
It’s a good list, and I’ve definitely fallen foul of a couple of these myself. Many more people will keep making these mistakes, too. But, if you’re a new drone owner, now that you know, you can prevent them from happening. Well, you can try, at least.
What’s the biggest mistake you see drone owners making?