You can’t make any length of video these days without including some kind of drone shot, it seems. However, as anyone who has started flying drones would tell you, it’s not easy. In fact, it’s not easy to even fly the thing, let alone actually create those epic smooth aerial shots that we’ve all grown so fond of.
However, with a little perseverance and practice, you can learn to get better footage from your drone shots. In this video from Adorama, filmmaker Aidan Robbins shares his top ten tips for getting the most out of your drone.
The first piece of advice is a great reminder to any of us that suffer from Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS). You may think that you need the latest and best piece of equipment, but actually, the one you already have sitting in your bag is probably far more advanced than you actually need.
Most of the time, we are using maybe 50% of the capacity of our equipment. Upgrading to the latest and newest isn’t usually necessary, especially if you haven’t already mastered your older version of the same thing. Start with what you have, and learn to use it well. That being said, there are some extra pieces of gear that will help and don’t cost the earth.
Using ND filters on your drone will go a long way to helping you get better footage. This is particularly true if shooting during the day. Similarly, extra batteries are unglamorous yet essential. Drones eat through battery life quickly, and having a couple of extras in your bag will help you make the most of being out on location.
Aiden goes on to describe the different types of shots that you should be practising with your drone to create better footage. From static shots to push/pull, tracking and panning, and top-down. It’s easy to keep shooting the same types of shots all the time can make for boring footage. Try to mix it up a little.
Another great point that Aidan makes is that new drone pilots are tempted to fly as high as they can. This can be a mistake as more interesting compositions and shots may be at lower altitudes and different angles. Essentially, it’s all about experimenting and practice, practice, practice.
Finally, it’s easy to get a bit overexcited about special equipment when it’s new. There can be a temptation to overuse it. Make sure you don’t try to use too much drone footage in your films. Try to mix it up with other shots too, and remember that the story is always the most important aspect.
Check out the full video for even more great tips, and take your drone footage up several levels.