Getting the most from your new drone doesn’t have to be difficult. We’ve defined the five most common aerial photography shots and provided you with the details you will need to recreate them. With a little practice, you’ll be taking your drone videos to the next level.
If you are a drone operator who’d like to learn these techniques and many more in a hands-on environment, then we recommend our Advanced Aerial Photography/Videography course.
The sky’s the limit – getting creative with your drone videography
Just adding a drone to your collection of video tools doesn’t mean that your video editing company has guaranteed its future success. As with any tool, how you use it is what will establish your video editing company as a leader in the field.
Turn on the television, or watch videos online and you’ll see drone shots. But many of these shots are predictable, and perhaps a bit passé. Creating fresh takes with your drone and adding a sense of drama, action, or wonder to your footage involves mastering a repertoire of creative techniques. Here are some creative shots and approaches you can use with your drone.
At its simplest, a tracking shot parallels the subject matter, and for years this has been accomplished in films by laying tracks for a camera to roll along as the subject moves. With a drone you can add the element of elevation into the tracking, making it a popular choice of any video editing company employing a drone. Simple tracking shots are fine, but you can spice the tracking shot up by changing the elevation or distance to the subject while you’re performing the tracking. The added elements of changing perspective and space can spice up a tracking shot.
A stationary panning shot is a simple video technique used with tripod mounted cameras. With a drone, your video editing company can place the camera almost anywhere and then pan with the gimbals. Good enough as a start, but add in some motion, and you’ll have something creative. By changing elevation or moving sideways, forward, or back while panning, the effect is much more interesting visually.
A pedestal shot is one of the easiest to achieve – simply keep the camera steady as you move up or down with the drone. What makes a pedestal shot notable is your choice of subject matter or composition. Be creative with your approach, and use your surroundings to your advantage. If you’re shooting a set of distant mountains, rise from behind the tree line, or over the clouds. Or show a distant city by rising above a home in the suburbs. These shots are a great way to establish a place or show the relationships you’ll be exploring in your film. To spice it up even further, use the gimbal to adjust the camera angle as you ascend or descend. For example pointing down at some action taking place on the ground, then swinging the camera up towards the horizon as the drone rises.
The fly over
If the average video editing company has an average shot, it’s probably the flyover. It’s a staple for real estate videos and others that need to establish a location or venue in a very definitive way. You can add some treats to this usually vanilla flavor by doing multiple fly overs at different elevations. In the editing room, you can intersperse different shots – close-ups, medium, and long – to make the footage more compelling than a simple “one size fits all” fly over.
The reveal is a drone staple of almost every video editing company. In its simplest form, the drone flies along a set track, perhaps following a car, as the ultimate destination is revealed. To make this shot more interesting, you can compress time and distance by doing multiple takes at different elevations, then employing jump cuts or crossfades to focus the attention on the reveal in a more dynamic fashion.