Capturing epic aerial drone photography – Tips from our drone video production company.
As one of Cambridgeshires well established drone video production agencies –
we’re keen to spread the knowledge when it comes to drone photography do’s & dont’s.
The use of aerial drone photography / videography is nothing new, however drone technology has come on leaps & bounds over the past few years.
Now even the smallest, most affordable drones are capable of producing truly epic video content. As with video cameras, bigger is not always better. There’s a few tips we utilise when capturing aerial drone photography, and we’ve outlined some of our favourite techniques for capturing epic drone shots below.
Not all drone pilots are equal
Firstly it’s worth pointing out that in our eye’s, not all drone pilots are the same. Having worked alongside several drone operators over the years during video production shoots, it’s clear that there’s three common types of drone pilot.
1) The technical pilot – A pilot who is extremely capable at flying a drone safely, and smoothly, but lacks the creative eye. Often these pilots are not videographers or photographers by trade. They simply learnt to fly a drone and press record (whilst hoping for the best).
2) The creative shooter – Often a videographer first, pilot second. These drone operator focus on the finished image as priority, often with limited attention paid to safety and legalities. After all flying drones can be very dangerous and is heavily regulated.
3) The Hybrid pilot – Like our team at Eldraw Creative Media in Peterborough, Cambridge – hybrid drone photographers & videographers boast both a strong technical appreciation, as well as a keen eye for the final image being captured. Making sure safety is always paramount, whilst ensuring all images captured are as dynamic as possible! We often shoot drone projects with multiple team members, utilising a ‘directors eye’ to guide from a visual perspective, working alongside a fully qualified drone pilot videographer. This ticks all the boxes!
Include movement in your drone videography
A common mistake, often associated with the before mentioned ‘technical pilot’ – is the lack of dynamic shots. Static shots, simple back & forth, or up & down movements, are a little bit, well…basic.
Yes they may get the job done, and absolutely should be captured during any shoot for safe, fall back options, however it’s important you spice things up a bit too. Most drones include a gimbal, which keeps the camera steady whilst stopping vibration. Gimbals are almost always ‘steerable’, meaning they can be turned and pitched independently to the drones movement. This means you can tilt the camera up, whilst the drone lowers down, for example. This use of camera movement can really help add new perspective to drone imagery, creating dynamic ‘wow factor’ results.
In addition, using the surrounding environment as ‘tools’ or ‘props’ can help take drone shots to the next level. For example, flying through gaps in buildings or trees, or using buildings to block & reveal sun light, is a great way to produce a more creative image. Planning the time of flight to where the sun will be is also important and often overlooked. These are common videography techniques, implemented within the air via a drone.
Say no to the jerk
Yes on chicken, no in footage! Simply put, jerky, stuttery drone footage is a big no-no. Commonly found with beginner or amateur drone enthusiast, jerky or jittery drone camera work is a fast way to ruin a perfectly good drone shot. It’s extremely difficult to fly a drone with a smooth, slow, continuous turn/pan, without getting jumpy or notchy footage. Years of experience and correct calibration of the flight joy sticks makes all the difference. Many pro level drones have clever built in automated movements which can take out the human error – tracking subjects and resulting in smooth, cinematic movements.
Drones – Bigger is not always better.
Whilst a big drone like a DJI Inspire or Octocopter might look the part to the client, there’s times when a smaller drone can actually do a far better job. Let’s face it, big drones look cool, they look expensive, and they typically carry good quality cameras. However the rise of smaller drones such as the DJI Mavic Pro 2 means they can often be the more affective option. Not only are they lighter and in turn safer should an accident happen, but they are also packed full or technology which offers outstanding results. When compared side by side, most people would be hard pushed to tell the difference. Smaller drones typically allow for more creativity, and access to more areas without posing a huge risk to those around you.
Why you should always hire a professional drone pilot?
Whilst it’s great fun to own a ‘toy’ or ‘hobbyist’ drone, it’s not always the best idea to bring it to work to capture some cool shots for the company website!
Not only are you risking breaking the law by not having a commercial drone pilots licence, you’re equally not insured should the worst happen. Equally you may not have the same creative eye as a professional drone video production agency like us. Of course, if you do tick all of the legal boxes, then absolutely give it a go and see how you get on – we can always edit the footage on your behalf.
If you’d like to find out more about our aerial drone photography / film services, visit our drone page here, or get in touch via the contact form below.