Today I want to discuss and demonstrate 4 different techniques to help first-time drone pilots get the most out of their flight time. Drone videography is increasing in popularity and can be found nearly everywhere from your TV to the commercial video on a company's website. Whether you are using your drone for work or pleasure it is important to follow best practices and practice as much as possible in order to reap the benefits of high-res drone footage.
1. Read the manual and get to know the hardware
This first tip is pretty straightforward and I won't get too granular on this one. Just as with any piece of hardware, you need to know the tool you are working with very well. Understand it's capabilities and limitations so that you get the most out of the equipment.
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2. Fly in an open area for your first flight
Now that you know your drone, it's time to take your maiden voyage. It is very important to find a wide open space so that you can test your drone's capabilities and feel the limitations that you read about (remember the manual). So go find a nice park or an open parking lot and take off. Start out by just getting a feel for the controls. Fly the drone up high and bring it back down a few times. Fly to the left and to the right and back to center.
Once the basic controls make sense you can then try flying your drone. A great test is to make a figure 8 smoothly and to see if you can do it without stopping. This is easier said than done but will help you to become more fluid with your shots when it comes time to record.
3. Observe your surroundings and use the scenery to your advantage
Now that we are familiarized and happy flying our drone, we can start to capture some footage and you're going to want to leave the parking lot. Take a look around you and find a nice scene to fly through. We are lucky enough to work in the foothills of the Rockies, so beautiful scenery is easy to find. If you are in a more suburban area you might need to get more creative.
Think of the application for this shot and use the story of the video it will be used in to help set the scene for the shot. For example, say you are shooting for a transportation company and want to show traffic in a b-roll shot. Position your drone over the center of the road and fly straight down the line as cars are passing or, preferably, standing still in traffic. The symmetry of the cars on either side of the center road line is very nice and the movement will look great slowed down.
4. Use basic movements for smoother shots
When you are shooting your first few drone shots, make sure to keep it simple and stick to basic movements. Flying down stairs, around corners, and being able to track with the right frame may be difficult and the shot will not look as smooth as you'd like. As you practice and keep shooting more basic shots you will feel more confident in more complicated and technical shots. You will be amazed at how incredible aerial pan shots look once you really dial in the movement.
Overall, drone flying will take some practice and patience at first, but once you get the hang of your tech and how to operate your drone, this should get much easier.
I hope that these tips will help you capture great drone shots and enhance your video efforts. For more information on drones or video creation in general, schedule a consultation with our expert multimedia team.