Taking Flight: Learn the Art of Aerial Cinematography in this Free CreativeLive Course

Taking Flight Creative LiveIn the past two years, the aerial cinematography industry has really taken off (get it?). What was once only an option for people with sky-high budgets (okay, I'll stop) now has a delightful low-cost for entry-level equipment. With that said, piloting drones and snapping off great shots is far more complicated than owning the right gear. In fact, there's a veritable plethora of information that you should know before your drone ever leaves the ground. Luckily, our friends over at CreativeLive have you covered. In their upcoming course, Taking Flight: Drone Photography & Video, Jeff Foster will teach you everything you need to know in order to get started with aerial cinematography.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with CreativeLive, they're an online education outlet that provides multiple-day seminars covering a variety of creative topics, everything from photography and filmmaking to audio production and finance for creatives. What sets CreativeLive apart from the multitude of sites where you can purchase topical seminars is that the CreativeLive seminars stream live over the internet, and those live broadcasts are completely free to anyone who wants to participate. The online audience can join the chat room for any given live class and interact with the instructor in real-time. Cool stuff.

Now that that's out of the way, here's a quick teaser for Jeff Foster's upcoming course, which starts first thing tomorrow morning.

Here's a quick look at the topics that will be covered in this course.

In this course, you'll learn how to capture stunning aerial shots with an impressive range of aerial gear – including; 3D Robotics multicopters, DJI multirotors, GoPros, DSLRs and more. You'll get an introduction to the best tools for beginners and see demonstrations of the sophisticated gear used by the most in-demand professional photographers and filmmakers. You’ll learn essential skills for controlling a UAV flight; basic flight controls, necessary equipment for successful shooting, planning and lining up the perfect shots, flight prep and safety, waypoint navigation and more. You'll gain an understanding of the production and post-production techniques unique and essential to aerial photography – including how to stabilize video, create stunning panoramic photos, and remove lens distortion in your photos and videos.

And here's Jeff Foster talking in-depth about the kinds of things that he will be covering in the course.

Taking Flight is a two-day course that starts tomorrow morning (July 21st) at 9am PST. In order to get yourself signed up for the course and for an in-depth look at what will be covered, you can head on over to the course page, get yourself registered (for free), and download the syllabus. Additionally, for those of you who can't make the time to participate in the live class, it will be re-broadcast for a day or two following the live webcast, so tune in when you get the chance!

Link: Taking Flight: Drone Photography & Video -- CreativeLive

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Sounds like a lot of fun.. Good to teach people the wrong/right way of doing things. I have been flying drones for awhile now and absolutely love it.


July 20, 2014 at 5:45PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Glad they are doing this. Courses like this one are much needed.

This may be relevant to the above. To help newcomers, we are testing a program that provides free accidental damage handling on some of our units (we are adding more to the list). This means that if you have an accident with one of our UAV aircraft while performing a job we'll cover most of the damage caused to it (please check details by clicking on my name) giving our clients more confidence in their purchases and bringing the UAV technology to more hands.

The bottom line is this, we want new responsible pilots, we want them to enjoy the experience of getting up in the air and making great videos/photos or fly just for the passion of it.

Having said that, here's a quick advice to newcomers. Use common sense when you fly.. Do not fly over people, airports, cities, cars etc). Fly responsible, imagine as if you were flying a 1000+lbs aircraft with the damage it could cause. Always having the well being of others be your first priority! There have been too many reckless flights already, and when you have a 10"+ propeller you have to understand that it has enough force (and sharpness) to cause deep cuts in the flesh, so take care of others and yourself.

So, fly safe, and enjoy flying. :)

July 20, 2014 at 11:51PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Hi everyone,

taking aerial video is very exciting. but you have to know what you are doing otherwise it can become catstrophic. france is the fist country that has created a very drastic safety law for taking aerial video. you have to pass a test exam to fly ultralight then exam to prove you can pilot a drone without using the auto pilot mode. then you have to ask for permit to fly in counties that you want fly. then you cant not fly over cities with an octocopter drone you have to fly with a small drone that can not exceed 4 kg ( including camera) then you have to ask a notam authorisation to fly over those cities. the reasons for all those rules are because some peoples did very stupid things flying over peoples and putting their lives in danger. so that seems like a drag to go to all those hoops to be able to fly but in a way, you better learn how to fly properly if you want get in this business. I don't know how things will be regulated in the US but I hope it wiil be a done properly so that peoples can start creating independent film without big money studio . I am inviting you to check out some of the aerial video we have done
in France

July 21, 2014 at 2:46AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


The weekly update and this article indicate this course is free, but I'm not seeing anything indicating that on CL's page. I've not used any CL stuff before, thoughts?

July 24, 2014 at 1:37PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


I just got No Film School in my email today and the free course was live, on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. You can still buy the course and watch it any time you like for something like $75, I think. I've been flying our quad copter and shooting aerial video for many months now but I still learned a few things I didn't know from the this course. When it was live the video actually from the copters flying, was in black-&-white and broke up a lot. I think they said they'd be using the video recorded on the memory cards in the cameras on-board the copters in the edited version, including video shot with a Canon 5D MIII and an octocopter.

July 24, 2014 at 2:27PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Here's a word of caution -
As strange as it may seem the use of drones for production work is in question from the legal standpoint. Recent court cases and a lack of clear direction from the FAA have muddied the picture. But as it is at this date the FAA position is that you may only use drones for private photographic purposes. Yes, that's right... you cannot use them for business purposes, you cannot sell the footage you gather. according to the FAA Having said that, it is totally apparent that many people are doing just that. Proceed with caution.
I own and operate an aerial stock footage production company and have been gathering HD and 35mm stock footage via helicopter for two decades. The use of drones is an exciting development and one we are watching closely. I will tell you however to proceed with caution... my helicopter pilot has told me of two instances of in which drones have appeared in his airspace. This was startling and can be disastrous. Be aware of other aircraft in that airspace.

July 25, 2014 at 8:42AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


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August 8, 2014 at 7:24PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


I think it would be great to learn to fly these things. Looking at a couple of drones from Xpro Heli but I live in Italy so have to research the laws here. But good article as always

August 12, 2014 at 10:25PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Great! Thanks for the tips and vids Robert! It help me to improve my aerial photography hobby. This section really helped me on the proper way to capture aerial photographs and videos as well. UAVs are the great factor to start up with aerial cinematography. And i strongly agree that aerial cinematography isn't that easy. You need to learn a lot and dig more in order to perform well in aerial photography matters. Thanks to the tips mate! God bless.

August 20, 2014 at 11:14PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


I think it would be great to learn to fly these things. Looking at a couple of drones from Xpro Heli but I live in Italy so have to research the laws here. But good article as always.

February 4, 2020 at 11:46PM

Jack Benjamin
IT Staff