Watch: 3 Tips on Shooting More Cinematic Drone Footage

Shooting from the sky? Here's how to make your shots more cinematic.

If you're flying a drone, you've already got one of the best vantage points a low-budget filmmaker can have (and one that wasn't within our price point until a few years ago), but how do you take advantage of this unique perspective to capture some beautiful, cinematic shots from the sky? In this video, Kris Truini of Kriscoart shares some helpful advice on making your drone shots more visually dynamic and engaging to your audience. Check it out below:

Master the "reveal"

It's not just the elements within the frame that are important, but also the elements that are about to be in the frame. Knowing the best way to reveal locations, props, and characters in a particular scene can add so much to your film's production value, not to mention increase your audience's interest. So, practice new aerial techniques for introducing new elements into your shots. Try panning and tilting, tracking your subject, getting a bird's eye view, and flying backward to offer your viewer new visual information, as well as new perspectives.

Steady as she goes

Many of the drone shots that make you go "whoa" are buttery and silky smooth, but how exactly do you maintain control while you're in the air? You can try easing up on the controls as opposed to going full throttle, putting your drone in "tripod mode" (if you have a DJI drone), shooting at a higher frame rate and slowing your footage down in post, or applying a tool like Warp Stabilizer when you head into post-production. If the technical applications of flying a drone go a little over your head (pun intended), just try to breathe, take things slow, and give yourself plenty of time to practice and refine your shot until you're able to get exactly what you're looking for.

Get to know your location

Before you take to the skies, map out your location. Take note of every obstacle or potential hazard that is in or near your flight path. Scope out landmarks and elements that you'll want to include in your shots. A big one is to learn what the light looks like at different times of the day, because if you're going for a beautiful sunset shot and find out that the sun is obscured behind a mountain right before you shoot, well, you've basically wasted an entire day.

What are some other tips on shooting drone footage? Let us know down in the comments.     

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Your Comment


he definitively forgot to mention "learn to operate the drone correctly"...almost all of the drone shots have flaws in it. just saying.

January 22, 2018 at 3:47PM

rodrigo calderon
director / dp / creative director

Really amazing tips and inspiring visuals.

January 22, 2018 at 11:16PM, Edited January 22, 11:16PM

Sameir Ali
Director of Photography

Slow at the beginning (a dramatic effect I take it) but once you were underway you laid out great basics to keep in mind for a beginner like myself. Thanks.

January 26, 2018 at 8:59PM

You voted '-1'.
Paul Coughlan