These 6 Techniques Will Help You Shoot Better Drone Footage
Is your drone footage lacking that cinematic feel? These tips will help you out.
Drones have opened up aerial cinematography to indie filmmakers in a big way. We're able to capture more dynamic shots from perspectives that were only possible with a helicopter and load of cash to rent one, but ability doesn't equal quality—a lot of work and precision goes into shooting beautiful, cinematic footage with a drone. In this video, Teppo Haapoja goes over six tips that will help you take your aerial cinematography to the next level. Check it out below:
Shooting good drone footage requires creativity, dexterity, and technical know-how. Haapoja's tips focus more on the technical side, like camera and image settings, as well as basic camera operation techniques.
- Film at 24 fps: This frame rate is the cinema standard, so if you want your drone footage to look more cinematic, use it. Slow motion also looks amazing, and most cameras are capable of shooting at 60 or 120 fps.
- Shoot with a flat picture profile: The footage you get when shooting in a flat picture profile may look like a muddy mess, but that's kind of the point. It gives you more freedom to manipulate your image in post and apply any color grade you want.
- Use an ND filter: ND filters are a must if you're going to be shooting outside in the bright sun. Without one, you'd have to change your shutter speed to avoid overexposing your image, which would result in an unnatural motion blur. (The "180 shutter rule" says shutter speed should be double your frame rate (24 fps, shutter speed: 48 or 50) to achieve natural motion blur.
- Slow movements are key: When it comes to camera movement, subtlety is cinematic. Don't get me wrong, whip pans and kinetic camera moves are cinematic, too, but assuming you're new to the drone game, it might be best to get your toes wet with some slow and smooth pans and tilts first.
- Film at the right time of day: Whether it's Golden Hour or Blue Hour, shots captured during these times will result in some stunning imagery.
- Film many different angles: It's easy to get stuck in a creative rut, but don't always capture the same kinds of shots. Experiment with your drone to discover new and exciting ways to film the world from the skies.
What are some other tips for capturing cinematic drone shots? Let us know in the comments below.