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Top Tips for using Drone Shots in Video

When creating a corporate or event video and you want to add some drone footage to take this to the next level, here are some top tips that we always recommend to our clients to get the best out of this service.

Do your homework

The most important thing when it comes to drone and aerial filming is safety and preparation. Yes drones are cool, but in the wrong hands these are extremely dangerous toys. When completing our PfCO (permission for commercial operations) this is a mandatory 4 day course and 2 part assessment (theory and practical) that any company in the UK needs in order to offer drone filming as a service. Without this they are breaking the law. Its also crucial to have the correct insurance in place and complete a risk assessment for every job, following the 'drone code'. The typical 'fail to plan, plan to fail' saying really resonates here. Not only just the safety side of things but its also really helpful to plan exactly what shots you are going to complete and check affecting measures such as the weather, wind and potential contributing factors.

Awesome shots

There are some amazing shots and tricks you can do when it comes to flying a drone, as with any industry skill this comes with practice. One of the best tips that was given to me was 'fly low and fly slow'. Many people when they first get a drone, want to fly it as fast and high as possible but with this they lose the subject that they are actually trying to film, rendering the use of a drone useless. I have also seen people taking drone shots indoors at eye level, likewise this is not the right tool for the job when you can get the same shot with a camera on a gimbal. The trick to using a drone is knowing when to use it and using it to its strengths, for example a factory or a warehouse is great for drone shots as it can really show off the scale of the building and show their customers their capabilities to take on larger projects.

Special techniques

The technology with drones is now amazing. One of my favourite tools is the 'follow me' mode which means you can track a person or object, such as a car or boat. This creates a perfect shot, keeping the subject fully in frame. Another tool you can use is locking the GPS of the drone and can send it to the exact same position, meaning you can create shots such as a day to night time-lapses. The drones we use also have a range of other impressive features such as Obstacle Avoidance, 4K Filming, HDR Photography and VR vision.

Get technical

Knowing the technical side of the drone's filming capabilities really helps. Its not just about being a drone pilot but also a camera operator; being able to frame shots, understand codecs and know when to use certain features. The camera can film slow motion and 4K, but you may not always need to use these features. 4K can be useful though, if you can't get close enough to your subject, it means you can zoom and crop your image if exporting in 1080p HD. Understanding your shutter speed and aperture will also mean that movement won't look strange and that your images won't be over-exposed, so that you can have the best footage to use when it comes to editing them.

Less is more

As mentioned previously with the 'fly low, fly slow' analogy, its not always about doing the fast and crazy shots but suiting the shot for your project. If its a shot of a factory, the client may not want anything too distracting or wild. Also, we recommend just because you are using a drone, this doesn't mean every other shot in the video has to be a drone shot. We understand its a heavy investment but by overusing a certain shot or technique, the 'wow factor' is lost and it becomes too repetitive for the viewer. This is why working with Storm Videos, we have a range of tools, techniques and equipments to create a large variety of shots to create the best business or event video. Other shots we recommend are time-lapses, gimbal shots, POV, GoPro footage, slider shots, pans/tilts, static shots, on-screen footage, 2D or 3D animation, motion graphics and even interview and vox-pop recordings. Using a variety of shots keeps viewers engaged and potential customers on your videos and website longer, bringing them closer to picking up the phone to make an enquiry.

If you have any questions regarding drone filming or any type of filming project, we would love to hear from you! We help companies around Milton Keynes, Northamptonshire, Oxford and the UK to get started with video and other filming needs. You can get in touch by emailing or phoning 01908 382682.

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