We have all been captivated by cinematic sweeping shots of landscapes and thanks to the latest drone camera technology you can get these shots done yourself. Be it your neighbourhood or a camping trip where you want to chronicle the surroundings, aerial drone shots offer a perspective that is both aesthetic and detailed. However, there are certain pointers you need to keep in mind before you step out into the open.
Know your Equipment
When it comes to drone shots you need to be realistic about certain aspects. The video quality will depend on what your camera can offer so you can plan accordingly. It is not just about resolution – the quality of your lens, and the ability (or lack of) to capture images in a low light environment, are just two of many elements involved. Once you know your drone’s limits you can strategize the shot accordingly. There are different types of drones available in the market for different expertise levels so you can do some good research and upgrade too.
Plan It Out
Before launching your drone for some spectacular aerial shots, imagine the visuals in your head. Are there defining features of the grounds you want to cover? Are you starting from the right place? You also want to make sure you are starting at the right point to optimize your battery usage. Reduce the time spent in the air looking for a good capture. In a worst-case scenario, you might find your best shots when the batteries are running out.
The Best Time to Shoot
Most commercially available drones have basic features unlike the ones used by professionals in the media industries. You may not be able to find too many technical hacks, but the experts do have one important tip – find the best lighting of the day for the best possible shots. The time around sunrise and sunset makes for the most dramatic changes in light. Because the sun is low, the shadows are not so harsh and the light at sunrise and sunset is considered the evenest.
The wind can spoil your shooting experience, so you need to avoid the heavy gusts. Even if your drone can handle the physical stress, your videos will not come out smooth. Play it safe and wait for things to settle down.
Share and Learn
Drone shots have limitless possibilities and combinations. You probably do not know them all. Drone photography is a continuous learning process augmented by a worldwide community of enthusiasts sharing techniques, tricks and videos. The AirVuz drone video sharing site is one of the top platforms for anything drone related. You can learn a lot of new things or just visit the portal to get entertained.
Slow and Steady Captures
Slow down your machine to capture the best images. Video aerial footage can come across as jerky if you are not smooth with the RC. A slowly-taken video reflects more control and the finished shot will look more professional and steady. Even if you are changing the speed, be gradual with the control sticks to avoid distortion.
Use Two Axes
Are you looking for a more 3D effect? Make the viewers envision themselves soaring through the sky by playing smart with axes. As you move the drone forward make it dip too – the additional range of movement will add a lot to the final shot. Make sure you are going steady while you do this – no sudden change in momentum or direction.
If you are looking to add more depth find reference points like trees or buildings and swoop over them to show viewers the scale of the landscape.
There are few other tricks you can try which will make your videos look great. Try sideways movements for a different perspective and if you are more familiar with your controls, do an orbit or a slow spin. With an orbit shot, you need to use steady hands and make sure that the object of your shot stays in the centre. Here is what a cool example of an orbit shot should look like.
Fly Through and Fly By
There are two more methods that bring the viewer really close to the action. The fly by and fly through shots are the domain of intermediate and expert drone controllers. If you have just started aerial photography, start working towards adding these two methods to your repertoire.
For the fly by you need to have a distinct object in the foreground before you pan into a background. Think of a water tower with the mountains and setting sun in the background. Fly by up close the tower and then present the geography to the viewer.
You can also use an element on the ground to give your footage some shape. Follow a car on a road or a stream, keeping the objects in the centre of the screen.