5 Drone Filming Tips: Shoot Aerial Video Like A Pro

In our recent review of the best drones you can choose, we shared details of what drone models suite best to different purposes. Whether you’re looking for a toy for your kids, a racing machine, or a great setup for taking awesome videos, there are different drone models that meet these demands.

Now, choosing the right drone model is one thing (not easy one), but operating it may appear to be even a tougher task. Hence, we decided to publish a few articles that give some basic tips on how to get the maximum out of your chosen drone.

This time, we’d like to focus on tips for shooting great aerial videos with your drone.

But first, we’d like to note that shooting drone videos is quite a different experience compared to regular cameras. You have to keep an eye on your drone constantly to not crash it or hurt anybody, and at the same time, think of how to make the drone fly, so that you get a great picture at the end of the day.

Be prepared to practice A LOT, as your first several (dozens) of flights will result in quite disappointing clips, which you will probably throw away right away. Practice along with the following video recording tips will eventually bring you great results. So here we go…

1. Plan the Route and Think of Video You Want to Get

The best video clips are usually those that you’ve planned ahead. Take some time to research the area and best spots you’d like to capture. Think of the angles and ideal height for the objects you’d like to film. Imagine the mood you’d like to have in your clip – is it dynamic, dreamy, or romantic? Then make a scenario and a flight plan based on the collected data.

Once you’re on the spot, never shoot just one clip. Make several flights, capturing the objects of interest from different heights and angles, so that you have enough footage to chose the best parts of the recorded video and compile it into a final clip.

Considering that filming may take up quite a lot of time, make sure your drone is fully charged before going to the spot. Most of the time, drones drain their batteries quite quickly, so keep an eye on the charge level to be able to land the drone safely.   

It is also a good idea to take one or two spare batteries, which will ensure you can shoot as much footage on the spot, as you need.

It’s quite a common case when the battery dies while the drone is still in the air. This may result in a broken drone and a corrupt video file. Depending on how severely the drone is damaged, you may need to bring it to a local repair shop.

As for the video files, you could probably repair them yourself with the help of video recovery tools. Most of the drones record video files in the MP4 format. This is basically a container, which stores your recorded video stream and metadata (details about the video). If the video stream is not damaged, but you can’t open your MP4 video file, it can be fixed simply by re-building the metadata. Here you can read a quick guide on how to fix corrupt MP4 files. 

2. Proper Lighting Is the Key!

Drone cameras usually have quite a small sensor, which has a limited dynamic range, resulting in low contrast and washed out or dim images. To avoid such defects in your drone videos, be cautious when shooting footage while facing direct sun lights. You want the sun to be behind the drone’s camera.

Also, when it comes to lighting, your shooting timing is important. The best time for recording drone videos is during the golden hour. This is a short period of time just after the sunrise or before the sunset. During this period, the sunlight is soft, evenly diffused and warm, which makes your videos look more appealing.

3. Choose the Proper Video Recording Settings

The most important settings are resolution and frame rate.

For regular scenes, you can experiment with 30 frames per second (FPS) versus 24 FPS. Some say, that 24 FPS videos look more like Hollywood movies, while 30 FPS look like a reality TV show. There are no correct or wrong setting here – it’s all about your personal preference.

However, when shooting dynamic scenes, you may want to choose 60 FPS or even 120 FPS, so that you can transform the footage into slow motion scenes.

As for resolution, 4k will make the video look great on large screens. It also allows you to crop the frame while editing the video. But 1080p is also quite a decent resolution these days, especially if all you want is to publish the video on YouTube or other online platforms for fast streaming.

4. Find the Right Perspective

A unique perspective is what makes drone videos so special. Make sure to leverage the possibilities your drone gives you by shooting from perspectives no other camera would do. For example, you could direct your drone through a doorway, or a stone arch, make a circle around your focus object, then high into the sky all during one continuous shot. Just think out of the box, look around you and be creative.

5. Edit Your Video

Editing your drone video is just as important for the final result, as the recording process. Apart from cropping, slicing and compiling the footage into a continuous clip, it’s also recommended to fine-tune the white balance, color saturation, contrast, tones and brightness and for this you can take help of all in one tool like an online video editor. With a bit of post-production magic your video will really stand out of the crowd and look much more professional compared to what you get straight out of the camera. 

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