Birds Eye View: Drone Video Tips

by | Nov 7, 2016 | Getting the Word Out, Putting Your Web to Work, Videography

Birds Eye View

Drones are quickly becoming an applicable tool in videography.The birds eye view that drones are capable of is an invaluable tool in any videographers toolkit. Camera rigged drones possess an agility that is unmatched by any other practical rigs. The variety of shots that are achievable with a drone is remarkable, even when compared to a large jib or a steadicam. Overhead shots from different elevations are now possible without the use of an extendable jib. The drone is a welcome addition to the arsenal of many videographers and is a specialty skill in its own right. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when building a drone shot list that maximizes capability.

Layering different shots

One of the great things about using a drone is that its agility adds intrigue to a static subject. They are perfect for wide panoramic shots, or capturing large objects including; buildings and large areas of nature. Taking full advantage of the drones range of motion requires shot composition that features multiple layers. Framing tight shots with that capability in mind, subjects in motion with the drones camera appears static. However, if you widen the shot to include a background and a foreground, they will both move around your subject creating a more dynamic range of motion.

Range of Motion

Drones possess the ability to reach great heights and cover lots of distance. In order to get the greatest wow factor from your shots, make sure to make use of all of the space it can cover. During a drone shoot, vary your shots with a variety of heights and depths of field. Additionally, your drone is not fixed to anything. Use this fact to your advantage. Don’t limit your shots to boring pans and tilts.

Foregrounding

The most obvious way to use drones for video is to shoot buildings, large pieces of land, and neighborhoods. One way to make these large scale shots feel warmer and appear more interesting is to use people in the foreground. A person riding a bike through the shot, or a couple people walking and talking adds dynamic motion, an additional layer, and a human element to static objects.

Sequence your shots

Continuity between shots engages your audience. This is especially important when your video lacks audio, such as a background website banner. There are many ways to do this. Your subjects can foreground multiple shots in continuity, with jump cuts or stitching. Make sure to keep the person moving in a similar direction as you cut. You may want a shot with your drone covering a lot of ground. The drone is certainly capable of traveling large distances, but you don’t want your shot to drag on. You can cut out the middle of a long take in one or more places to effectively accelerate your shot without altering the speed, to make it look like several shots cut together. You can also use visual equivalents to string shots together. Compose the end one shot and the beginning of the next to match on another. For example, you could cut a circular window to a globe or a clock to add an intriguing continuity.

Drones are an exciting way to add a wow factor to your marketing videos. The mere use of a drone to shoot will not stand alone. Using your drone in specific ways will bring out the vibrance of an outdoor area.

Conor Cleary

Conor Cleary

Multi-Media Publishing Manager at Orbit Design
Conor heads up the video and publishing departments at Orbit - overseeing books and short web films through, from the writing stages into polished content. He is always ready to talk about Orbit's video production techniques or the growing world of digital publishing.
Conor Cleary

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Drones are quickly becoming an applicable tool in videography. Camera rigged drones possess an agility that is unmatched by any other practical rigs. The variety of shots that are achievable with a drone is remarkable, even when compared to a large jib or a Steadicam. Overhead shots from different elevations are now possible without the use of an extendable jib. The drone is a welcome addition to the arsenal of many videographers and is a specialty skill in its own right. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when building a drone shot list that maximizes capability.

Layering different shots

One of the great things about using a drone is that its agility adds intrigue to a static subject. They are perfect for wide panoramic shots, or capturing large objects including; buildings and large areas of nature. Taking full advantage of the drones range of motion requires shot composition that features multiple layers. Framing tight shots with that capability in mind, subjects in motion with the drones camera appears static. However, if you widen the shot to include a background and a foreground, they will both move around your subject creating a more dynamic range of motion.

Range of Motion

Drones possess the ability to reach great heights and cover lots of distance. In order to get the greatest wow factor from your shots, make sure to make use of all of the space it can cover. During a drone shoot, vary your shots with a variety of heights and depths of field. Additionally, your drone is not fixed to anything. Use this fact to your advantage. Don’t limit your shots to boring pans and tilts.

Foregrounding

The most obvious way to use drones for video is to shoot buildings, large pieces of land, and neighborhoods. One way to make these large scale shots feel warmer and appear more interesting is to use people in the foreground. A person riding a bike through the shot, or a couple people walking and talking adds dynamic motion, an additional layer, and a human element to static objects.

Sequence your shots

Continuity between shots engages your audience. This is especially important when your video lacks audio, such as a background website banner. There are many ways to do this. Your subjects can foreground multiple shots in continuity, with jump cuts or stitching. Make sure to keep the person moving in a similar direction as you cut. You may want a shot with your drone covering a lot of ground. The drone is certainly capable of traveling large distances, but you don’t want your shot to drag on. You can cut out the middle of a long take in one or more places to effectively accelerate your shot without altering the speed, to make it look like several shots cut together. You can also use visual equivalents to string shots together. Compose the end one shot and the beginning of the next to match on another. For example, you could cut a circular window to a globe or a clock to add an intriguing continuity.

Drones are an exciting way to add a wow factor to your marketing videos. The mere use of a drone to shoot will not stand alone. Using your drone in specific ways will bring out the vibrance of an outdoor area.