Aerial Cinematography has taken the world by surprise. It has completely changed the way we film from the sky. Even entry level filmmakers can afford it now more than ever! How?
DJI has practically removed the barriers to entry when it comes to aerial video and photography, but for now, we will just focus on video.
When DJI released their first drone, The Phantom, it excited people. No one had ever seen a drone under $1,000 that could take videos with a Go Pro. It was easy and simple to operate; well, once you got the hang of it. If the footage was stabilized in post production, the result would be great.
Then DJI brought out the Phantom 2 and 3 series and that changed things. They came up with Intelligent modes that would make the drone follow a person or fly in a circle around a specified object without someone operating from the remote. Proving ingenuity, these drones even have GPS that will lead the quad copter back home if the connection to the remote was lost. GPS is also required for the Intelligent modes.
In addition, their biggest release of their drones is the Inspire 1 (shown in picture above). It has the ability to point the camera a full 360 degrees in a full circle, independently. Utilizing the advantage of the use of two operators, one can position the drone, and the other can be dedicated to picture quality, image and direction of where the camera points. Even though you can comfortably use one operator, you could achieve more dynamic shots with two.
Achieving a spectacular result is much cheaper these days with a quad copter. A very useful technique is to shoot towards the sun. In many cases, this would not be the best thing, due to the brightness of the sun makes everything a silhouette. But if the camera has manual controls, exposure can be set accordingly. This will create a more dynamic feel, a more pleasing look, and a more professional appearance.
Another tip would be, shoot in 4K. This ultra HD is a useful resolution to shoot in; you have a huge amount of detail to work with when you capture video from the sky. The use of more pixels in the shots would greatly increase flexibility. Due to the detail of the landscape, it's almost necessary to shoot in 4K to get a clear image.
Flying as close to objects as possible will captivate your viewers. Making this work however, is a challenge. Obviously, I have tried this and have crashed my drone a few times, but thankfully, my drone just keeps going. Investing time is important to master this way of flying, especially if your drone costs $3,000.
Taking flight at high altitudes will also be a very good idea. Since their beginning, People have always wanted to see things from up high in the sky. Videos such as these from way up high just have that beautiful feel that we long for. This is how I feel when I watch my flights. But, it is probably a good idea to keep the drone within sight. I have sent my drone so high, I could barely see it and I had no idea what it was doing. Due to the large distance between the drone and myself, it would take a long time to react because it was too far to see.
For a beginner, it is probably best to buy a $20 toy drone to get practice on how they handle and behave; that way, you don't crash your last year of savings.
Take a look at more very useful aerial cinematography tips: