Aerial Cinematography 101: Drone Shots and Techniques You Should Know About

When people think about drones, they might imagine a race of tiny robots sent to take over the world or the cute little quadcopters that people play around with as a hobby. But, whatever you think about drones, there is no denying that they are becoming more and more popular and accessible by both professionals and amateurs alike.

In fact, as a filmmaker, there is no better feeling than seeing your vision come to life as you fly an aerial shot for the first time.

We have compiled this guide so that anyone can pick up their quadcopter and start recording beautiful aerial shots. After all, a great filmmaker is nothing without a skilled camera operator.

Types of Shots and Techniques

Here is an overview of the types of aerial shots you could record.

Overhead Shot

It is an elevated shot taken directly above the subject. It’s also known as the ‘Birds Eye View’ because it’s what you see when you look up at something from below. This shot is excellent for establishing location and scene.

Flyover Shot

This shot involves flying your camera from one point to another at a relatively close altitude.

It is by far an ideal aerial shot. It’s great for telling stories or showcasing action on the ground.

The method is to fly toward something, then over it. For example, you could fly toward a mountain and then fly over it, revealing a landscape behind it.

Reveal Shot

This shot reveals something that was previously hidden out of sight. For example, you could fly toward a rooftop then slowly pan down, revealing the city below. Another example would be flying over a forest and slowly panning down, revealing a bear hiding behind the trees. This shot is beneficial for setting up the action of your story.

Sky Shot

This shot involves flying your camera straight up into the air, then back down again. It is usually done from extreme heights such as tall buildings or mountains. Be sure to keep your camera focused on your subject when you are close to the ground, so it doesn’t get lost in the scene.

There are two ways we recommend shooting this type of footage:

First, you can fly straight up for about 10 seconds then immediately start flying back down. While you are in the air, tilt your camera down to face your subject and lock your focus on it. It will pull your subject into the frame as you descend.

The second way is to slowly rotate around an object using a tracking shot. For example, you could fly a wide circle around a landmark while tilting down on it from all angles.

Ground Shot

This shot involves getting low to the ground with your drone camera and zooming in slightly. We recommend getting at least 10 feet off the ground before trying this shot. It’s suitable for filming scenes with action happening on the ground.

It’s essential to keep your camera steady when shooting this kind of footage because any movement looks more jarring from an aerial perspective. We recommend practicing with a tripod before you start flying your drone.

Bottom Line

It’s not too late to make a change and incorporate aerial cinematography into your marketing.

If you need help, 336 Productions provide video production services for you in Orange County. Contact them now!

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