We’ve been excited about the potential of drones when it comes to B2B video marketing and effective overhead shots of sites, product facilities, showrooms, and more. But if you are renting or buying a drone, you want it to be worthwhile – you want to know how to create high quality drone video footage that is actually going to impress viewers! Fortunately, we’ve got some tips on how to do just that.
It’s good to start with this reminder: Experience always shows. If you want truly high quality drone video, you need experience. If you are using or renting your own drone, that usually means being patient. To get the best results, you need to get a “feel” for the drone, how it moves, and how aerial video works. That means plenty of practice before the actual shoot – and that practice will make a big difference.
This also is a good place to mention that many drone setups allow you to separate the pilot and the camera operator. This often leads to higher-quality video because they can both concentrate on their unique tasks. However, this also means both of them will need to practice together.
Yes, you can just shoot a drone up and capture some casual video – but for impressive, professional video, you need a lot of preparation, especially when it comes to location. Take time to thoroughly scout out an area. Look for scenery that looks good from above, as well as places you should avoid. Note any obstacles (this includes electronic interference, which may be a problem on certain sites) that could get in the way. In other words, your homework before the drone even comes into play!
The same basic rules of photography and cinematography apply here: Specifically, we’re talking about picking a subject and telling a story. Don’t just sweep over a spot. Pick an interesting focal point, something that represents your brand well, and carefully introduce it in your video. Use the drone to explore that focal point from multiple angles. If you are planning multiple shots or locations, remember to pick a subject for each.
It’s time to talk about flying. When piloting a drone and shooting aerial video, try as hard as you can to make the footage smooth. No bumps, no drops, no shaking or zig-zags. Anything that reminds your audience that they are looking out of a video camera is a mistake: Audiences want to be convinced that they are personally floating around like a ghost watching everything from above. The key to this is very, very smooth high quality drone footage. Drones these days come with plenty of stabilizers to prevent camera shaking, but of course wind and piloting also play an important role.
How high should your drone go? It can go hundreds of feet if you want it to (well, unless there are local regulations against that). However, going too high is generally a mistake, because it makes everything look boring and toy-like. As a rule, stick to around the height that birds fly – a couple stories from the ground, around the treeline. You can go higher when framing a shot or lower when examining a particular subject, but try to keep at bird-level when in doubt.
A single take is just the beginning. Weather, light, workers/actors in the shot, different approach angles – everything can change between takes. This is why it’s important to repeat your flight pattern and get several shots of the same subject. Then you can pick the best, brightest and smoothest aerial video that will make your footage stand out!