Drone Videography: What it is and Where it's Going

Imagine playing a first-person video game. You can see what is in front of you, to either side, up and down. You can even turn around and look behind you. Then, with the power of a toggle switch on your controller, you suddenly have an aerial view.

You can get a feel for the lay of the land, see how much farther you have to go, or where the path forks up ahead. You might spot resources up ahead that you want to nab, or an enemy encampment to avoid. The information you get from being able to take your eyes into the sky is invaluable for planning your strategy. Once you have what you need, you toggle back down to first person point of view and continue on your way.

Wouldn’t it be great if you had that ability to “toggle” your perspective and get an aerial view of your surroundings in real life? With drone videography, this superpower is yours to command. While you stay on the ground with your controller, you can send your unmanned aerial vehicle or drone, fitted with a camera, into the sky to record footage, or (and here’s the really cool part) sync up with your smartphone to provide a live feed of the footage for you to review in real time.

At Sky Eye Films, we know that thrill of viewing the world from the sky. We are expert drone videographers who take captivating video footage for a variety of purposes. We work in the entertainment, real estate, security, and commercial clients to film dramatic videos from an aerial perspective.

When we started flying drones for videography, we were like you when you first pick up a new video game. Our attempts at the first few runs were less than elegant. But, like with a video game, after a few run-throughs (and maybe some advice, assistance, or cheats) you get the hang of it. If you’re interested in drone videography, here are some of the tips and tricks we have picked up in the business.

What Is Drone Videography?

v2.jpg

Just to be sure we’re on the same page here, drone videography is flying a small unmanned vehicle, typically with four or more propellers, that has been fitted with an HD video camera and other technology, using a sophisticated handheld controller. Drones are piloted like larger planes, with the operator controlling the vehicle’s pitch, yaw, roll, altitude, speed, and takeoff and landing.

A drone videographer specializes in using the drone to capture beautiful and dramatic aerial footage used for the film industry or corporate marketing. They may also need to fly steadily and carefully around structures such as bridges, dams, or buildings to conduct video inspections to determine structural soundness.

Drone videography is a fast-growing specialty as more and more industries recognize the benefits of those eyes-in-the-sky. From national parks or livestock ranchers that use drone videographers to take footage of herds on the move, to engineers and architects planning for structural designs and retrofits, to emergency responders hiring drone videographers to film the extent of damage or flooding to assess relief efforts, and even to security firms using drone videography to patrol the perimeters of large properties. Drone videography is a skill in demand and constantly growing.

What Makes a Good Drone Videographer?

Learning to fly a drone is a skill in and of itself, but learning to take good drone video footage is an additional talent. Anyone who has ever seen shaky cell phone footage or Grandma’s home videos knows that there is more to getting clear and professional video than just holding up the camera and hitting record.

A drone videographer needs to adjust the camera’s settings for the weather and the type of shot required. A snowy landscape will require intense white-balancing and more open aperture settings. A breezy day will require extra compensation with the flight to control for the wind. A sunny day produces shadows and can create backlight footage that is hard to decipher. Drone videographers must know their way around cameras as well as the drone technology.

A drone videographer must be an excellent pilot. The proof is in the footage. Beginner pilots often have difficulty flying steadily or making subtle adjustments to keep the drone level. Knowing when to make the adjustments on the controller to bank into a dramatic turn takes precision and practice.

Drone videography requires multitasking and attention to detail. You had better be comfortable with flying the drone because you will be doing that and controlling the camera. If the drone falls from the sky or crashes into a tree while you are performing a camera zoom, your drone video footage will only be good for a blooper reel. We’ve all been there as beginners. Professionals have worked out the kinks of flying and filming at the same time and can ensure that you get the shot.

Drone videographers must also master the pan. Remember that video game analogy from the beginning? When you switch to an aerial view, the first thing you do is look around. Often you want a 360-degree view of your surrounding. In videography terms, this “looking around” slowly is called a pan shot.

The videographer starts at one point and then either pans right, moving the aerial photography drone camera in that direction or left, moving in the opposite direction. You can also pan up or down. Pan shots are a staple of drone videography and provide an excellent perspective for understanding how various structures relate to each other.

Drone Videography Post-Production

v3.jpg

Piecing together the shots from an aerial photography drone shoot is another skill that drone videographers use. After reviewing the footage for the best shots, the videographer or editor cuts them together to make the recorded footage that gets used in films, advertisements or is released to the media.

Hire Sky Eye Films for Drone Videography

As you can see, drone videography is a skilled specialty service that pilots train for and practice. At Sky Eye Films, our videographers have years of experiencing piloting drones, teaching others to pilot them, and taking both photos and videos using HD cameras mounted on drones.

If you need drone videography and want to be sure your pilot can get the shot you need, give us a call. If you’re interested in learning to fly drones to try your hand at drone photography or videography, we can help you with that, too. Our adult drone pilot school will get you started.