The internet has been flooded with amazing video content for years. And now, with consumer drones being so readily available to the public, more and more videographers are utilising drones to get an extraordinary angle for their projects. How then, can one differentiate their drone videos to make something that stands out from the crowd? Here’s 5 tips for drone pilots and videographers to make your next drone video stick out from the crowd.
1. Plan your flight.
Needless to say, this is the most important thing about making a drone video. Before you get flying be sure to know your surroundings well. This will help greatly when planning your shots and finding obstacles you would have to avoid. Whether you’re working with a dedicated camera operator, or flying solo, the last thing you would want is one of the most important things is knowing the flight route you’re taking. This will lead to smoother dynamic shots, which will add a finished, experienced look to your drone videos.
2. Find the optimal lighting situation.
Lighting can make or break photography or videography of any kind. This is no different for drone videos. When shooting outdoors, as most drone videos tend to do, the sun becomes the main lighting source, which places a big importance on the placement of shadows in your shots. It’s important to keep the sun’s position in mind when planning shots for your video. Do you want a bright, evenly lit shot? Maybe shoot in the middle of the day. Do you want long, drawn out shadows? It might be better to shoot in the morning or late afternoon. Decisions like this, when executed well, can add a lot to any drone video. Our video 'Northern Beaches by Drone', published earlier this year, shows how our team was able to utilise different lighting situations to create different beautiful shots along the Northern Beaches of Sydney.
3. Think differently.
Filming with a drone adds infinite new camera angles that wouldn’t be achievable with just a regular camera. Despite this, with the wealth of drone videos online, it’s hard to think of something that hasn’t been done before. For example, the ‘Best of Show’ winner at this years New York City Drone Film Festival, ‘2d Run - Mixed Motion Project’ takes the traditional ‘top down’ vertical drone camera angle and make something completely unique out of it.
4. Tell a story.
Of course, drone footage is great for showing off a gorgeous landscape or a serene ocean setting, but if you want to create a really memorable drone video, tell a story. Another example from the New York City Drone Film Festival, ‘Greystone Rising’ by Jody Johnson, shows the controversial demolition of Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in reverse. The building, erected in 1876, was one of the United States’ oldest and most historically significant psychiatric hospitals, and was demolished in 2015 despite efforts by preservation groups to save the building for its historic importance. Jonhnson used her surroundings to tell the narrative of the building, made possible by the creative use of drone video.
5. Watch Other Drone Videos!
This is probably the most crucial thing when it comes to creating truly unique drone videos. Watch as many videos as you can, see what others are doing and try source inspiration from that. But more importantly, see what others are not doing. By finding new ways to show off your drone footage, you'll be able to create memorable, unique videos that can generate quite a buzz online.
As with any creative pursuit, the key here is keep honing your skills. Keep flying, practice your shots, but most importantly, have fun. There's a lot to be said about the magic that can be captured when improvising and having fun while flying. A lot of the videos made at Alphaflight Aero are done by our two-man team, comprising of a drone pilot and dedicated camera operator. When going off script, it is essential for these two to have the same idea in mind, and this boils down to effective communication. Once the team are on the same page, it's easy to get some beautiful shots. By keeping all of these tips in mind, your drone videos will soon become interesting, dynamic and professional. Happy flying!