There’s nothing quite like aerial shots, especially with drones. The freedom to be able to capture angles from high above, off a cliff, or in the thick of the moment is unquestionably a major draw for filmmakers. As drones become a prominent tool in photography and film, certain techniques are required to capture specific shots. We’ve put together tips for 5 different kinds of shots including the Fly-by, the Reveal, the Chase, the High-Pan, and the Explorer (roaming shots).
The fly-by is a type of shot where the camera flies by or over a scene. In the video below starting at 0:15 seconds, you see the operator set up on top of the shot and fly over the moving subjects. The trick with the fly-by shot is setting up the frame before the subject appears in the frame and coordinating the movement of the gimbal to the movement of the subjects.
Pro tip: Set your gimbal speed to match the speed of the subject. If you are panning by a slowing moving boat on a river at a far distance, a slow pan should do the trick. But, if you want to capture a speed boat at a close distance, your pan will have to be much quicker.
The art of the reveal is in its introduction. The reveal shot is best captured when flying low to the ground with the camera facing down, heading toward the subject. By slowly tilting up, you slowly reveal the subject of choice. The same can be done by tilting the gimbal down to reveal. At 1:04, you see the operator fly close to the water towards the edge of the waterfall. As the drone makes its way up the stream, the gimbal slowly tilts upward to reveal the length and myriad of waterfalls.
Pro tip: Keep an eye out for drone shadows or pesky distractions that show up randomly as you are flying
The chase is a shot that describes itself. By chasing a subject, you are able to create awesome action shots. To set this shot up, set up a good distance (20 feet or more) behind the subject. By quickly approaching the target, make sure to to initiate the second step which is to either slow down and track the subject, or add an elevation aspect by slowly climbing in altitude. Starting at 0:46, we see the drone roughly 20 meters away from the horse approaching at a fast speed. It then tracks above the horse then transitions to a slow pan track.
Pro tip: This is a hard shot to accomplish. Beginning pilots should definitely go out to an open park and practice multiple times before pursuing the chase shot.
The High Pan
The high pan is a great shot to showcase landscapes and the subject in proximity to its surroundings. It is generally a good idea to set up your drone relatively close to your subject and once you are in the air to take a full 360° to visualize the best pan shot. Once you find your specific target, lock onto the subject and start panning either left to right, or right to left. At 2:00 minutes, we see the drone subject lock onto the waterfall, then slowly pan left as it moves by the subject. It keeps the waterfall centered while also showing the vast glacier scope deep into the horizon.
Pro tip: Make sure to pan multiple times so that you have multiple options to edit in post.
The last shot to master isn’t really a shot, but more so a time to be creative. Usually, after performing a reveal or high pan, it’s a good idea to explore any other possibilities of shots surrounding the area. You will never know what kind of footage could prove to be useful when you are editing in post. Sometimes when you eclipse over the tall trees or peak over the mountain ridge, you’ll never know what beauties lie ahead. The video below showcases great examples of exploring the Golden Gate Bridge. With certain shots planned and others self explored, the drone operator has plenty of footage for post.
Pro tip: Please be aware of your surroundings when exploring. Always have your eyes on the drone to ensure safe flying and keep an eye on your battery levels!
Now take your new learned skills to the test! Check out Lumoid to rent various drones to capture stunning images and videos. If you aren’t sure which drone to choose, give us a call and we would be more than willing to get you situated with the best drone possible!