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To make amazing video reels and awe inspiring cinematography, a videographer must possess a vast array of skill sets to bring his or her picture to life. They must have an unique eye to envision the shot, an uncanny ability to transform the norm into something extravagant, and a variety of different shots to amaze the audience. One way to amaze the audience is by using drones to provide aerial imagery. We will outline some basic shot techniques used by renowned operators to achieve cinematic aerial shots!

1. Slow and Steady

The number one rule when using drones for film is to fly slow. Going slower is usually more cinematic and gives the viewer the idea that you are shooting from a large platform, such as a helicopter.

Make sure your inputs on the remote controller are subtle and gradual. We do not want fast accelerations and decelerations as the camera will shake creating distortion and/or “jello effects.”

2. Two Axes of Movement

By using two axes of movement with your drone, meaning traversing say forward and down, or back and up, will give you a heightened feel of a big-budget shot. Be sure to fly at a smooth and steady rate to ensure the cinematic build up!

3. Strafe

Strafing, or moving directly sideways is another technique used for showing vast landscapes. Usually, most landscapes are shown with the drone moving forward or backwards, but with the strafe, you are eliciting more of a reveal feature which keeps the audience on the the edge of their seat.

4. Orbit

The orbit is a great shot to really show the 3D effects of a feature. By slowly rotating around an object, you show the complexities of its geometry and give face to every angle. *Pro tip: by varying the speeds of the orbit around the object, you not only draw the audience in, but also show a creative spin on the shot.*

5. Fly-Through

This shot is excellent in the sense that it brings to life the surrounding environment. It is a hard shot to manage as you are relying on the screen in front of you for sight, but it really gives the audience a sense of involvement in the shot. By racing through or by a scene, you bring the action up close, leaving the audience to want more. Be careful though, this shot is highly technical and requires a great operator with tons of drone flight experience.

6. Gimbal Movement

By coming gimbal movement with drone movement, you bring together another dimension of cinematography. This will give you 3 axes of movement, making your shot look even more professional. A classic shot combined with gimbal movement is called the reveal which is show in the video above.

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