Flying your drone around can be pretty straightforward. However, when you start to fly professionally, you will have the occasional need to follow a moving object or pan around a still object in a tight space—both can be difficult shots to keep the drone and camera steady. Maintaining a smooth shot makes a huge difference in the outcome of the video. Therefore, we have listed a few tips for capturing better drone video below to help drone pilots achieve better results.
Use smart tools – The Phantom 4 comes out of the box equipped with highly advanced and intelligent technology. Along with sensors to prevent you from hitting objects while flying, the Phantom 4 also has smart tools which allow you to draw a path for your drone to fly, tap to redirect your drones path, and a tool called ActiveTrack, which allows you to follow an object, fly alongside an object, or keep the camera locked into an object while the drone flies around it. You, as the drone pilot, have precise camera and gimbal control with all of these tools which allows the pilot to get creative with their shots.
Video Settings – The DJI Phantom 4 and Inspire have stripped most of the typical components of a camera out of the body and have instead opted to put those controls inside the DJI GO app. This decision keeps the camera weight down to increase flight time and agility, but also allows the pilot to have control of camera settings from the ground. This means that you can change ISO, contrast, frame rate, and more on the fly. We recommend shooting in D-Log video color settings. This causes the footage to be very flat which helps prevent over exposure from the sky. This also gives the editor the choice to add contrast and saturation in post. We recommend shooting in the highest resolution possible, which will be 4K on a Phantom. You may also choose to shoot in 60 frames per second which can be slowed down in post.
Slow & Steady – Flying fast can be fun but the best drone footage is usually captured by flying slow and steady. Quick whips, pans and tilts do not look good in the final video. Flying fast also causes the propellers to be visible which will quickly ruin even the best of shots. If you do decide to fly fast, we recommend changing your settings to 60 frames per second to give the editor the flexibility of slowing down the footage if necessary.
Time of day – Shooting at sunrise and sunset “golden hours” of the day can produce cinematic footage that is very aesthetically pleasing. However, depending on what type of job you are flying, it may not be the best time of the day to capture drone video footage. Flying during the morning and late afternoons cause shadows to be visible which can ruin shots, especially if you are trying to capture footage of a large building. One side of the building will be facing the sun while the other side is drowned in dark shadows. We recommend capturing drone video midday, when the sun is at it’s highest peak, to eliminate shadows.
Practice – Last but not least, Practice Practice Practice! You will never be proficient at flying the drone if you do not practice flying your drone! You will need to learn the in’s and out’s of the smart tools, camera settings, flight maneuvers, and of course the drone itself. We have embedded a video below which showcases some of the shots that Drone Dispatch looks for in every drone flight so that you can practice. If you’re interested in making money with your drone, we are always looking for pilots to join the Drone Dispatch Pilot Network.