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Some Cinematic Shooting Skills

Discussion in 'Photos and Videos' started by Fleesion, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. Fleesion

    Dec 10, 2015
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    More interaction and discussion here: Cinematic Shooting Skills

    Our drones enable casual users to film beautiful scenery in their everyday life or on vacation. However, skilled professionals who use drones to film movies and TV shows can capture footage that’s often distinctly more beautiful and powerful. How do they do this? Well, take a closer look at some of the special skills and techniques that set the pros apart from the Joes.

    Finding ForegroundLandscapes often make for awe-inspiringly beautiful photos, but filming a landscape high in the air isn’t always so exciting. There are significant benefits to finding a nice foreground when shooting aerial video. One of my personal favorites is using what’s called a “closed framing.” This is when you start a shot with only an object in the foreground visible, then do a gimbal tilt or control the aircraft to reveal the whole landscape or something cool that the audience couldn’t see at the start of the shot. Closed framings give the shot a nice rhythm, and when they finally see the landscape, it’ll blow their minds!


    In fact, casual users capture footage with closed framings all the time! Many “Dronies” employ them well. Dronies start with just the pilot (and maybe their friends and some spectators) in the frame, then fly backwards to reveal the environment. Feel free to share your favorite dronies in the comments/thread.

    Even if you don’t do a complete closed framing and just frame your shot with an object in foreground, it will give your shot nice depth, which is an element of composition that often gets overlooked by the casual videographer.
    You have to make sure your focus is set correctly, and then plan out your shot. You can control the aircraft manually, or use Waypoints or TapFly to help you out.
    Relative Motion
    Shots that capture relative motion express speed and intensity. One way to capture relative motion is to have the aircraft and filmed object move towards each other. The hardest thing about executing these shots is that the pilot has to accurately estimate the distance between the aircraft and the object they’re filming while their drone and the object are speeding towards each other. Airflow also needs to be taken into account, especially if you’re moving towards a car or truck.


    Some pros will get really close to an object. So close that the aircraft and the filmed object may only have few centimeter’s distance between them as they pass each other!

    Capturing Speed
    The Phantom 4 can reach a top speed of 45mph. This is fast, but it's still hard to film cars travelling quickly. As such, cars often need to slow down so the drone can keep up. So how do you make a car look like it's speeding by?There are two general solutions to this problem:1. Fly Close to the Ground
    This will enhance the sense of speed because the foreground will be rushing by.
    2.Use Medium and Long Lenses
    The DJI inspire 1 Pro can support 45mm Micro 4/3 lenses. Since it doesn’t have a full sensor, the effective focal length is around 90mm. The compression of space will add make the foreground appear to be moving even faster.

    Speed : Shot Scale
    The aircraft should fly fast when filming buildings or mountains that are far away. In these shots, there is no conspicuous foreground, and it is hard to capture the relative motion if the aircraft is flying slowly.


    Fly slowly when filming shots framed like photo above. You won’t need to move to quickly here, because the camera’s angled straight downwards and it's at a relatively low altitude.

    Also, if you’ve got a prominent object in the foreground, like in the GIF below, keep in mind that it may be difficult to keep the object in the center of the shot if the aircraft’s flying too quickly. Though with the Inspire’s dual operator control, it’s easier to do so.


    Normally, a skilled pilot will approach an object, then slow down as the aircraft approaches the object so they don’t lose track of it. The audience can hardly sense the slowdown because when the aircraft is close to the object and there’s lots of space behind the object, relative movement between the object and the aircraft is significant.

    Backlight can really make a shot powerful.


    At sunset, tuck the aircraft behind the objects or scenery you want to shoot, and you can get a nice silhouetted shot like the one below.
    Obviously, you can also get the same effect at dawn. The best time to shoot is about 30 minutes before sunrise or sunset.

    Think About Your Editor!

    Whether you’re filming for a big production or just for fun, you’ll almost certainly be doing some editing. To make sure you can get the most use out of your footage, make sure each shot has a clear end and a clear beginning by hovering for a few seconds at the beginning and end of each shot. Start recording, chill for a few seconds, then start flying. Make sure your movements are as smooth as possible, and the end of the shot, stop and hover again before you stop recording. Your editor will thank you (or you can thank yourself)!

    Thanks for reading guys. Have any additional tips of your own? Let us know!
    #1 Fleesion, Jun 16, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2016
    Patagoniafilms likes this.