If you are getting into aerial filming using drones and are looking for some quick tips, check out this weeks interview that I have done with BBC Click – tips for aerial filming.
I was interviewed at Dronefest in London, a two day conference on all things drone related combined with a drone film festival that took place on the first evening. I had been shortlisted in the adventure sports category from 600 entries, with my Ledge Route, Ben Nevis film. In drone terms it’s quite an old film now and I wasn’t surprised to be beaten by something more unto date and frankly nicer! (The competitor in me was obviously disappointed though!)
Modern drones are really easy to fly and so we can get away with being poor pilots for 80% of the time we are filming. The 20% though is the element that makes the difference between average and good so learn to fly your drone in its manual settings, without GPS. I recommend buying something like the Hubsan x4 Micro Quadcopter and learning to fly it well indoors at home. Get to the stage where you can do figure of eights around your kitchen, are able to fly it coming towards you and able to land and take off from the furniture. Good drone control is critical to get the best shots and to be able to cope when things go wrong!
When people first get a drone they tend to go high and look down, its a wow perspective that brings instant gratification. The novelty soon wears off though and if you are not careful you will end up making a film that looks like it is designed to sell drones.
A drone is just another platform for a camera, it is a tripod in the sky or an infinitely variable dolly cam. You still need to frame your shots, setup your exposure, tell a story etc. Learn to use the drone creatively. Directors on set are becoming much more tuned into this now as they get use to working with drones, I had one last week who said straight off – ” we are looking for reveals and tracking shots – not aerials”.
If you are working for commercial gain in the UK you need a CAA Permission for Aerial Works and you need to be insured. This isn’t as straightforward as simply getting paid for what you are doing, if you are going to materially benefit from your footage you need a license. This could be an advertising film for your business, promotional footage for your event aerial photographs to sell your house. You can read more about the qualification process here.