5 Tips to Improve Your Drone Footage
Drones can capture impressive aerial images and videos from a range of unique perspectives but achieving high-quality footage can be tricky.
If you are new to the drone world, check out our top recommendations for beginner drones to get you started. Alternatively, take a look at our drone guide for every budget with top picks for every price point.
Here are our top 5 tips to help drone operators achieve smooth, professional-quality footage.
Tip 1: Slow Movements = Smooth Footage
It might sound obvious, but you would be surprised at how often drone operators abruptly jerk their drone from one side to the other to get lots of different shots.
The key is to make controlled movements avoiding any sudden changes in direction, moving the joysticks and gimbal very slowly. Use long, coasting movements and panning motions, flying slowly from one side to the other to prevent your footage from being jittery.
To best achieve smooth shots, we recommend altering your drone’s flight path rather than moving its camera. And remember, footage can be edited during the post-production process. So, focus on capturing high-quality shots which can be sped up later on if required.
Tip 2: Master the Art of Drone Flying
To achieve high quality aerial images and videos, it is worthwhile mastering some drone flying techniques that will elevate your footage. Some shots worth perfecting include:
- Panning – Focus on a stationary object and slowly pan in a straight line from one side to another.
- The Reveal – Identify your focal point whether that is a building or a person. Starting at eye-level and in proximity, fly your drone backwards slowly. Ensuring the camera remains focused on the focal point can be harder than it seems!
- Birds-Eye View – Keep your gimbal facing downwards while slowly travelling upwards. As you rise, yaw very slightly.
- The Orbit – Circle your drone around a fixed object while keeping the camera directed towards it.
Tip 3: Explore Intelligent Flight Modes
Once you’ve gotten to grips with some drone flying techniques, take advantage of the intelligent flight modes available on DJI drones such the Mavic 2 Pro to take your footage to the next level.
These modes help operators capture cinematic footage that would be difficult to achieve manually. Some intelligent flight modes are:
- ActiveTrack – Follow a range of objects such as people, boats and bikes with greater tracking precision.
- Cinematic Mode – This flight mode slows the yaw speed and lengthens the breaking distance, allowing for softer camera panning.
- Point of Interest – After identifying a desired object as a ‘point of interest’, the drone will automatically circle the object keeping it as the focal point.
- Tripod Mode – Achieve stutter-free footage by limiting movement and fixing your drone to a location.
Tip 4: Adjust Your Gimbal’s Settings
A drone’s gimbal keeps the drone steady to facilitate vibration-free footage. DJI drones are set with a high sensitivity for their gimbals by default.
By modifying your gimbal’s sensitivity to a lower setting, this will make it easier to practice with and achieve perfect shots.
Having solid gimbal control is key to achieving fluid videos.
Tip 5: Be Prepared
Preparation and prior planning are essential to achieving high-quality footage. Before embarking on your drone mission, consider these various elements to allow for as smooth filming as possible:
- Flying Regulations: Check up on local flying rules and get flying approval to ensure you are complying with regulations
- Prepare Equipment: Ensure batteries are fully charged, that you have all the equipment you require, you have storage space on your SD cards etc
- Check Weather Conditions and Site Safety: Check the weather forecast before your trip to check it’s safe to fly
- Inspection: Before taking off, undertake a visual and system inspection of your drone to ensure everything is operating correctly
There are various measures you can take to elevate your drone footage. Using slow and controlled movements, mastering some drone flying techniques, taking advantage of intelligent flight modes, modifying gimbal settings, and planning beforehand will make for professional quality footage.
It’s important to emphasise how critical it is to fly safely. Drones are not toys and can cause damage when not used carefully. Be sensible when flying and make sure you are complying with flying regulations.
Instead of buying a drone, why not rent one? DARe-3D’s drone hire offers daily and weekly rentals for a range of drones and accessories from manufacturers including DJI, Autel Robotics and Yuneec. Access the latest drones and equipment without the large price tag.