Over the past few years, drones have revolutionised the world of filmmaking. They offer filmmakers a level of creative freedom and flexibility that was previously impossible, allowing them to capture stunning aerial footage from unique perspectives. In this blog post, I will talk about how drones have transformed the art of filmmaking and why they are now an essential tool for any filmmaker.
Changing the Landscape of Aerial Filmmaking
Have you ever watched a film and wondered how they captured the sweeping landscape shots and stunning footage? Chances are, they used a drone. Drones offer the ability to fly over and around objects that wouldn’t be possible with traditional filmmaking equipment. With a drone in hand, a filmmaker can capture footage that is both dynamic and visually creative.
Before drones, filmmakers would have had to hire helicopters or cranes to capture aerial footage, which would have been both expensive and impractical. But, the arrival of drones offered a more affordable and practical way to capture those stunning aerial shots.
Furthermore, drones are relatively easy to use and require minimal setup time. Filmmakers can launch a drone within minutes and start capturing footage straightway. This allows them to spend more time focusing on their creative vision rather than worrying about the technical aspects of filming.
Types of Drones
There are several types of drones, including quadcopters, hexacopters, and octocopters. Quadcopters are the more common type of drone used in filmmaking due to their stability and ease of use. Whereas, hexacopters and octocopters offer more stability and lift capacity for larger cameras but are more expensive.
Octocopter drones have eight rotors, while quadcopters have four. One of the advantages of octocopters over quadcopters is that they can continue to fly even if they lose one or more of their propellers. The remaining propellers are able to compensate for the lost propeller and maintain the drone’s flight stability. It is also equipped with sensors such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, and barometers that provide feedback on the drone’s position and altitude, which allows it to adjust the power output of each motor accordingly.
In contrast, quadcopters rely on all four propellers to maintain flight stability. If a quadcopter loses one of its propellers, it will no longer be able to maintain its stability and will crash. This is why octocopters are often used for commercial applications such as aerial cinematography and surveying, where reliability is critical for safety.
Another important piece of equipment for filmmakers is the gimbal. A gimbal is a device that helps to stabilise the camera and reduce the effects of camera movement during flight. It’s important to choose a gimbal that is compatible with your camera and drone to ensure maximum stability and quality of the footage.
Another technology that is becoming increasingly popular in aerial filming is FPV (First Person View). FPV is an exciting and immersive way to fly a drone, but it requires a different skill set than traditional drone piloting. The first skill required for this is the ability to fly a drone without relying on line-of-sight visibility. In traditional drone piloting, the pilot can see the drone and its surroundings at all times. However, with FPV, the pilot relies on the camera mounted on the drone to see where it’s going. This requires a high level of spatial awareness and the ability to quickly interpret the visual information provided by the camera.
FPV pilots often fly in areas with obstacles, such as trees, buildings, and other drones. This requires a high level of hand-eye coordination and quick reaction times to avoid collisions and fly the drone in a safe and controlled manner.
FPV drones are primarily used for racing and acrobatics, whereas camera drones or aerial photography drones (Non-FPV) are focused on capturing smooth and stable footage for filmmaking, photography, and other creative applications.
Expanding the Possibilities of Filmmaking
Many drones have GPS technology and built-in stabilisation, which make it easier for filmmakers to focus on framing the shot and capturing the footage they need. Another feature is obstacle avoidance technology, which helps to prevent collisions with trees, buildings, and other objects in the drone’s path.
Many non-FPV drones also come with high-quality cameras built-in, allowing filmmakers to capture stunning aerial footage without the need for additional equipment. Some drones even feature 4K resolution and HDR capabilities, which equips filmmakers with the tools they need to capture professional-quality footage with minimal setup.
Drones can fly in areas that are difficult for humans to access, such as high altitudes, narrow spaces, or hazardous terrain. This makes them an essential tool for capturing footage of natural disasters, wildlife documentaries, or extreme sports events.
With the ability to control the camera angle, altitude, and flight path, filmmakers can capture footage from unique perspectives that were previously impossible. This allows them to tell their story in a way that is both visually creative and emotionally impactful.
On a personal note, I have a *DJI Mini 3 Pro, which I find very easy to use and the footage is exceptional. This drone is under 250g so it doesn’t require special training to use and it is relatively inexpensive for a quality drone.
*DJI Mini 3 Pro affiliate link to Amazon. I will earn a small commission should you buy through this link.
You can see more examples of my drone footage on my relaxation YouTube channel Scenic Exploration. Here is one of them.
If you need background music for your drone film, Media Music Now offers a wide variety of royalty-free music to fit the mood of your footage.
If you have found this blog post useful and have any experience with drones you would like to share please feel free to comment. And if there’s anything else you would like me to cover related to drones let me know in the comments.