Shooting Cinematic Drone Footage

The drone has pretty much changed how filmmaking is done over the past few years. More and more professional filmmakers are using it and it’s also made amateur film or video enthusiasts realize they can achieve great quality film when they have good equipment and know how to use them.

If you love using drones but feel like your footage is still lacking, here are some techniques you might want to employ.

  1. Think of the right time of day to shoot.

To achieve a cinematic, quality look to your drone footage, it’s important to know the basics of good filmmaking as well – this means capturing shots in good lighting. Take into consideration the time of day of your shoot because drone cameras don’t have good dynamic range. Essentially, for a dramatic look, the golden hour is your best bet.

  1. Have a good ND filter.

This might seem like a no brainer but sometimes, it’s easily overlooked when using a drone. A good ND filter helps you correctly expose your shots, improving the captured drone footage immensely.

  1. Be slow.

You have to work your drone like you’re working your camera if it was in your hand. Go slow and get buttery smooth camera movements instead of hastily moving it from one spot to another.

  1. Use color grading.

There’s nothing wrong with making adjustments to your drone footage especially if it could use some color grading but just remember that less is more. And make sure that all the color grades are consistent throughout your film or else you’ll end up with crap.

  1. Level your shots.

Make sure you have a level horizon in your footage otherwise you’ll end up with an amateurish take. Having a clear, level horizon keeps things professional.

  1. Go for the zoom.

Use a variation of shots and don’t be afraid of zooming in. This is especially true if you’re shooting in 4k. This will give you tighter and more dynamic shots.

  1. Ruthlessly trim your footage.

Like any regular footage, be critical about what to include and what not to include. Just because you’ve captured plenty of footage on your drone doesn’t mean you have to use them all. Clip out the boring or unnecessary parts, tell a great story and make sure each shot works with the other.