Filming with drones: tips you need to know

Drones have revolutionised the way that brands create cinematic content. Perfect for sweeping landscapes and epic action shots, drones offer the ability to capture crystal clear shots at altitudes that just aren’t feasible for your average ground-based system.  
This year, drone footage has been invaluable, as teams shrink and shooting guidelines change in response to the ongoing pandemic. However, this means that we’re seeing more drone shots than ever – and with Christmas coming up, no doubt plenty of aspiring filmmakers will be finding one under the tree. Here are the main things that you should be looking out for when creating branded content with drones.   

KNOW THE RULES  

Probably the most important tip – make sure when you fly your drone that you’re actually … allowed to fly the drone. Check if you need permissions to film in the area you’ve chosen, and make sure you’re following legislation for drone usage at all times. The rules are changing in December 2020, doing away with the limitations on commercial and non-commercial drone operations – instead, rules will depend on where you fly your drone, and the type that you have.  

SHOOT MORE THAN YOU NEED  

The first rule of filming any content is to shoot more than you actually think you’ll need. Only filming what you think is necessary may speed you up on the day, but you run the risk of realising later that your shot isn’t perfect – with no extra footage to replace it.  
Assume that for every 60 minutes of footage, you’re likely to get 15-20 minutes of great content. Plan for this, and make sure that you get the most out of your filming time.  

BE PREPARED  

When you’re working with a drone, it’s easy to get carried away and just plan on filming everything and hoping it turns out amazing. This isn’t the case – you should prepare for drone filming in the same way that you would prepare for any shoot. Plan out your shots, keep an eye on lighting, and ensure that you’ve practised extensively with the equipment you’re using.   

SHOOT IN 4K  

This one’s easy – you want cinematic content? You better shoot in a cinematic format. 4k can be a pain to edit (especially if your computer’s prone to acting up), but it pays off when it comes to the final product. Shooting in high quality means picking up every detail in your shot, and makes it easier if you need to zoom or crop it in editing.  

FLY SLOWLY  

Have drone, limited time, go fast – right? Wrong. If you want your footage to look professional, flying slowly is your best option. Not only does it mean that you get that serene, slow-motion feel, but it also reduces the risk of crashing into anything or getting an unintentionally blurry shot. Both very important things to consider when filming using a drone.  

CALL IN THE EXPERTS 

Finally, if you’re thinking of experimenting with drone filming, the best advice we can offer is this: know when it’s time to call in the experts. It’s not enough, unfortunately, to just buy a good bit of tech and go for it – you need to be able to navigate the legal technicalities of filming using a drone, the processes of getting the perfect shot, and the experience to be able to film without catching the blades, the crew, or unwanted extras in your shot. By all means, try out new ways to capture footage, but you should always be aiming to put out content that represents your brand in the best possible way – and an amateur shot ultimately isn’t going to bring in new business.  
Need help with your video production? Get in touch with our team to discuss your filming needs. We already have the drone, the permits and the experience, and we’re just a click away.