What makes a great drone shot?

Weather and Light:

One of the key factors in getting a great drone shot is the weather. Much like landscape photography so much goes into planning your shoot in line with the weather forecast and in drone training courses you learn to do this using a variety of apps, online services and meteorological equipment (an anemometer is the best £20 you’ll ever spend as a drone pilot)

Depending on the type of video you are shooting, the Holy Grail is usually low winds, beautiful sunlight and little to no cloud cover.

Top Tip: Stay close to your location the night before. In my experience its far easier to roll out of a camper van at 4am to grab a sun rise than it is to drive up the motorway for one!

Location, location, location: It’s very often worth doing a location scout before you go out filming as where you talk off and land can have a dramatic effect on the shots you can get. Again, staying over the night before a shoot can really pay off in this respect.

The Perfect Frame: No, I’m not talking about how to set up your enemies for a crime they didn’t commit. Lining up your shots to rules of composition such as the rule of thirds really helps your shot change from a snap into a professional looking image. See my blog on essential photography skills for more on this!

A Question of Perspective: Like any other form of cinematography a key decision is using the right lens- for those breath taking opening shots we might use a wide angle lens like the DJI 14mm or the Laowa 7.5mm for an ultra wide shot. If are bringing the shot tighter on a subject like an actor or a moving vehicle we might then use a telephoto lens like the Olympus 45mm.

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together: The DJI Mini 1 and 2 which are the first CE marked Open Category A1 drones have dramatically simplified the planning process for alot of basic drone flights. However, if you are flying anything larger then you need to make sure you’ve covered all your bases. A good start is obtaining landowner permission for take off and landing but it’s also often wise to include local authorities and police in your planning and to consider the airspace you are in. The Drone Assist app is very useful in this respect!

Team Work is the Dream Work: We’ve all been there; you are about to finish the perfect drone camera move when your spotter shouts ‘TREE!’ and you realise you are milliseconds from a very expensive mistake. Shooting in a dual operator team of pilot and camera operator allows one crew member to focus on the flying and another to focus on the camera move. This allows you to capture shots you simply could not get in a single operator flight.

Photoshop Magic! I’m really not a big fan of the expression ‘we can fix it in post!’. No-you can get it right in camera and enhance it in post! Shooting in raw (stills) or in Pro Res or raw Cine DNG (video) gives you the most amount of room to manipulate the image and turn your great shot into a spectacular one!

Of course the biggest factor in capturing amazing drone shots is practice, practice, practice so get yourself out there, get flying and send us some of your best drone shots? New competition anyone?!

Posted By

Frontrow Films


October 27, 2021

Case studies
View all

So pleased with our video! Thank you so much, we needed this to enter the National wedding awards! I will let you know how we get on. Thanks again!!