Drones in video production and how they can transform your workflow and creations

It goes without saying that drones have completely transformed the way that we record video and shoot films. Being able to take flight with a high-quality film-grade camera has created countless unique opportunities for breathtaking shots. However, using drones in video production isn’t exactly new as a concept. Using various kinds of robots and devices to film in otherwise impossible or difficult situations is something that filmmakers have done for a long time. However, it’s only recently that we’ve been given access to these affordable drones that can completely transform the way you shoot.

In fact, there are many filmmaking courses these days that focus solely on the use of drones and how they can be used to transform your workflow. So in this post, we’re going to take a look at drones in video production and how they can be used to transform your workflow to create utterly unique videos.


The benefits of using drones in your video production workflow

First, it’s important to actually understand what a drone can do for your video production workflow. Most people know that drones can be used to shoot aerial footage that would otherwise be expensive to capture, but it goes beyond that. Here are some of the biggest advantages of using a drone in your video production workflow:

  • Take advantage of unique angles. One of the biggest benefits of using a quality drone is that you’re able to take advantage of unique angles that are otherwise difficult or flat out impossible with a regular camera. For instance, you can capture those breathtaking aerial scenes with a drone, but you can also shoot very low shots or record footage in inaccessible areas. The possibilities are endless and it’s down to your imagination and creativity.
  • Produce high-quality footage. Many people still believe that drones either have low-quality cameras or rely on smartphones and small video recording devices in order to capture footage. That’s not the case any more thanks to high-quality drones that utilize 4K cameras and other amazing features. This allows people to shoot incredibly high-quality footage and stills, making a drone one of the most impactful devices in a filmmaker’s arsenal.
  • A low-cost way of tackling recording challenges. We’ve already mentioned that drones can tackle some very unique angles, but the side effect to this is that it’s one of the most flexible and cost-effective solutions for capturing unique footage. In the past, you’d need to hire a professional service if you wanted to record breathtaking footage of a vast landscape or to follow something fast such as a vehicle. However, with affordable drones on the market, any film crew can pick one up and add it to their box of tools.
  • Make use of motion shots. Lastly, one of the unique advantages of using a drone is the ability to take amazing motion shots. Whether it’s following a car chase or flying through a city, drones offer filmmakers countless options to get creative and utilize motion in unique ways that have never been done before.


Picking the right drone for your needs

Now that we’ve explained some of the biggest benefits of using drones, let’s see how you can fit a drone into your workflow.

Consider the camera that is on the drone or if you’ll need to attach your own

First, you’re going to want to pick a camera that works for your needs. This is going to depend on the type of footage that you want to shoot on your drone. For example, a high-end device such as the DJI FPV is a great option if you want to take 4K footage which will then be edited and corrected before being used in your productions. However, if you’re not looking to invest too much money as an indie or startup studio, then a cheaper drone with a phone mount can actually work wonders for certain types of motion shots or simple aerial footage.

Battery life can be a concern depending on your use case

Depending on your particular use case, you might also need to consider the battery life of your drone and how long it needs to last. Certain film productions may need drones that can last a really long time, especially if they’re going to be used for long shots. It’s not uncommon for some studios to purchase several drones to ensure that there’s always one available for filming. As such, you’ll want to examine the battery life of a drone and see if it’s long enough for your projects.

Always consider the budget that you’re working with

Drones can either be a tiny expense or an extremely big investment depending on the size of your studio and your needs. If you’re a dedicated studio that shoots a lot of footage then it makes sense to focus on high-end options that will give you the most value for your money. However, if you’re looking to shoot aerial footage on a budget, then you can easily go for cheaper options and mount existing camera options.

Will you be flying the drone or will a specialist handle it?

You’ll also want to consider how you’ll be using the drone. Will you personally pilot it and record the footage you need, or will you need to hire an expert? We suggest going for the latter if your production needs to be professional, but learning how to pilot your drone and take great shots is also helpful for smaller teams.

Is quieter operation something you care about?

One consideration that you might need to keep in mind is the use of brushless motors. This is a different kind of motor that is used in more expensive drones that help to reduce the amount of noise it produces but can also affect its flight characteristics. This is a topic that is a little out of the scope of this article, so you’ll want to do a bit of research on comparing different kinds of drone motors.

Do you need a VR headset to go with your drone?

Lastly, consider if you want your drone to have options for VR piloting. This is useful for recording certain types of motion footage. But in most cases, a typical screen is all you’re going to need if you want to record simple footage. However, some drone setups do actually come with a VR headset (or offer it as an optional add-on) so it’s something you’ll need to consider in your budget.


Making more effective use of your drone investment

After deciding on a drone and purchasing it, you’ll want to invest some time into learning how to use it. This is important even if you won’t be piloting it yourself because understanding how to take care of it and maintain it will improve its lifespan and help you find more unique ways to use it. As such, here are our top tips on how to make the most of your drone investment:

Learn how to fly with cheaper drones if possible

First, make sure you learn how to fly a drone before you pilot your expensive one. This will help you get used to the way a drone moves and also the view that you’ll be using. Keep in mind that drones can handle very differently at times, so you may need to spend some time adjusting to your new one.

Even if your drone can go fast, learn to take it slow

Take it nice and slow, even if you know that your drone can go really fast. Going too fast with your drone will ultimately lead to problems such as potential crashes and even damaged hardware. It’s also not great for taking footage because the recordings can seem blurry and out of focus at times. Don’t rush things even if you’re taking a complex motion shot.

Plan your shots instead of winging it

It can be a lot of fun to fly your drone around and take impromptu footage. However, your drone does have a limited battery life and great shots are heavily reliant on the lighting conditions from the sun. As such, make sure you plan your shots so that you don’t end up wasting your time.

Shoot a lot of footage

Lastly, remember that you should always record as much footage as possible. Getting great motion or aerial shots is difficult and you typically don’t have much room for error due to factors like lighting conditions and battery life. To get around this, you need to plan your shots but you also have to record as much footage as possible. The more you have to work with, the better it’ll be for your production because you just have more footage to play with. You should also remember to shoot in the highest resolution possible so that it’s easier to manipulate and zoom in or out as needed.

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