Introduction: Shoot Aerial Video Like a Pro - Drone Guide
What is aerial video and what is used?
Aerial video is shooting video of the ground from an elevated position, not supported by a ground-based structure. Platforms for aerial footage include helicopter, fixed wing aircraft and even balloons. However, in this Instructable I will cover drone aerial video. Here's some examples:
Step 1: The Drone
There's really three ways to approach your decision with what drone to use for aerial video. Using the DJI Phantom 3 as baseline, as this is the most popular drone.
Build your own (>500$):
+ Least expensive
-Fairly easy to fly (simulator recommended)
-Fish eye lens disortion
-Bad video quality
-Difficult to achieve smooth video
-Flying time usually >15min
DJI Phantom 3 and 4 (800-1800$):
+Great video quality
+Adjustment of video settings
+Functions like "Follow me" and "Point of interest"
+Live HD video streaming
+Easy to fly (no training needed)
+Flying time 15-25min
-Mnimal amount of fish eye distortion (only Phantom 3)
+Best video quality
+No distortion (true cinematic video)
+Extremely stable and high reliability
+Flying time 15min
+Live HD video streaming
-Fairly difficult to fly (a lot of knowledge needed)
-Extremely expensive (4000$)
Needless to say, the DJI Phantom 3 and 4 is a good match for the vast majority of people. Unless you want to use a DSLR camera for your aerial video, the Phantom 3 and 4 will work perfectly fine and amaze you with stunning footage. In case you don't want to spend around 1000$ for a camera drone, there might be some good options for you on websites such as Banggood, Gearbest or even Ebay. If you wish to build your own cheap camera drone, I recommend you buy the necessary parts from websites like Hobbyking or Banggood.
Step 2: Lighting and Setting
Record at the golden hour! This is a short period of time before sunset and after sunrise during which daylight is redder and softer. This will increase the dramatic effect in your video.Read more about the golden hour here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_hour_(photog...
Work with water! I find the most beautiful time and place is during the golden hour flying above a lake. Obviously this will be very personal, but I think we can all agree that it's has a calming effect. Remember, nature is a beautiful place, use it to your advantage! Even a old tree can tell a story.
Step 3: Follow Me and Point of Interest
Use it! Find ways to incorporate these great features into your videos! Do you shoot a specific object? Use the point of interest function to autonomously fly 360° around that specific object.
The follow me function does exactly what it sounds like, it follows you. This is a great function in case you are shooting alone.
Download these free and absolutely beautiful video transitions. http://rampantdesigntools.com/fkr-gkv2-ropmv-5783... The one I use the most is the package called "Impact Lights", also seen in the GIF above. These transitions will definetely make your videos look more professional!
Even though the DJI Phantom have a camera used for aerial video it sometimes need some studio magic. I like to add some color by increasing the saturation level. I also increase/decrease the level of black/white color depending on the shot.
Operating the Drone
Be gentle! Don't make any fast and unexpected motions as this will disturb the flow in your video. One of the best tips I can give you of what not to do, is to leave the rudder/yaw stick. The yaw makes your drone rotate around its own axis, and The DJI Phantom have a sensitive rudder stick and even the slightest movement will be significant in your video.
Use the tilt function for more perspective and interesting angles. Tilt the camera straight down over a specfic object, then increase altitude rapidly as more of the area reveals for the camera. This makes a cool effect!