Due to rapid advances in digital technology many photographers are gradually starting to add video to their arsenal. I was reluctant at first, but because I easily could record videos with pretty much any of my digital cameras, video slowly crept into my work.
Then drones started to get better, cheaper and easier to fly, so I decided to take a plunge and get me one of these fine examples of human ingenuity.
About 9 months ago I bought my first drone – DJI Phantom 3 Professional and started learning how to use it. It was pretty easy to get it up in the air and have basic control over it, however shooting smooth aerial videos was a whole another story. Drones are very responsive to movement of the cotrol sticks, which results in a jerky motion and jerky video. I had to learn how to operate the drone smoothly, and there are basically two main options achieving that:
1. Use the DJI Go app to adjust some settings making the drone react more smoothly to your actions (e.g. moving the sticks). And then spend lots of time perfecting your drone flying skills focusing solely on getting smooth cinematic shots.
2. Use the Litchi app. It allows you to program your drone’s flight, and it is great at it. For example you can set a point of interest on a map and have your drone circle around it in a perfect circle constantly focusing on that point creating beautiful sweeping aerial footage. This is how I made this video:
I spent time learning both – manually controlling the drone, and the Litchi app. Both of these skills are very useful in achieving good aerial video. Of course, I am still learning and perfecting my skills, but I was able to get some very nice footage alread.
Take a look at a short demo reel of my Twelve Apostles aerial videos:
I hope you like it, and will be happy to hear any comments or suggestions regarding any aspect of shooting aerial video in the comments below.