5. My favorite TOP 5 aerial shots.
In this section, I’ll share with you 5 of my favorite cinematic drone shots which you can use for any video or film.
Drone shot 1: The Flyby
It’s all in the name and I love to execute this drone shot! For this shot, you have to fly your drone passing by your subject. Your subject can be everything, a building, river, car, or person. It doesn’t matter if you pass it from the side, front, back, or above. You can even pass the subject from below, in case it’s a bridge. Make sure the distance between your drone and subject is not too far, but far enough to do it safely.
This shot appears stronger if you do it fast, but we only recommend this if you feel comfortable doing so. When your subject is not moving, you can always speed it up in post-production. But when it does move, you have to fly fast with your drone. Also, when flying backwards passing your subject, the result in an incredible reveal shot with a lot of motion that will surprise your audience.
An high speed fly by creates a lot of motion blur
Drone shot 2: Tilt reveal
To perform this shot, you start flying your drone forward or backward with your camera facing down. The best way to execute is flying close to the surface, so your audience can feel the motion and speed. Then slowly move your camera up by tilting it up to reveal your subject.
For example, when you fly over a lake you start flying forward or backward with your camera facing down, so you only see the water. Continue flying at the same speed and tilt your camera up, to reveal a majestic building standing across the lake.
Start flying your drone forward or backward with your camera facing down
Then slowly move your camera up by tilting it up to reveal your subject
Drone shot 3: The orbit
The Orbit is used to make a subject important and show it from all sides. To master this movement manually, it takes some practice.
If you still have to grow your skills in this but want to perform it perfectly, you’ll be happy to find the intelligent flight modes in your drone. Most drones (the ones from DJI for sure) have the flight mode “point of interest” which will do the job for you.
So in practice, you have to frame your subject with your drone and orbit around it. With the flight modus, you can select the radius you want your drone to hold, while orbiting around your subject. Imagine a shot with your character standing on a mountain peak and you orbit your drone around him or her. This will help your audience to focus on the character and it expresses the achievement of reaching the peak.
You aren’t supposed to use the full 360 circle when editing your video. That might become boring for the audience. Just use a part of it, keep the subject in the middle, to focus on its importance or beauty. And when you do record a full circle you can choose the part which looks best!
Frame your subject with your drone and orbit around it
Orbiting around your subject unveals a change of background what makes the shot interesting to watch
Drone shot 4: The unveiling
This shot is quite simple to execute and when performed properly, it can have a very powerful effect. This is basically a combination of the “Fly By” and “The Tilt Reveal”.
The key is to start flying low, so you only see the foreground and then you begin increasing in altitude until you can see the entire background layer(s).
For example, you can fly in front of trees to create a powerful motion feeling and then unveil a huge mountain behind the trees in the background. You can make this shot more challenging by tilting up like “The Tilt Reveal” while flying pass by the foreground and increasing in altitude. And when you find some nice light of the sun in front of you during sunrise or sunset, it makes the shot even more stunning!
Flying backwards closely passing your subject can also be the start of an unveiling drone shot
Keep flying backwards and the unveiling of an impressive subject will surprise your audience
Drone shot 5: The tracking or follow shot
You can compare this shot a bit with the “gimbal follow shot”. But a drone can track or follow the subject on higher altitudes, above water or rough surface where you can’t make smooth shots with your gimbal. A big advantage of a drone is it can reach a far higher speed you can walk or run with your gimbal, and it will be super smooth!
You can track or follow your moving subject from every side you want and the goal is to continue tracking it while keeping it in the same position on your screen. For example, you can track a person walking, a car riding on a road between the rice fields of Bali or a boat that is heading out to the open ocean.
You can track or follow your subject on higher altitudes with a drone
In this shot I was able to keep Ilse in the shot while she was changing levels going down the stairs
These are my 5 favorite drone videography shots to execute. I’ll describe even more drone shots in my extensive Handbook for shooting travel videos.
I hope this extensive guide with a lot of drone filming tips will help to improve your drone videography skills! Flying your drone and executing shots is so much fun. And great-looking aerial shots will level up your drone videography a lot.
Do you want to learn everything about videography in general and how to start making better travel videos? Then you need to check out our HANDBOOK FOR SHOOTING TRAVEL VIDEOS. Discover what equipment you can use. Understand all technical information and let us inspire you on how to be creative in making great-looking cinematic travel videos!