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Drone Filming Techniques: 10 Techniques for Creating Cinematic Drone Footage

Are you tired of your drone footage looking like a potato filmed it? It’s not like I have anything against a potato… But is it your intention to make your friends green with envy with cinematic shots that would put Michael Bay to shame?

Well, buckle up, my friend, because I’m about to give you the inside scoop on creating the kind of drone footage that will leave your friends begging to be in your next project. In this article, we will look at some of the best drone filming techniques.

Choosing the Right Drone and Camera

Let’s talk about equipment. You don’t have to sell a kidney to buy the most expensive drone out there, but you also want to invest in a drone and camera that can handle the job.

You want your footage to look like it was shot with a professional camera, not just some Fisher-Price toy. For that reason, you need to do your research, read reviews, and don’t be afraid to spend a little extra cash to get the quality you want – even if it means selling that kidney – JK – Just kidding.

Do Your Research

Before you click that “buy” button, make sure you do your research. Read reviews, watch demo videos, and compare features. Don’t just buy the first drone you see on Amazon, or you might end up with a potato that can fly – By now I’m very sure you’re fed up with all these potato jokes, just bear with me.

Invest in Quality

Don’t be cheap! Yes, you heard me right, Don’t be cheap especially when it comes to your equipment. The quality of your drone and camera will directly impact the quality of your footage. You wouldn’t use a disposable camera to shoot your friend’s wedding, would you? Unless you’re one of those “I can get it with a lower price type of person.” For real though why use a cheap drone to capture your cinematic masterpiece? Its just unacceptable!

Don’t Overspend

That being said, you don’t need to either break the bank or sell you kidney, okay? All you need to do is just find a drone and camera that fit within your budget, but still offer the quality that you need.

When it comes to choosing the right drone for you, it’s all about finding that sweet spot between affordability and functionality.

Understanding Drone Video Settings

Now that you have your drone and camera – my hope is that you didn’t sell your kidney – it’s time to dive into the technical stuff – the video settings.

Don’t worry, it’s not rocket science. Understanding the video settings on your drone is key to getting the shot you want. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works best for you.

Experiment with Settings

Don’t be afraid to play around with your drone’s video settings. Try adjusting the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO – Basically all you need to do is understand The Exposure Triangle to get the right exposure. Experiment with frame rates to achieve the right look for your footage.

Another thing that you’ll need to keep in mind is to shoot in the highest resolution possible for the best quality.

Shoot in RAW

If your drone allows for it, shoot in RAW format. This will give you more flexibility in post-production and allow you to make more adjustments to your footage without losing quality. Plus, it makes you look like a pro.

The downside about this is that you’ll end up with some huge files on your SD Card.

Pre-Planning and Location Scouting

Before you take to the skies, for your own good, you’ll need to have a plan in place.

The first thing you’ll need to know is where you’re going to shoot, and also make sure you have all the necessary permissions and permits. You don’t want to end up on Twitter or Instagram as “The Idiot Who Ruined the Wedding by Flying a Drone Where He Shouldn’t Have.” To avoid that my guy you’ll need to do your research, scout your location, and plan accordingly.

Check for Restrictions

Before you start flying, make sure you check for any flight restrictions or no-fly zones in the area. You don’t want to get fined or arrested for breaking the law. And if you do, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Find the Best Angle

Take some time to scout out the location and find the best angle for your shot. Look for interesting features or landmarks that can add depth and texture to your footage. And don’t forget to think about the lighting – a well-lit shot can make all the difference.

Framing and Composition

Alright, so by now you’ve got your drone in the air, and you’re ready to start filming like a pro, right? Not so fast cowboy! Hold your your horses.

Before you start hitting that record button, let’s talk about framing and composition.

Rule of Thirds

If you’ve ever taken a basic photography class, you’ve probably heard of the term – the rule of thirds. Essentially, it’s a guideline that suggests dividing your frame into thirds horizontally and vertically, so you end up with a grid of nine squares. The idea is to place your subject along these lines or at the intersection points, as it creates a more visually pleasing composition.

Adding Depth – Foreground, Midground, and Background

Another thing to keep in mind when framing your shots is to have a clear understanding of foreground, midground, and background. By including all three of these elements in your shot, you create depth and dimension that draws the viewer in. Plus, it looks pretty darn cool.

Mastering Flight Techniques

Now that you’ve got the basics of framing and composition. It’s time to talk about mastering your flight techniques. After all, you can’t get cinematic footage if you’re crashing your drone every five minutes, right?

Practice Makes Perfect

The key to mastering your flight techniques is practice, practice, practice. Start by flying your drone in an open, empty space, so you have plenty of room to maneuver. Once you’re comfortable with the basics, start practicing more advanced moves like flying in tight spaces and capturing dynamic shots.

Know Your Limits

It’s important to know your limits when flying a drone. Be sure to read your drone’s manual and familiarize yourself with its capabilities and limitations. Don’t push your drone beyond its limits, or you might end up with a pricey repair bill.

Movement and Speed

Now that you’ve got your framing, composition, and flight techniques down, it’s time to talk about movement and speed. The key here is to make sure your movements are smooth and deliberate, rather than jerky and erratic.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

One of the biggest mistakes newbie drone pilots make is flying their drone too fast. Not only does this make it difficult to control, but it also creates shaky footage that’s almost unusable. Instead, try flying your drone at a slower, more controlled pace to get smoother footage.

Use Your Camera’s Features

Another way to create smooth, cinematic footage is to take advantage of your camera’s features. Many drones come equipped with features like image stabilization and slow-motion capture, which can help you capture stunning footage with ease.

Lighting and Filters

Now unto the next my people, for this one, we’re going to talk about lighting and filters. I believe by now you already know that – lighting can either make or break your footage, that’s why it’s really important to pay attention to the time of day and weather conditions.

Golden Hour

The golden hour is a magical time of day when the sun is low in the sky, and everything is bathed in a warm, golden glow. This is the perfect time to capture stunning footage with rich, warm colors and dramatic shadows.


If you want to take your footage to the next level, consider investing in a set of filters. Filters can help you adjust the color temperature and exposure of your footage, giving you more control over the final result.

Editing Your Footage

Once you’ve captured all of that stunning footage, it’s now time to edit it into a cinematic masterpiece. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Choose the Right Editing Software

There are plenty of editing software options out there, from basic free options to professional-grade programs that cost a pretty penny. Choose the right one for your needs and budget, and spend some time learning the ropes.

Use Transitions and Effects Sparingly

Transitions and effects can add a lot of visual interest to your footage, but it’s important to use them sparingly. Too many flashy effects can distract from the actual footage and make your final product look amateurish.


And there you have it, folks – everything you need to know to shoot cinematic drone footage like a pro. Some of the best drone filming techniques from framing and composition to mastering your flight techniques and editing your footage.

By now I believe you’re armed with all the knowledge and tools you need to take your drone videography to the next level. So get out there, have fun, and happy flying!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you shoot good drone footage?

To shoot good drone footage, it’s important to choose the right drone and camera, master flight techniques, frame your shots carefully, and incorporate creative camera movements. You should also pay attention to lighting and use post-production techniques like color grading and sound design to enhance your footage.

How do you film a drone?

To film a drone, you’ll need to attach a camera to your drone and fly it through the air while capturing footage. It’s important to choose a camera with good image stabilization and to frame your shots carefully to create a visually interesting video.

How do I make my drone footage look cinematic?

To make your drone footage look cinematic, you can try incorporating creative camera movements like dolly shots, orbit shots, and tracking shots. You should also pay attention to lighting and use post-production techniques like color grading and sound design to enhance your footage.

What are cinematic drone shots?

Cinematic drone shots are shots captured with a drone that have a cinematic quality to them. This can be achieved through careful framing, creative camera movements, and post-production techniques like color grading and sound design.

How do you get cinematic shots with a drone?

To get cinematic shots with a drone, you should choose a drone with good image stabilization, master flight techniques, and incorporate creative camera movements like dolly shots, orbit shots, and tracking shots. You should also pay attention to lighting and use post-production techniques like color grading and sound design to enhance your footage.

What are some drone video settings I should consider?

Some drone video settings you should consider include resolution, frame rate, and shutter speed. It’s important to choose settings that will give you the best possible image quality while still allowing for smooth, stable footage.

What are some drone cinematography techniques?

Some drone cinematography techniques include mastering flight techniques, framing and composition, creative camera movements, and post-production techniques like color grading and sound design.

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