Drones have revolutionized the film industry by enabling videographers to capture aerial footage that was previously impossible or too expensive to obtain. With drones, videographers can now capture stunning panoramic views, track moving objects, and create dynamic camera movements from a bird's eye view, providing a new perspective on the scene.
In terms of production value, drones offer several benefits to video production companies. They can reduce the need for costly equipment like cranes and helicopters and minimise the crew needed to capture aerial footage. Here in Cleveland, we use drone videography with as little as 1 or two person crews. This can make shooting more efficient, cost-effective, and flexible, enabling filmmakers to be more creative in their work.
Drones also offer more versatility in the types of shots they can capture. They can fly low over terrain, follow a subject at high speed, or hover in place for extended periods, giving filmmakers more options to capture the action and tell the story.
Furthermore, drones can access hard-to-reach or hazardous locations, such as mountaintops, rooftops, or even active volcanoes, allowing videographers to capture breathtaking shots that were previously impossible or too risky to obtain.
Finally, drones can provide greater safety for the crew, especially in dangerous or remote locations, by reducing the risk of injury or exposure to hazardous materials.
What Types of Drones Are Good for Video Production?
When it comes to video production, there are several types of drones that can be used, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Here are some of the most common types of drones used for video production:
DJI Phantom Series
The DJI Phantom series is a popular choice for aerial videography due to its ease of use, reliability, and affordable price. It features a stabilised camera gimbal, high-quality camera options, and the ability to shoot up to 4K video.
DJI Inspire Series
The DJI Inspire series is a more advanced option for aerial videography, with a more sophisticated camera system, advanced controls, and more robust features. It is typically used for high-end productions that require higher quality footage.
DJI Mavic Series
The DJI Mavic series is a compact and portable option for aerial videography, making it an ideal choice for travel or remote locations. It features a stabilised camera gimbal, high-quality camera options, and the ability to shoot up to 4K video.
Freefly Alta 8
The Freefly Alta 8 is a heavy-lift drone that is designed for carrying larger cameras and lenses. It can handle payloads of up to 20 pounds and features advanced stabilization systems for smoother footage.
The Cinestar 8 is another heavy-lift drone designed for carrying larger cameras and lenses. It features a modular design, allowing for customization to suit specific production needs.
When choosing a drone for video production, it is essential to consider factors such as camera quality, flight time, range, stability, and safety features. Ultimately, the choice will depend on the specific needs of the production and the budget available.
What Kinds of Cameras Are on a Video Production Drone? What's the Best Possible Camera and Drone Setup?
The best possible camera and drone setup for video production depends on the specific needs of the production, but here are some factors to consider when selecting the camera and drone setup:
Camera quality: Look for a camera with high resolution, typically at least 4K, and a high frame rate to capture smooth and detailed footage.
Stabilization: Image stabilization is crucial for capturing smooth and steady footage. Look for cameras with built-in stabilization or gimbals to minimize camera shake.
Drone performance: Choose a drone with the appropriate weight capacity, flight time, and range for the specific production needs.
Safety features: Look for drones with features such as obstacle avoidance, return-to-home, and battery life indicators to ensure safe and reliable operation.
Control and maneuverability: Choose a drone with advanced control options, such as multiple flight modes and advanced camera control, to maximize creative possibilities.
Some of the best camera options for video production drones include the DJI Zenmuse X7, which features a 6K resolution camera and a Super 35 sensor, and the RED DSMC2, which offers up to 8K resolution and advanced color management options.
In terms of prosumer drones, the mavic 3 pro is the best option. It offers affordability, portability, and amazing camera quality. The DJI Inspire 2 is a popular choice for high-end productions, as it offers advanced control options, long flight time, and can support multiple camera options.
Ultimately, the best camera and drone setup for video production will depend on the specific needs of the production, budget, and creative vision. It is important to carefully consider all factors and do thorough research before making a decision.
Where to Find a Licensed Drone Pilot
Licensed drone pilots can be found through various channels, depending on the specific needs of the project. Here are some ways to find licensed drone pilots:
FAA Part 107 certified pilot directory: The FAA maintains a directory of licensed drone pilots on their website. This directory can be used to search for pilots by name, city, state, or zip code.
Professional drone pilot organizations: There are several professional drone pilot organizations, such as the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), that can provide lists of licensed drone pilots.
Online marketplaces: There are several online marketplaces that connect clients with licensed drone pilots, such as Dronebase and Upwork.
Local drone pilot associations: Many cities and regions have local drone pilot associations that can provide lists of licensed pilots in the area.
Referrals and recommendations: Referrals and recommendations from friends, colleagues, or other professionals in related industries can be a great way to find licensed drone pilots with proven experience and skill.
When searching for a licensed drone pilot, it is important to carefully review their qualifications, experience, and equipment to ensure that they are a good fit for the specific needs of the project. Here in Cleveland, we provide drone services locally for clients in Northeast Ohio. We are certified 107 pilots so typically reaching out to local video production companies can find great results. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the pilot has liability insurance and is compliant with all FAA regulations and safety procedures.
The Benefits of Having Your Drone Piloting License
Having a drone piloting license, also known as a Part 107 certification, offers several benefits for individuals looking to use drones for commercial purposes. Here are some of the benefits of having a drone piloting license:
Legal compliance: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires anyone using drones for commercial purposes to have a Part 107 certification. By obtaining a drone piloting license, individuals can operate their drones legally and avoid potential fines and penalties.
Increased safety: The FAA requires Part 107 certification holders to demonstrate knowledge of airspace rules, safety procedures, and emergency response protocols, which helps ensure the safer operation of drones in commercial settings.
Greater professional opportunities: By obtaining a drone piloting license, individuals can work in a variety of industries, including real estate, construction, agriculture, film, and more. This can lead to increased job opportunities and the ability to charge for drone services.
Higher earning potential: Individuals with a drone piloting license may be able to charge higher rates for their services due to their certification and increased professionalism.
Improved skills and knowledge: Obtaining a drone piloting license requires individuals to demonstrate knowledge of FAA regulations, airspace rules, and safety procedures, which can lead to improved skills and knowledge in drone operation and safety.
Once an individual obtains a drone piloting license, they can charge for a variety of drone services, such as aerial photography and videography, surveying and mapping, crop monitoring, infrastructure inspection, and more. The specific projects that a licensed drone pilot can charge for will depend on their skills and equipment, as well as the needs of their clients. Ultimately, having a drone piloting license can open up new professional opportunities and improve earning potential in the rapidly growing drone industry.
The Future Looks Bright
The future for video production and drones looks promising as drones continue to advance in terms of technology, capabilities, and accessibility. Here are some potential developments that may shape the future of video production and drones:
Advancements in drone technology: Drone manufacturers are continuously improving drone technology, including camera capabilities, stabilization, flight time, and obstacle avoidance. As drones become more advanced, they will become even more capable and versatile for use in video production.
Increased use of AI and automation: Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation technology may become increasingly integrated with drones, making it easier to capture and edit footage automatically. This could lead to new creative possibilities and streamlined production processes.
Greater integration with virtual and augmented reality: Drones may be integrated with virtual and augmented reality technology, creating new opportunities for immersive storytelling and unique perspectives.
More accessible and affordable: As drone technology continues to improve and become more widespread, the cost of drones may decrease, making them more accessible to a wider range of video producers and creatives.
Continued regulatory developments: As drone technology evolves, so will regulations governing their use. The FAA and other governing bodies will likely continue to develop regulations to ensure safe and responsible drone use.
Overall, the future of video production and drones is exciting, with the potential for new creative possibilities, increased efficiency, and more accessible and affordable technology. As drone technology continues to advance, it is likely that they will become increasingly integrated with various aspects of video production and creative industries.
In summary, drones and their pilots are changing the film industry by enabling filmmakers to capture aerial footage more efficiently, creatively, and safely. They offer new possibilities for storytelling and production value, and we can expect their use to continue to grow in the years to come.