Over the last couple of years, drones have quickly become important tools for movie directors. Drones have made it easier to capture wide, open, and vast shots, which create a new dynamic for cinematography. For example, UnlimiteDrone discussed how drones can be used to film paragliders and make it look as if the person is actually flying the aircraft. Drones have broken new ground in filming, and this is just one of the many examples that filmmakers are now implementing to get better shots.
If you’re a fledgling director who wants to take advantage of drones to capture awe-inspiring shots, here are some techniques that you can master.
Pedestal shots are used when you need close up shots of buildings or statues. It allows you to adjust your altitude control going up and down without having to worry about the movement of the camera or its focal distance.
Some of the scenes in the James Bond movie Skyfall were captured via drones, particularly its opening sequence. The aforementioned scene was made almost completely of pedestal shots, which had James Bond on a motorcycle chasing a villain across rooftops in Istanbul.
Pedestal shots can also be achieved by using a crane. Check out Skyfall’s pedestal shot in the video below:
Flyovers are some of the most popular shots used by movie directors. That’s because fly-overs allow directors to capture a dramatic, bird’s eye view of an entire stadium, village, or even a city. A good way to master this technique is to choose one object, focus the camera on it, and then let the drone hover over it until it passes the object from above. Fly over shots are usually executed to give viewers an idea of an object’s scale or its full expanse.
Flyover shots were a considerable amount in the Hollywood blockbuster Jurassic World to give viewers a perspective on how big the dinosaurs were in the latest installment of the franchise. They were made possible with the help of Team 5 Aerial Systems Rental, and there’s a good chance the same technique was used again in the sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which will premiere this year. Popular Mechanics specified that drone models such as DJI Inspire 2 are typically used by big-budget film directors.
It was because of the use of drones that Jurassic World was able to win the MTV Movie Award for Best Action Sequence. The film was also able to attract deals to license its Jurassic World title on the slot gaming platform Slingo, which also features the characters played by Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. It’s one of the recent additions to the franchise, helping pull in approximately £600 million worldwide for Universal Studios. With a new film slated for 2018, film hacks are already expecting fly over shots to be a core part of the next film.
Here’s an awesome scene in Jurassic World that used a drone:
Aerial Pan Shots
Aerial pan shots are usually executed by mounting a camera on a tripod. When using drones, however, the gimbal replaces the tripod. This technique is quite complicated to use compared to a simple pan shot but the visual effects that you can achieve when using drones are much better. While panning left, right, up or down, keep the drone in hover mode to achieve stability. Rotate the drone across the landscape or your subject when using this particular technique.
Below is a sample of an aerial pan shot:
If you plan to shoot your own movie with a drone, make sure you know the rules instituted around the device. Last year, new regulations for drone users have been implemented by the German government, such as attaining the requirement of a pilot’s license and getting permission from the federal aviation authorities. It’s imperative you use this device with utmost knowledge so as not to break the law nor cause harm in the process.