As any cinematographer can tell you, placing your camera above the action and keeping it there is no easy task. And while the camera crane may be one of the most reliable tools a filmmaker has when it comes to shooting elevated footage, they’re not exactly cheap. In fact, renting a crane for a day typically costs around $3,000 per day. That’s why so many filmmakers are looking for an affordable way to capture aerial video without breaking their production budget. If that sounds like you, you may want to consider hiring an aerial cinematography company.
What Is Aerial Cinematography?
In the simplest terms, aerial cinematography is the art of shooting video from a drone. Aerial cinematography has been around since the invention of the helicopter, but the rise of drones has created a whole new industry for cinematographers looking to shoot from above. The benefits of aerial cinematography are numerous — from the unique perspective that comes with shooting above the action, to the immersive nature of aerial shots. Aerial shots can also allow filmmakers to avoid things like noise restrictions that would make shooting on the ground impossible. Many filmmakers might be surprised to learn that aerial work doesn’t have to be limited to large helicopters. Small, unmanned drones can be used to shoot video in many of the same ways. And although they’re not as capable as a helicopter, they are far more cost-effective.
Why Use Drones Instead of Camera Cranes?
If you’ve ever considered using camera cranes in your filmmaking, but the rental price of a crane has stopped you in your tracks, you may be wondering why you should ever use a drone instead. Beyond the cost, cranes have distinct advantages over drones that make them ideal for certain situations. Drones are much easier to fly than a helicopter, so you don’t need to be a pilot to use them. This also means that drones are far more difficult to control than a crane. Crane shots tend to be very smooth, but drones aren’t designed for the same level of smoothness. There are many different factors that go into creating a smooth crane shot, but at the end of the day, a drone is just an aircraft.
How to Shoot Video With a Drone
The exact process for flying a drone and shooting video with it will vary based on the type of drone you use. Most drones can shoot video and take pictures, but not all of them are created equal. You’ll want to look for a drone that has a gimbal, that way you can attach a camera to it. Drones can be flown either autonomously or manually. When flying a drone manually, you’ll have a remote control in one hand, and a set of joysticks in the other. When using autonomous flight, the drone is controlled by a computer that’s on board the drone. The quality of the video you shoot from a drone will vary greatly based on a few factors. The most important is the camera attached to the drone. If you’re shooting with an iPhone, the results won’t be exceptional.
The Equipment You’ll Need
Before you start shooting, you’ll want to make sure you have all the right equipment for a safe and successful shoot. There are many different types of drones to choose from, so before renting one, you’ll want to make sure it’s the right fit for your production. Camera – The camera you use will depend on the type of shots you’re trying to capture. For example, if you’re trying to capture wide shots, you’ll want to use a wide-angle lens, whereas if you’re trying to zoom in on certain subjects, you’ll want to use a telephoto lens. Memory cards – You’ll want to make sure your drone has enough storage space to hold all the footage you need, but it’s also good to have a few extra memory cards on hand just in case something goes wrong. A good rule of thumb is to have one card per every 15 minutes of footage you intend to shoot.
The Footage You’ll Get From Drones
When it comes to the quality of the footage you can expect to get from a drone, much of it will depend on how much you’re willing to spend. The cost of drone shots will vary greatly depending on what you’re looking for. Wide shots – Wide shots from a drone are great for establishing shots, or for getting an overview of the setting for your shoot. These shots typically cost about $250 per day to shoot. Medium shots – Medium shots are great for exposing character, and can be used to delve into the emotions of your characters. If you want to capture these shots, you can expect to spend around $500 per day. Close-ups – Close-ups are essential for establishing character, and are often used to end a scene. Because they’re essential to almost every scene, you can expect to spend around $1,000 per day.
The Catch: You Can Only Fly During the Day
One thing that you’ll want to keep in mind is that you can only fly during the day. This is because you need to be able to see what you’re shooting, and you won’t be able to do that at night. If you want to shoot at night, you can certainly use lights, but this will drastically change the appearance of your footage. Flying a drone at night may also be illegal in your state. For most shots, you don’t really need to fly at night, and if you do, it will increase your costs by around 50%.
Final Aerial Thoughts
Now that you know everything you need to know about drone shots, you can start planning your next project. Before you do, though, make sure you’re familiar with all the regulations regarding drone flying in your area. You’ll also want to make sure you have a clear understanding of what you want the finished shots to look like, so you can hire a drone operator who can best achieve that vision. Once you’ve done all this, there’s no reason why you can’t make drone shots a part of your next production.
Michael Haller 314-892-1233 firstname.lastname@example.org