6 Tips For The Hobby Drone Enthusiast- Photography And Filming
- Know the law! So, you’ve researched online, asked your friends, spent hours looking at footage on YouTube and now you have taken the plunge and bought your new Unmanned Aerial System, or drone. You want to tear off the packaging, assemble, charge, app it, and take to the skies to start capturing incredible images. But before firing this miniature helicopter upwards you must familiarise yourself with local and national laws. This is not only to keep you safe, but also to keep safe other people on the ground and skies. More and more reports are coming of near miss collisions between drones and commercial aircraft. There are more hazards above the ground than you might at first think – check your restrictions and don’t run the risk of an accident, a large fine, or even jail time! It is never worth it, no matter how beautiful the photograph or video you can produce!
- Find your location! While personal knowledge is invaluable, another fabulous tool is Google Earth. From here you can check out your desired location from a birds eye view and potentially spot subjects and angles you had previously not considered. You can then gain those breathtaking photographs of which you have always been envious!
- Pre-plan your flight and what you want to capture. Generally speaking, the battery life of an average hobbits drone can be fairly short. You may only have 12-15 minutes in the air to position your craft, capture your shot, and land safely again before your battery is empty. Depending on conditions, much of the flight time can be absorbed before you have taken even one photograph or filmed 30 seconds of footage. It may sound obvious, but, the more you plan before take-off the less time you waste looking for subjects to film.
- Prepare for unforeseen conditions: You have arrived at a beautiful location after several hours drive. You wish to capture the stunning cliff top or open woodland that you remember from childhood, only to arrive to find there is now a telephone mast nearby that blocks the transmission from drone to remote. Or there are power lines nearby that will be dangerous to fly near. Or, you are near an airport that has no-fly zones covering your subject. The more research you can do online or on the telephone before leaving, the easier your flight will be!
- Check weather forecasts – most hobby drones can fly in light breeze, but not in strong winds or rain. Gusty winds can be particularly tricky as it may be still when you take off and then a wind can whip from seemingly no-where and take your precious drone off course into danger, dropping it in nearby water, trees, gardens, or even through windows! Don’t let your expensive hobby cost you a fortune!
- Learn a post production software such as Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier, Lightroom and Photoshop. Even just grasping the very basics can work wonders for showcasing the best of your footage. With drone video, less really can be more. Minutes worth of long, single-take shots of a coastline, or empty fields can get very dull, very quickly. Splicing together different angles of the same scene, or numerous different locations really can bring your footage to life. Photography taken from the air really can wow, especially if you can make the colours pop, or correct any exposure errors! After all, you may never be able to film the same shot again!