Julian Hochgesang - Drone flying on blue sky

How to shoot video with a drone


Julian Hochgesang - Drone flying on blue sky

How to shoot video with a drone

You want to shoot video with a drone? Then here are the best tips on how to set up your drone before filming. Drone shots create stunning landscape scenes and open up a slew of options for you to work shoot, everything from tracking shots to overhead shots and establishing shots. The possibilities are endless with nature, sports, cityscapes, just to name a few. So, let’s get down to it and give you some of the best advice that professional videographers use to get those stunning aerials.

Planning and regulations

You need to plan before you go out to shoot. This applies to drones, especially because of the regulations associated with them. Many countries require licences before you can go out and film aerial footage, and other places could have drones banned all together. The reasons for the strict regulations on drone are many. Imagine an unlicensed, unexperienced person using a drone in a crowded urban area. This could lead to accidents and other problems if not used properly and without regulations. There are also zones restricted by the military. So do your research and make sure that the area you film in is safe and permitted before going out and incurring a hefty fine or getting into trouble. Now, with the legal stuff out of the way, let’s move on to using drones like a pro!

Frame rate

When looking for that cinematic feel, then set your frame rate to 24fps. You can also choose to go with a higher FPS so that you can slow it down in post-production. This applies to action shots more than anything. So consider higher frame rate speeds for sports, and a 24fps for stunning cloudscapes and landscapes.


Just like the frame rate and even more so, try to go 4k or higher on the resolution. When working on the clip in post-production, you can lower the resolution. The higher the quality, the more options you have to work with. Therefore, you should always try to capture as much details as possible. You can lower quality, but you can never increase it, so you should film at your maximum available capacity. This also makes it much easier on your post-production crew.

When to shoot? The best time of day.

To get the most detail from your contrasts, the best time to shoot is before sunset during the so named golden hour, in the evening before sunset or in the morning after sunrise. At these points, the sun isn’t as strong, but emits enough light so that colors become softer. You will notice the difference when working in post-production, as the recorder details will be better. This magic hour works best when you are featuring nature in your work, as it enhances the colors of the scenery. So when you want to shoot outdoors, and your time of day is flexible, choose one of these times to get the best colors out of nature.

Shutter speed and filters for lighting

For crisp natural movement, the shutter speed should be twice the frame rate. Check the lighting and if the shutter speed is letting in too much light, we recommend using a filter to regulate the light input. At very cheap prices, filters can do wonders for your aerial drone footage. Now imagine how a drone shot over some farm fields or a metropolitan city would look with the proper filters and settings. A thing of beauty, isn’t it?

Program your drone flight modes

Programming is a wonderful thing! And now our drones even come with pre-programmed flight modes. You can set up a grid path or waypoint path to let the drone do all the work for you automatically. Grid paths: Program the drone with this mode for 2d and 3d mapping. You set the drone to fly within a grid pattern, filming every spot of the entire area. Waypoint paths: You can program this mode for unusual flight patterns. In a nutshell, this is the mode for a personalized flight mode. So set the points that you want your drone to fly, and away it goes! This is a mode that can be used for surveillance, monitoring, or a flight sequence you want your drone to follow for your custom needs, like point A to B to C and back. So once you have your flight trajectory set in, sit back and enjoy your drone’s handiwork. These are just two ways that you can get the drone working for you. By the time you finish reading this article, there will probably be more automatic feature available for you to tinker with.

Summary and Conclusion

So let’s summarize what we’ve talked about, giving you a clear perspective of what you need to get create the perfect drone content.

1) Plan what you are shooting for

2) Research regulations and restrictions for operating drones where you are shooting 

3) Get licences and permits in order to operate your drone

4) Set the frame rate to 24 for a cinematic feel when doing landscapes or go higher to slow it down in post-production

5) Use the highest resolution that you can, since you can always lower it when working on post-production

6) Shoot during the golden hour, a little before sunset and sunrise

7) Shutter speed should be twice the frame rate for natural movement

8) Use filters to regulate light

9) Pre-program your drone flight paths

10) Don’t forget to have fun!

There you have it! You’re all set to fly your drone and shoot some wonderful aerials. Remember to keep it safe. If you’re new to flying drones, start by practicing in unpopulated areas. Take a trip a few kilometers outside the city and film some marvelous landscapes. The metropolis, as wonderful as it is, can wait. And if you know what you’re doing, have all the licences and permits ready, then you are all set to film wherever you like. These tips will help you do it like a pro! ( end with question?) 

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