Filming with Drones: 5 Tips for Using a Drone to Shoot a Music Video

Commercial and military drones are already a huge business. Private drone ownership, however, is set to expand quickly.
Studies show that personal drones are set to grow to almost 4 million drones nationwide by 2021, with sales climbing to an estimated $12 billion.
It’s not hard to figure out why. Drones are just cool.
Filming with drones is a great way to explore both natural and man-made settings. It adds a lot of dimension to any video you want to make.
If you’re planning on shooting a music video, there are tons of cool things to do with drones. Here are five tips to nail those awesome aerial shots.

1. Go For Quality
You think you can cut corners, buy a cheaper drone with a camera that’s not as nice, and still pull off a decent music video? It doesn’t work that way.
Some things to consider are:
Does your drone shoot in 4K?

Does your drone have a 3-axis gimbal?

Does your drone have variable focal lengths (either optics or a zoom)?Does your drone record in

Professional filming drones are pricey but worth it. While it might cost some money up front, always go for the best quality you can afford.
2. Learn How To Hover
Start with the basics when it comes to filming with drones. Hovering is one of the first skills you should master.
It comes down to having the right roll and pitch in combination with your throttle intensity. Practice hovering with your drone a few feet off the ground until you get the look you’re going for.
For music videos, hovering allows you to take sweeping shots of the artist and extras from a birds-eye view. You can also hover the drone for isolation shots and showing the horizon.
3. Plan Your Shots
Music videos deal with a lot of repetition. You have to perform the song over and over again to get enough footage and the best shots.
Don’t expand this by having a drone battery conk out in the middle of a shoot or not understanding the flight path angle. Do a few trial runs with the drone before you start.
You should get drone shots first, then focus on other camera types. This allows you to go over the shots you’ve taken with your drone and decide whether they work or need another take. The last thing you want is to realize in post-production that the drone shots aren’t usable.
4. Getting Cool Drone Shots
Ever seen a cool drone shot in a movie and wondered “how did they do that”? Here are a few techniques:
Low flight – Hover low to the ground to give your viewers an exhilarating rush. This is useful for videos that involve fast movement from the artist or car shots. The drop-off – If you have something high you’re flying over, fly high at the moment you reach the top to make the drop more spectacular.Orbiting – Keep the artist-centered and then fly in a circle around him or her.Switch up your axis angles – Go up, then forward, or back then sideways. Whatever you do, mix it up for a great view.
These ideas will get you started, but you’ll start thinking of interesting shots on your own as soon as you start flying your drone. Understanding the science behind how drones fly helps figure out how to safely use them.
5. Check That Filming With Drones Is Allowed
Always check local rules beforehand to ensure that you’re allowed to use your drone in the area. Nothing will crush your music video ambition faster than scouting a great location and then finding out you can’t shoot there.
There are certain areas, particularly in cities and on beaches, that don’t allow drones. There are exceptions for videos and entertainment shots in some cities, however, so contact the local government to see if they offer waivers.
Enjoy Your Drones
Your music video is sure to be a success as long as you follow these tips. Want more information on filming with drones? We’ve got you covered.
We’ve got a drone film school to help you expand your ideas. Visit our drone advice blog often for the latest tips and tricks to take your drone videos to the next level!

10 Aerial Photography Tips to Know Before Your Shoot

By 2021, there will be an estimated 3.55 million drone owners in the US.
With the range of drones now available, more people are able to try their hand at aerial photography.
Aerial photography lets you be more creative and take a huge range of shots. But it’s not an easy thing to do. There’s a lot to learn about taking the perfect aerial shot, and it’s not as simple as it seems.
Read on for 10 of the best aerial photography tips to make sure you get the perfect shot each time.

Get The Best Aerial Photography Shots Every Time
Whether you take photographs as a hobby or a career, learning to take aerial shots is a great skill. Capture new perspectives and get the most breathtaking shots with these 10 tips.
1. Choose the Right Drone
With drones becoming so popular in recent years, there are a lot of devices to choose from.
Depending on how you plan to shoot, it’s important to get the right drone.
Are you going to be traveling with it a lot?
Then you might want to invest in a smaller drone such as the DJI Mavic Air!
Going to be using it to create paid work too? You may want a larger sensor, more megapixels and the Hasselblad color profile: check out the DJI Mavic Pro 2.
If you want the best quality possible and size doesn’t matter, then the DJI Inspire 2 with its superior X7 camera might be the perfect choice for you.
Think about how you’ll be using your drone, how often you’ll need it and where you want to take it.

2. Think About the Lens
When it comes to shooting from above, you need to think about the lens.
A standard focal length lens (approx. 35 – 85mm) is great since you can get a tight zoom into your subject.
It allows you to capture extra detail and produces clean, crisp shots with a narrow and professional look.
The new DJI Mavic 2 Zoom rules when it comes to higher focal length shots from above.
A wide angle lens on the other hand (as seen on most drones) is also great as it allows you to capture a whole lot of your subject. It lets you freeze the background and foreground in focus and taking photos from above is easier in general.
3. Find a Good Location
When it comes to aerial photography, location is everything.
You need to be in the right place for the best shots!
Ideally, show interesting landscapes with many layers. It always looks appealing and interesting to have a clear fore- middle- and background. Clear shapes, lines and patterns can also enhance your aerial photographs.
Get inspiration by checking out some of the best drone Instagram accounts to plan where to shoot and search for drone groups on Facebook for hints from locals.
Safety and keeping the law are priorities too. Have you checked the drone laws where you’ll be shooting?
Do you have a permit? Follow the law and try not to shoot somewhere crowded with people.
You don’t want to risk crashing into anyone and hurting them.
4. The Right Time
The time of day makes a huge difference when it comes to aerial photography.
Try to shoot in Golden Hours, these being the start and end of the day. This means the light will be more interesting, and the colours different. It will create atmosphere and attract your audience.
Work with the direction of the sun to see how you can use it to light your subject/scenery best.
Don’t forget to enable “HDR” to capture as many details in both the highlights and shadows when facing the sun. Don’t know what that means? Invest the time and watch this tutorial (you won’t regret it):

5. Shoot RAW
When it comes to shooting anything, you should be doing it in RAW.
Sure JPEG has its perks, but RAW is the way to go.
Shooting in RAW makes it so much easier to make changes to your photos during the edit.
You can make color corrections or adjust the exposure much better than if you shot it in JPEG.
Also details in the highlights and shadows can be easily retrieved when taking RAW photographs.
If you’re shooting on a drone, it’s even more important to shoot in RAW.
Most drone cameras only have a 12MP resolution.
So, shooting in RAW means it won’t compress the image further.
6. Lower ISO
If you are shooting with a drone, they don’t work well with high ISO settings due to their small sensors.
If you shoot in high ISO, you’ll get a lot of grain and noise in your images which can ruin a great shot.
Try to stick to a low ISO when shooting. It means you’ll have to manually lower your settings, but it will lead to better quality images.
If you are shooting in shaded or windless locations and need more light, try using a slower shutter speed or open up the aperture. This will bring more light in and keep the ISO low for better shots.
The rule is simple: the lower the ISO, the better the quality!

7. Find the Right Shutter Speed
Aerial photography shots need the right shutter speeds.
If you want to get creative with some blurred images, a slower shutter speed will work well.

But to achieve that effect, you’ll need to attach ND filters (at least during daytime). Everything you need to know, you’ll find right here.
As modern drones have great gimbals and sensors which are getting more powerful, you can really give it a go and create shots with super slow shutter speeds.
A fast shutter speed will work best in most cases, so try to keep it higher for crisp shots.
8. Beware of the Weather
If you have a drone, you can get excited to take it out to shoot on a whim as much as possible.
Don’t do this without checking the weather first!
If the weather is set to be snowy, very windy or rainy, better put a hold on it (except if you are experienced and know what you are doing). You don’t want to damage expensive equipment by exposing it to the elements.
Try to shoot when it’s dry and calm weather. If you can’t resist, try to follow these tips for flying in the cold:

9. Bring Extra Batteries
The last thing you want when shooting from above is for the battery to die on you.
Most drone batteries only last for around 18-30 mins per flight, so you need to account for that.
The battery is the most important accessory, and you can never have too many of them.
Keep them on hand so you can swap out the batteries quick and get back to shooting ASAP!
10. Get Creative!
The best thing about aerial photography is that you get to have fun!
Flying with a drone is the most unique way to shoot, so get creative with it!
Try to find places that haven’t been shot before. Think about different angles and try out new styles.
Get creative with the selfie or take a shot featuring leading lines, lots of contrasts or shapes.
You can find so many new ways to shoot and get the best photos out of your flight.
Have fun with it, and you’ll fall in love with aerial photography.

Aerial Photography Is the Way Forward
Aerial photography is more accessible to everyone since drones have entered the market.
Now, anyone can try their hand at it.
These 10 tips make it easier to get started and learn a new skill. Give it a try, and you won’t regret it!
Find this helpful? Check out our blog for more drone tips and tricks!

Used Drones For Sale (4 Places To Find Cheap Used Drones)

It’s no secret that quality quadcopters tend to be quite expensive. Fortunately, there are many places where you can now find used drones for sale. As long as you’re buying from a seller you can trust, and as long as the drone in question is still in flyable condition, this is a great way for …

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Think Outside the Box: 4 Fun Things to Do with a Drone

Drones have a lot of amazing uses, but that’s only for professional drone flyers, right?
Wrong!
Your drone flying skills aren’t limited to taking areal pictures or filming beautiful scenery.
There are a lot of ways you can get creative and take your hobby to a whole new level.
Keep reading below to learn four fun things to do with a drone.

1. Comforting Hospital Patients
There are people who have been living in hospice care, hospitals, or retirement homes who haven’t been able to go out in nature for a long time. This means they haven’t been able to visit or even see their favorite spots.
You and your drone can change that.
Volunteer your time to connect with some of these patients. Learn about the places they used to go or somewhere they had a special memory. This might include remote spots on the beach or their favorite spot in town.
Take your drone to these locations and use a camera to record video footage for the patients. This gives these patients the ability to relive their time in these spots with their friends and family.
2. Competitive Racing
Drone racing is a real sport. Don’t believe us? You can watch drone races on ESPN.
This is a competitive sport that’s growing in popularity. You can use your drone to join different leagues and show off your flying skills.
And don’t worry if you’re only a beginner. There are many different leagues to choose from.
Some of these leagues are designed for beginner or amateur flyers. Some leagues host professional racers. You can even enter your drone in an LED night race.
To qualify for competitive racing, you have to have the right drone that adheres to the right regulations. But if you have enough time and enjoy the hobby, competitive racing is something you won’t want to miss.

3. Disaster Relief
There are several different ways you can volunteer your drone to help with disaster relief. In fact, in many situations, drones have become a valuable asset for emergency services.
With proper permission, you can use your drone to search for missing people or deliver food and supplies to people in need.
But please remember, this is NOT something you can do on your own. You MUST get the approval of local authorities before you fly your drone near any disaster site.
If you don’t, you can get in the way (or even crash into) of actual emergency vehicles and prevent them from doing their jobs.
If you’re not sure on drone flight restrictions in your area, you must check a U.S. Air Space Map.
4. Flying for Scientifical Studies
Did you know you can help scientists with their important studies if you have a drone? Well, you can!
You have to modify your drone with high-resolution cameras or thermal technology. But once you make these changes, you can help scientist gather valuable information for their research.
Here’s a quick list of some of the ways your drone can help:
Keep track of drought conditionsConduct scientific surveysKeep track of pest infestationsTrack wildlifeTrack fire damage
And these are just some of the studies your drone can be a part of. Some STEM programs even offer workshops on ways you can use your recreational drone for scientific purposes.
This is a good way to use your flying skills to make a difference in your local community, or maybe even the world.

Fun Things to Do with a Drone
There are a lot of fun things to do with a drone that are both creative and unique. So, the next time you want to do some flying, consider volunteering in a research project or enter your drone into a competitive race.
Trying to find the best camera for your drone? Make sure you read more about the first aerial 6K camera here.
Don’t forget to check out all TTT vlogs or subscribe to the Tom’s Tech Time YouTube channel!

You’ve Seen Foldable Drones, But Never Like This

One of the more interesting recent developments in the consumer drone space has been the unprecedented rise of foldable drones. From cheaper models like the Zerotech Dobby to this year’s mighty Mavic 2, it seems that drones you can carry in your pocket are in high demand this holiday season, and it will be interesting …

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Ghana Lawmakers Approve Controversial Drone Deal

This week, Ghana’s parliament approved a deal that would spend $12.5 million (in USD) over the next four years to create a system of medical supply delivery to remote areas of the country using drones. The system will be implemented through a partnership between the Ghanaian government’s own Health Service and US-based drone company Zipline, …

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Best RC Planes For Christmas 2018 (RC Plane Gift Guide)

Here at Dronethusiast, there’s no denying that we’re big fans of the classic quadcopter. But unmanned aerial vehicles take all kinds of shapes and sizes, one of which is the popular RC plane. For those interested in this type of drone, we’ve assembled the 5 best RC planes for Christmas 2018, as chosen by our …

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Fly for Cheap: The 3 Best Cheap Drones for Beginners

Are you ready to unleash your inner drone pilot and take to the skies? You don’t need to drop hundreds or thousands of dollars to get a well-made quadcopter hobby drone. Check out the 3 best cheap drones for beginners.
What was initially purely for military use is now a toy for kids and adults. Outside of the military, drones are utilized by industries and private entities for a variety of applications. But the place where drones have made their biggest debut is with hobbyists.

What’s a Drone?
Drones are unmanned, and pilots operate them via remote control. Drones are called, by the FAA, unmanned aerial vehicles or unmanned aircraft systems. They come from generations of model airplane builders and enthusiasts, with roots in some of the greatest technological innovations of the 20th and 21st century.
Some hobbyists buy drones for the sheer enjoyment and challenge of piloting. Some amateurs and professionals seek the perfect shot by capturing spectacular high-quality photographs and video from an aerial vantage point. Or, maybe you want the drone that can win any race.
There are as many ways to use cheap drones as there are drone hobbyists.
Cheap drones are, either built for endurance or for speed. Most cheap drones don’t have GPS or wind-stabilization, but many have a built-in camera.
Most hobby drones are quadcopters, meaning the vehicle has four propellers. But, hobby drones exist with up to eight propellers-called an octocopter.
The 3 Best Cheap Drones for Beginners
The cheaper the drone the less functionality it will have. Most often, that means that cheap drones have a shorter flight time than expensive drones with better batteries.
Drones with the longest flight time, either are equipped with solar panels or several big batteries.
1. Tello Quadcopter Drone by Ryze
The Tello Quadcopter Drone by Ryze is the best cheap drone for beginner quadcopter pilot training. Just toss it into the air and start performing stunts and HD photography. This drone flies for up to thirteen minutes and includes an introduction to drone coding.
Newbies can get accustomed to piloting the drone in slow mode, and increase their speed gradually, over three-speed settings. And, the Tello Quadcopter Drone features dual antennas, for enhanced stabilization in the air.
The Tello Quadcopter Drone by Ryze (co-manufactured by world leader in high-end drones DJI) is an affordable model for serious beginner pilots, priced under $100.
2. SYMA X5C Quadcopter
If you want to get some HD pictures from an aviary angle, the SYMA X5C Quadcopter is the best cheap drone for pictures. This drone features the ability to do flips in the air with the press of a button. And, it boasts strong gyro control to resist strong winds.
You can fly for up to seven consecutive minutes, with 100 minutes of recharge time in-between. The fly-time to charge-time ratio is high, but it is very affordable, under $40.
3. Force1 U818A Discovery Quadcopter
If you are looking for the next level up in drone quality, check out the Force1 U818A Discovery Quadcopter. This beginner drone is on the high end of cheap quadcopters, coming in just under $100.
The Force1 U818A Discovery Quadcopter features a 4Gb micro-SD storage card to store the 720p HD photos it takes. It features a 6-axis stabilizing system for wind resistance, and it orients itself to your heads direction.
But, best of all, the Force1 U818A Discovery Quadcopter features up to 18 minutes of flight time, making it the cheap drone with the best battery. For about twice the price you get twice the flight time.
Final Thoughts
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Drone Footage Spots Shark Near Popular Beach

We’ve written before about the many surveillance companies that are hoping to use drones to track shark movements and spot sharks from the air before a rescue mission is necessary. But last week, a massive grey nurse shark was found not by a spotting company, but by a freelance photography drone owned and operated by …

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