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  • Writer's pictureTom David Frey

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

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

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!


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