Does your Director/Producer know when and how to use drones on set?

A guest post from Mathew Harwood from Cinematic Motion.

Spiderman: Far From Home took a spin on drone-use and included their abilities as part of the main villain, Mysterio’s specialised form of attack. There are few cinematic productions that don’t utilise the advantages of drone-use in some form or another these days. 


From television commercials to award-winning films, most directors have discovered how beneficial a few – or a few more – drone shots can be to the finished story.


But does your Director/Producer know when and how to use drones on set? 


Here are a couple of tips to leave for your production team to ensure your film’s story is told in the best way possible:


Is your Director aware that drones can sometimes be better utilised for close-ups rather than aerial shots?


The farther you send a drone into the air, the less movement it will be able to pick up from its subject – and the faster it will need to move. For shots where the subject is a stand-alone object, such as a vehicle, close-ups through drone use can actually create better, crisper images than a typical video camera. Your team may be under the impression that drones are made to fly high, but in reality, they do their best work close to the ground. 


The next time your director directs your team to set up a standard camera for close-ups suggest trying the same shot with a drone. By not needing to shoot the same shot from different angles, or set up gear for each scene, your production team is saving time and costs that can be better spent elsewhere.


A drone takes much less time and funds than the use of a helicopter and can be set up and ready for the first shot in minutes.


Creativity is important when it comes to drone use – the best films, and shots are those that you don’t even notice are drone shots, because they seamlessly blend into the story, 


Ensure your director and production team are aware that sometimes too much drone can get a little out of hand and even tacky. If the shots are planned out with timing and creatively outlined, then everything becomes perfect. Forcing a drone to get the perfect shot without putting the proper care into choosing the right lens, height or camera, or even using an expert drone pilot, can even ruin the mood of the story. 


Drone shots are an incredible way of taking images and video from any angle and almost any depth, and they have taken film production to new heights, literally! However it’s important that every member of a film’s production team has at least some knowledge about when, where, and how to use drones to best compliment the full piece This especially applies to the director/producer. Using a drone team with expert pilots will ensure your director achieves their dream shot(s), safely and effectively. 


If you’re not sure how much your director knows about drone cinematography, ask them. Many have been in the business for so long that they can be a little more challenging to test the boundaries of technology in their work – they need to see the benefits that changing with technology, can have toward every corner, and angle, of their work. 

Ready for some help? Email for a demo and to get in touch to see for yourself how having the right experts makes all the difference!

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