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Inspiration

6 Tips To Make Your Drone Footage Cinematic

By Wendell Weithers on June 23rd 2017

Drones are more than expensive toys for hobbyists who want in on the latest tech fad. They are an incredibly useful tool that is empowering filmmakers expand the scope and options of telling their story. With that in mind it is important to approach the use of this tool with the same thoughtfulness applied the rest of your film making kit. The team over at Travel Feels shares six tips to making the most out of your drone investment.

[RELATED: DJI MAVIC | THE PERSONAL DRONE TO DASH GOPRO DREAMS]

#1 – Time of Day

Every tool has limitations and knowing what your gear can and cannot do allows you to overcome its shortcomings. Drone technology is still maturing and the cameras on these devices typically don’t have the same robust dynamic range of their more advanced DSLR and mirrorless counterparts. This means the most favorable lighting for your drone is probably at sunrise or sunset.

#2 – ND Filter

ND Filters are an absolute necessity for outdoor video of every kind, not just drone footage. As the video says, they cut down on the light that makes it to your camera’s sensor, allowing you to use wider apertures and slower shutter speeds. Without them you would not be able to match the settings that create a cinematic look in your videos.

#3 – Slow Movements

Much of movie magic is created by the subtlety of camera movements and, if you want to immerse your viewers into what you’re showing them, slow camera movements are a tried and true method of doing so. This will allow your viewers to soak in the scenery and add a sense of gravity to your story.

#4 – Color Match & Color Grading

As a rule of thumb, maintaining a consistent look throughout a sequence of shots is the ideal creative choice. This is achieved by color matching and color grading each portion of footage to look the same. If you are using footage from more than one camera, the footage from each needs to look the same in your final edit. Furthermore, adding a unique and stylized feel to your shots with a specific color grade needs to be applied consistently to maintain continuity between the shots.

Tools to accomplish this are:

Waveform – this tool helps you obtain the proper exposure.

Vector Scope – this tool helps you adjust the color of your footage.

#5 – Zoom

Adding a digital zoom is a creative method of adding some flare or drama to your footage and is another means of pulling your viewers into your story. Manipulating the perspective of your viewer in ways that the human eye can’t add a great visual effect to you story

#6 –  Cinema Crop Bars

The black bars at the top and bottom of the screen are a hallmark of the cinematic experience. You can add them by overlaying a simple PNG file onto your footage or change the settings in your software to add a crop, leaving the top and bottom of your footage black.

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Wendell is based in Atlanta where he shoots events, portraits, and food photography. He also supports his wife Andrea as she runs their cake design business, Sweet Details.

Instagram: Wendellwphoto

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