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News & Insight

Wedding Videography Drone Footage | Annoyance or Art?

By Shivani Reddy on July 13th 2016

Picture this: the bride is making her way down the aisle, guests have gotten out of their seats with camera phones ready in hand, and the groom is patiently waiting for his lady to make her way down to him. All of a sudden you hear, what sounds like, an angry swarm of bees, towering just a couple of feet overhead.

A video shot by photographer and videographer Adam Rubin of Kaveret has caught the attention of many viewers due to its voyeuristic and cinematic approach of a common scene. The viewer essentially gets to walk beside, behind and above the bride as she makes her way to the altar at the Pelican Hill Resort – footage that is difficult to retrieve without being intrusive. The magical device allowing us to be a part of this moment – the DJI Phantom 4 whirring just overhead.

It is extremely common to witness drones used for wedding videography nowadays, and DJI even created a commercial for the Phantom 3 with this utility in mind.

These breathtaking aerial views are trending amongst newly engaged couples hoping to keep up with the latest in wedding photography & videography. At what point though, do we draw the line between seeing this technology as a means of art versus as a contamination of a pure moment in time?

Without a doubt, drones give us a highly unique perspective of a scene, incapable of being achieved by any ordinary camera system (maybe with the help of a helicopter, but let’s be realistic). Primarily known for its use in landscape and cityscape shots, drones have infiltrated their way into wedding videography providing an exclusive angle unattainable by any other means.


That being said, imagine as guests, or even the groom, try to take in this once-in-a-lifetime moment, but are interrupted by this ‘phantom’ robbing them of their enjoyment. Sure, not all drones fly this close in proximity to the public, and there’s no arguing Rubin created something to marvel at: it’s gorgeous footage. However, it provokes the thought of whether they serve as a unique tool for artistry or as an obtrusive, uninvited guest at a wedding.

[REWIND: The News | Fstop Tinder For Photographers, Using Drones as Light Stands, Fuji Pulls Firmware Support]

Decide for yourself:

Drone shot in a wedding ceremony from Kaveret – כוורת on Vimeo.

See more of Rubin’s work on Vimeo & Facebook.

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Shivani wants to live in a world where laughter is the cure to pretty much everything. Since she can’t claim “Serial Bingewatcher” as an occupation, she’ll settle for wedding/portrait photographer at Lin and Jirsa & marketing coordinator here at SLR Lounge. For those rare moments when you won’t find a camera in her hand, she will be dancing, eating a donut, or most likely watching Seinfeld.

Follow her on Instagram: @shivalry_inc

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Kelvin Strepen

    Wedding videography by drone!! This is really great idea.

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  2. sam tziotzios

    i think they are spice elements and should be used in small percentages. following cinematographers and directors interviews you see that there is motivation behind camera moves (Hitchcock was a master, with POV shots, reveals etc). Newer TV trends (NCIS for one) have camera moves and edits to provide energy. Being old school I find they take me out of the story and I end up saying “nice camera move” which I should’t really if done right.

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  3. Daniel Vallelunga

    Is it just me, or does the seating arrangement make the location look like a dead fish? Great drone video though!

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  4. Ralph Hightower

    For the drone videography inside the church, I’d have to wonder if they were able to hear their vows. With the fly back down the aisle, I wonder if any of the guests though “I hope this thing doesn’t hit me!”

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  5. Tom Marvel

    I’m sure all the lawyers in attendance are wishing they brought business cards with them

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  6. Paul Wynn

    The use of drones is increasing, and of course they can achieve a different perspective on events such as a wdedding. However the potential legal liabilities frighten me, so they are not for me.

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  7. robert s

    and every single one is a criminal with their smartphones out instead of enjoying the moment.

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    • John Shen

      Yup… seeing all the people (even what appeared to be wedding court members) holding their phones up kind of ruined the whole thing for me.

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  8. Tom Love

    Seems like this is not legal operation of a drone in the U.S. SUMMARY OF SMALL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT RULE (PART 107) Operational Limitations states: “Small unmanned aircraft may not operate over any persons not directly participating in the operation, not under a covered structure, and not inside a covered stationary vehicle”. Besides that think of the liability issues with operating in a place like this. Hit a light fixture and start a fire… not worth the risk to me, just saying.

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    • Steven Quan

      It’s perfectly legal operation of a drone since that little rule you listed above (PART 107) was just created and doesn’t start until late August 2016. Haha!

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    • Tom Love

      Try retaining a lawyer with that in your pocket.

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  9. Jean-Francois Perreault

    If the photographer discussed it with the client and if that’s what the client wants then all is good in my opinion.
    After all, the client is what matters.

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    • Shivani Reddy

      Totally agree Jean-Francois, if the client agrees to it then by all means it must be done. It will definitely be interesting to see what weight drones will hold in the future for wedding videography/photography.

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    • lee christiansen

      Except it’s not just flying over the bride – it’s flying over all the guests too. Have they agreed to a potentionally dangerous object flying over their heads.

      And I’d love to see the insurer covering the operator when it’s seen that the laws have been so obviously ignored.

      Pretty pictures they may be, but we’ve all seen the videos where a drone flies into someone, or drops from the sky onto someone’s head.

      There are reasons why regulations state not to fly over people. (And I’ll wager the legal argument of directly involved will encompass those aware of the risks and who have accepted the same).

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    • Jean-Francois Perreault

      I agree 100%! And in the video, we see the drone pass really close to a chandelier. It seemed a bit dangerous to me.

      As the article’s title asked about art vs annoyance, I left the safety issues out but yes, they do need to be fully examined.
      I’m actually surprised that this is legal, at least indoors.

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    • John Shen

      Right after they and all guests sign liability release and waiver forms. haha

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