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3 Tips to take Your Drone Skills to the Next Level


Take your drone skills to new heights with these 3 drone tips! Learn film-like movements, perfect panoramas, and the power of polarizing filters.


How to make drone videos look cinematic

Whenever I fly my drone, I always try to achieve the most film-like movements. A great way to figure out what works is to pay attention to aerial shots in movies and try to apply similar techniques to your filming style. Here are my favorites:



Orbiting

Use the grid layout on your screen to keep your object in the middle or in one third of the frame, then move around and try not to lose the object from the chosen position. It isn't the easiest drone movement, but with a bit of practice, it's possible to apply it to any kind of situation, no matter how big or small the object is.



Forward Revealing

It looks amazing, especially if the land has some patterns or textures, like fields, forests, or beaches. Keep your drone at the lowest height possible and point the gimbal to about 60 degrees towards the ground. Now, at the same time, fly ahead and gently start lifting up your gimbal. When the gimbal returns close to 0 degrees, try to release it slowly to avoid hitting the 0 degree angle and breaking the smooth movement.



Backward Revealing

This one is my favourite. It looks especially good if you spice it up by adding some objects passing through the frame. The suspension while revealing the landscape and constant movements throughout the frame make it a very interesting camera movement.

Before you start, be sure that there aren't any objects in your way. Sometimes, the drone's sensors won't identify a thin branch, which might be enough to knock the drone down.

Just like before, set your drone at a fairly low height and lower the gimbal to about 60 degrees. At the same time, start flying backward and lifting up your gimbal. Be careful when the gimbal gets close to zero degrees and slowly release the dial before that moment to keep a smooth shot.


Extra Tip

Move your drone to positions while using the "normal" mode but switch to "cine" for more controllable movements while recording a video.


Extra Tip 2

Whenever making revealing shots, keep your white balance on manual. If not, the temperature of your image will change during the shot, which doesn't look good or professional.


Panorama Photos with the drone



A panoramic image is a photograph resulting from merging a minimum of 3 separate photos taken from different perspectives.


Although most current drones can automatically create panoramic photos for you, the final image you end up with is a JPG. Until automated panorama images are saved in RAW files, I recommend making them manually, which isn't difficult at all. The challenging aspect of panoramas is that you'll see the final result only when you start your editing. You can hope for the best, or you can increase your chances by trying to make several panoramas from different positions.


To create a panorama image, position your drone in a spot that feels right to you (it all depends on the subject you're photographing). Move the gimbal up and down to get a sense of what will be captured in your photo and make the best composition possible. Switch to tripod mode for more stability while shooting. Set your gimbal to 0 degrees and take 3 to 5 photos while lowering your camera to 60 to 90 degrees. Pay attention to covering all the area you want to include in your photo. Vertical panoramas are a great way to showcase places that don't have much open space around them, for example, a building in the middle of the city.



After importing all your photographs to Adobe Lightroom Classic, merge them all together into one photo.


1. go to Library

2. select all pictures which you want to merge into one,

3. right click on one of the pictures,



4. from the drop menu choose "Photo Merge" and then "Panorama"

5. After merging, Lightroom will give you three options of projection. Try all of them and choose the one you like best.


Extra Tip

When taking the photo, remember to switch the camera's white balance to manual to ensure that all the photos have the same temperature.


How to improve drone videos with filters

Using different filters can drastically improve your image quality. It's important to understand why and when we use particular filters. In this article, I just want to draw your attention to polarizer filters. These filters are designed to reduce glare from surfaces like roads, water, or leaves. A polarizing filter, when oriented vertically, will filter out the glare but still allow plenty of light through. A polarizing filter on your camera helps reduce shiny reflections. As a result, your photos will have more intense colors and less luminance. Polarizing filters are especially helpful when taking photos midday when the light is strongest.


Unfortunately, these filters aren't cheap, but I promise you that after seeing the results, you won't regret purchasing them. I use them on all my lenses and rarely take them off.




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