Once you’re in the air with a drone, the possibilities seem limitless. And while it’s tempting to fly spontaneously just by feel, there are quite a lot of factors that determine how your footage turns out. Let’s break down the six different key factors that influence or create your drone shot. We’ll talk about how each of these factors affect the shot and what kind of feeling they can give your viewers.


Factor 1: Height

1. Flying Low

When filming from low height, the viewer will feel very included in the scene as they are used to an eye-level perspective. It also builds tension in the shot as the viewer will likely not be familiar with the environment and therefore get a feeling that they are discovering it for the first time with you. 

Flying Low

2. Flying High

Gives a fantastic overall perspective of your area with some artistic and surreal views. This is great for overviews when capturing massive landscapes.


Factor 2: Speed

1. Flying Slow

Flying at slower speeds ensures shots will be more likely to convey a feeling of epic, massive, and calm.

flying slow 

2. Flying Fast

Higher speeds will often result in more exciting footage and give your shots a hectic and frantic look.

Flying fast


3. Adjusting Speed with Your Remote Controller

Try adjusting the flight speed with your remote controller for more speed variations and options. Choose between C, N, and S. C stands for “Cine/Cinematic” and ensures the drone will make cinematic and fluid movements. N is normal mode, best for slower, calmer flights or for beginners. S is Sport mode, which unlocks the highest speeds for more daring, exciting, and hectic footage.


Factor 3: Direction

Direction influences the audience’s tension and is super important to conveying the progression of your visual story. Direction can especially affect the buildup or release of tension.

1. Flying Forward

If you are flying forward with your drone, the shot is more likely to build tension in your visual narrative.

2. Flying Backward

This direction often results in the release of tension or the “closing” of a scene or story.Flying Backward

3. Flying Upward

Similar to moving forward, this shot builds tension in your story.

Flying Upward

4. Flying Downward

One of the best shots for releasing narrative tension or closing out your story.

Flying Downward

5. Character Moving Right

Subconsciously, we are wired to feel like our characters are moving forward or progressing when they move from left to right on the screen.

Character Moving Right

6. Character Moving Left

Similarly to the previous point, we are subconsciously wired to think of a character moving from right to left as regressing or moving backward or back towards an origin.


Factor 4: Distance

1. Flying Close to Your Subject

When we fly within close proximity of our subject, the viewer will feel more drawn into the story as if they are right there with the person.

Flying Close to Your Subject

2. Flying Far from Your Subject

Flying further away from your subject will often give the viewer a sense that the landscape is more superior or grand than whatever is happening with the subject. It also releases tension because the viewer has a bigger picture of what’s going on.

Factor 5: Gimbal movement

1. Moving the Gimbal Upward

This movement conveys the feeling that the scene is opening or something is beginning.

2. Moving the Gimbal Downward

A downward gimbal movement often expresses the idea that a narrative is closing or tension is being resolved or released.

Factor 6: Zoom

1. Zooming Toward a Subject

This action creates more tension as it really hones in focus on your subject.

2. Zooming Out

Zooming out or away from a subject will reveal more of your surroundings and help to release tension.

Zooming Out


While many of these movements seem simple and straightforward, it really helps to know what each one conveys to viewers. You can mix and match, combining them along with the narrative you’re trying to tell to get the optimum look that expresses your visual story each and every time. And for a truly optimum look, try the DJI Mavic 3, which has recently updated its firmware with features like MasterShots and ActiveTrack 5.0 to unlock your creative potential with these shots and so many more.

Buy Mavic 3

Creativity is at the heart of every dream. At DJI, we give creators the tools they need to bring their imagination to life. Our products push visionaries to go beyond the limits of possibility, inspiring them to see the world from a brand new perspective.