From dolly zoom to drone orbits, master these easy drone maneuvers and shots to create breathtaking aerial footage.
Have you ever thought about how drone enthusiasts capture stunning cinematic videos? Chances are you’ve watched a number of breathtaking videos and wondered how the footage comes together so naturally.
As a content creator, you can often run (or fly) into a situation where you struggle to find creative inspiration and your footage does not match your expectations. Whether you’re a beginner pilot or have already conquered the sky, master these drone maneuvers and shots to improve your aerial photography.
Note: The following flight maneuvers were performed using Mode 2 (default mode) on the drone remote controller.
1. Drone Reveal Shot
This simple drone maneuver is used in cinematic footage to slowly reveal a subject to an audience. This drone shot can be used to add suspense, introduce a scene, or simply add a creative perspective to your footage.
How to Take a Drone Reveal Shot
- Start with your subject out of view and approach it slowly with your drone.
- Fly past your subject to reveal a background scene or landscape shot.
- To add more creativity to your shot, experiment with different flight speeds. Use different angles as you approach your subject to add different perspectives to your footage.
2. Tracking Shot
The tracking shot is a basic drone flight maneuver that is great for capturing your audience’s attention. This basic move is great while flying alongside your subject. It can also be used to keep focus on moving subjects, and given that most DJI drones feature ActiveTrack, this shot is a walk in the park.
How to Take a Drone Tracking Shot
- Fly sideward, parallel to your subject.
- Keep track of your subject as you perform this maneuver.
3. Panning Shot
Not to be confused with flying sideward, a panning shot involves rotating your gimbal along the yaw axis while the drone hovers. This flying technique is effective for showcasing multiple subjects in a scene and emphasizing the connection between them. Or simply, use this shot to focus on one subject.
How to Take a Drone Panning Shot
- You can perform this move by pushing the left control stick to the left or to the right.
- You can also choose to fly your drone in a clockwise or an counter-clockwise direction.
4. Flying Upward
Fly your drone upward and move away from your subject, displaying the contrast between your subject and the background. You can also use the feature “Rocket” in Mavic Air’s QuickShot function to get this shot. This is a great way to add creative transitions to your footage.
How to Fly Upward
- Start with the camera facing the ground.
- Push the left control stick forward to make the drone fly upwards.
- Try to keep your subject in the center of your frame.
An orbit is a dynamic flying maneuver where the drone rotates around your subject while steadily gaining elevation. As the drone revolves around your subject, you can gradually reveal the scene to your audience. This adds dynamic motion in your footage, which you can maximize further by tilting the drone as it performs this maneuver. Orbit is a QuickShot available for Mavic Air, but you can also perform the shot manually.
How to Take a Drone Orbit Shot
- To manually perform an orbit, push the right control stick to the right to make the drone fly in that direction.
- Push your left control stick to the left, making the drone rotate around your subject.
6. Overhead Shot
An overhead shot is an excellent way to immerse your audience in your footage. This type of shot can be used to frame your subject inside a larger shot, giving your audience a better sense of scale.
How to Take an Overhead Shot
- Fly your drone above your subject.
- Rotate the gimbal dial until the camera is positioned directly above your subject.
7. Dolly Zoom
Available on the Mavic 2 Zoom, Dolly Zoom is a fantastic feature for storytelling and creating a unique visual effect.
How to Perform a Dolly Zoom
- Push the right control stick forward.
- At the same time, use the Zoom Adjustment Dial to zoom in and out.
- You can also pull the right control stick backward and simultaneously use the Zoom Adjustment Dial.
Simple Drone Maneuvers
Try experimenting with these drone maneuvers and tips to obtain cinematic shots. Remember, practice makes perfect!
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