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Aerial Video Production Tips for a Successful Shoot

Whether you’re entirely new to aerial video production or this is something you’ve done several times before, there’s something considerable “new” about aerial production that never quite feels routine or habit the way most productions can. In fact, aerial video production feels entirely unique each time a shot is planned regardless of how frequently you shoot from a drone, helicopter or any other aerial apparatus. Filming from the air adds a unique element to your shoot that not just any production crew can achieve. Follow these tips for a successful aerial production shoot.

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Practice Makes Perfect

If filming from a drone, practice is your friend. In fact, practice makes perfect–or at least something closer to perfect. Take time out to practice flying the drone that you will use for aerial video production so that you will be a master by the time you’re ready for the shoot. This way, you’ll have a great feel for how your drone works, what it is and is not capable of and what you are and are not capable of in terms of flying.

If you’re aerial production shoot will consist of some other flying apparatus such as helicopter or plane, you may not have as much ability to practice the shots before the big shoot day. In these cases, just do your best to plan accordingly and talk with the aerial flight team in advance to determine what their team and equipment will, and will not, be capable of.

Plan Shots Carefully

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All successful aerial video production projects have one key element in common–they are well planned. As you plan your aerial shots, take a look at your surroundings and get an idea of what would look best from above. Think about the way you want your video to look and feel. Consider the placement of the sun at your scheduled shoot time and how shadows or light will be cast from above onto the scene below.

Before you begin shooting, plan out the shots that you intend to take. Consider the music or background narration that will play during the aerial scene and how your shots will align with the sound to set the entire mood for the film.

Decide on the spots and scenes that will be shot from above and prepare a list of coordinated shots that will be captured. Film the entire aerial scene with editing in mind. Capture additional footage wherever possible as it may be useful for B-roll or transitions later on.

Take it Slow

Although there is generally nothing slow about video production, when capturing aerial footage it’s best to slow down just a bit. A slow aerial shot will provide a more cinematic look and feel for the audience, and can easily be sped up in post-production if doing so is necessary.

All of your movements should be slow and smooth, you don’t want to be whipping around or side to side as your footage may end up less valuable or just difficult to watch. Gradual movements, even when captured from a drone, can give the look and feel of having been captured from a larger platform such as a helicopter, adding a cinematic layer to your film.

Make sure that you planned for how your aerial shots will play out. Scout the location that you will film in before planning your aerial shot list so that you can consider any potential limitations or elements that could make filming challenging in various scenarios. This way you can plan accordingly.

Strafe to Add Perspective

Strafing, or moving the filming platform from side to side in a smooth, logical manner, can be used to add a layer of perspective to the footage showing off a wider area of the landscape below.

While it may be “easiest” to film the aerial footage from a forward or backward motion, strafing shots stand out and captivate audience attention and are great for revealing interesting features down below.

Use Fly Through Shots, Cautiously

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Fly through shots provide an exceptional experience for the viewer, but are risky for the cinematographer and, when captured from a manned plane or helicopter, they can be risky to anyone else on board the machine. Use caution when capturing fly through shots, but don’t let the risk prevent you from considering these shots for your aerial shoot.

If a fly through shot can be captured from drone or with limited risk to the aerial production team, they can be used to add a cinematic feel to the shoot but only if captured correctly so, be cautious!

Ready to put aerial video production to use in your business? Give Beverly Boy Productions a call at 888-462-7808! We’ve got cinematography crews in 300 major cities worldwide that specialize in a wide range of video production services including aerial video production. We can’t wait to help you with your next big project.