You know what they say: fake it ‘til you make it. Drone shots in videos often give off a high-budget feel, since most people assume that it probably takes a lot of money to get a shot like that. Then again, before drones existed, filmmakers had to ride a helicopter or a plane to get that overhead shot of a place or a scene.
Today, fewer and fewer videographers film with drones in public places, due to the stricter rules and the increasing no-fly zones. The good news is that you can still achieve a drone shot without even using such a device. Apparently, there is a safe and simple setup which can capture your event to be just as good as using a UAV. Ready to get your inner MacGyver on in the field? Let’s get into it!
One way to do this is with your phone or a really long selfie stick, or a boom pole if you have one. Lightweight cameras are great for this kind of setup because a DSLR would weigh down the end.
A 5-meter long pole should do for the shots, with a gimbal stabilizer. Make sure to move forward while you carry this pole or stick, and even tilt the camera in different kinds of angles to recreate the movements of a drone.
If you don’t know where to start, you can start by doing a tracking shot with your setup, locking the gimbal and holding the pole at a 45-degree angle as you move slowly from one side to another.
Done with the tracking shot? You can try doing a pedestal shot as well. Lift the pole up while you walk forwards. If you lift only the pole, then the camera will move backward, so for consistency, move forward as you lift the pole, so the camera will stay in the same place.
For a dolly shot, try walking as slowly and as smoothly as possible while you move your setup to film. Hold your pole at the same angle, then move forward. You’ll have to practice walking slowly and smoothly so you don’t get the up and down movement in your footage. As Chung Dha warn us all, always be aware of overhead power lines if you get a Boom pole of about 12 to 15+ feet off the ground.
That’s pretty much how you can fake a drone shot. This is much safer to use in public places or other crowded areas. Although you have to be prepared for people to give you strange looks or tell you how long the selfie stick that you have is. In the meantime, try not to poke anyone’s eye out with this setup and look for other potential objects that might get in the way while filming.