How to Record High Quality Audio with Your Drone

That whirring of a drone’s propellers has meant, for me at least, that you might as well forget about audio. Generally, you will only be pulling out the drone to get wider establishing shots or landscapes where sync sound doesn’t matter too much. Most drones don’t even have a built-in mic for audio anyway.

Still, if you can pull off a shot with some synced-up sound then it can be a nice-looking effect. Filmmaker Jeven Dovey has his own solution for getting audio while using a drone. It’s not that complicated either and should be familiar to a lot of people who have worked with dual-system sound.

Any drone will work and it’ll work best if you have something going on in the scene, say you are walking around with the drone following you while you are speaking.

Since most drones don’t record any audio, though some might be able to work with a phone or remote controller’s functions, you will still need to pick up an audio system. Jeven opted to go for the DJI Mic.

This wireless system has a backup recording function that you can pull the files off for later.

To get things synced up in post you’ll have to take a couple steps to create a sync point. You’ll need to get the drone up in the air and start recording.

Have it face yourself and then clap in view of the camera. Don’t stop recording and finish up your take. You’ll need to create a new sync point every time you make a new clip.

Image Credit: DJI

Now, when you take the audio files and video and put them together in your NLE you can find the spike in the audio waveform and line it up with the clap point in the video.

Now you have a synced up drone video with audio. Doing a fancy walk and talk using a drone and some of the current auto tracking features is a great example.

Depending on how close the drone is to you as you shoot you’ll likely need to use some type of noise reduction in post to reduce the hum.

Final Cut has a voice isolation feature that you should look into if that is what you use. Most NLEs have their own and there are plenty of plug-ins available from third parties.

Have you ever tried to get audio when using your drone?

[source: Jeven Dovey]

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