25 Drone Moves for Capturing Cinematic B-Roll

Aerial footage tends to looks pretty sweet without all that much effort. The only problem with just tossing the drone up in the air and hitting record is that you’ll likely end up with a ton of generic-looking video.

You’ll want to learn some new techniques if you want to start capturing a truly cinematic B-roll with your drone.

For that you might want to learn a thing or two (or 25) from filmmaker Jeven Dovey who has put together an almost encyclopedic video demonstrating a ton of different moves to try out with your drone.

Pay attention, there’s a lot packed in here.

These are going to get progressively hard, which means you should feel extra comfortable if you are planning on trying the advanced moves. These are all based on the standard control scheme with the left stick controlling altitude and direction and the right stick setting speed and lateral movement.

Beginner: One Move

1. Tripod

Easy start with the tripod. Just fly into position, point the camera where you want, and just let it hover. It’ll get more unique angles and much greater height than your usual tripod.

2. Reverse

Pull down on the right joystick and your drone will start flying backwards. You’ll definitely need to make sure it has a clear flight path for the reverse.

3. Slide or Dolly

Pull right or left on the right joystick and you will have the drone move laterally. This means that your subject will stay in front of the drone while it slides to the left or right.

DJI Mavic 3 Classic

Image Credit: DJI

4. Push In

Push forward on your right joystick and the drone will start moving forward. The push in is another simple move. Moderate your speed to get a cinematic look.

5. Raise Up

Forward on the left joystick will have the drone ascend. Can be helpful to reveal move of the scene with your drone. Reposition your drone for different types of shots, too. For example, shooting straight down while raising up is a great alternative.

6. Drop Down

The opposite of the raise up. Nice to grab at the end of your flight depending on where you are landing.

7. Rotation

Going left or right on the left joystick will have the drone start to spin in place.

Intermediate: Two Moves

8. Slide + Push or Reverse

Pull to the corners of the right joystick while pushing in on the scene. This will have the drone begin moving to the side while also closing in on your subject. You can also do this in reverse.

9. Raise Up + Push Forward

Press up on both joysticks at the same time and you will get a nice upward move while pushing in.

10. Raise Up + Rotation

Similar to the last but on the left joystick you are going to push towards the corners. It’ll give you a spiral effect as you go up or down.

11. Raise Up + Reverse

This relies on opposing motions. So you’ll push forward on the left joystick and down on the right joystick so the drone will raise up as you go backwards. It’s a good reveal option when you start to close.

Image Credit: DJI

12. Raise Up + Gimbal Rotation

Again, you’ll be pushing up on the left joystick for the raise-up move.

Combine that with a downward gimbal move and you can have the drone ascend while following a subject at a lower height. It’s a fun shift in perspective.

13. Drop Down + Gimbal Rotation

This I simply the opposite of the last move.

14. Orbit

A classic drone move, this one relies on having a subject in the center of the frame. You will be focused on the subject and rotate around it. There are two ways to do it.

Either you can pull right on the left joystick while pulling left on the right joystick (facing each other) or you do the opposite where the joystick are being pulled away from each other. This is a good one to play around with.

15. Push In + Gimbal Rotation

This move will have you flying forward, probably over a subject, and then have the camera start moving down to face the subject. It’ll definitely drive attention down to your chosen subject.

16. Reverse + Gimbal Rotation

Doing the previous move in reverse is also fun and can help go from a subject to reveal a wider scene.

Advanced: Three or More Moves

17. Reverse Slide Rotation

Pull right or left on the left joystick and then pull down to one of the corners on the right joystick. This movement will create a sweeping move.

18. Push In Slide Rotation

The opposite of the previous move.

19. Reverse Slide Rotation + Gimbal

Adding a gimbal rotation to the mix can make this even more dynamic.

Image Credit: DJI

20. Orbit + Gimbal Rotation

We are diving deep into perspective changes. This move will have you orbit while also changing the angle of the gimbal. It can be used to start on a subject and then have the camera move to do a bigger reveal of the landscape.

21. Drop Down Slide + Rotation

This is almost an orbit moving downwards.

22. Raise Up Rotation with Push Slide

Pointing the joysticks towards each other towards their upper corners will start this move.

23. Raise Up Rotation with Push Slide + Gimbal

This setup will create a big spiral around a subject while also changing perspective.

24. Drop Down Rotation with Push Slide + Gimbal

This is the opposite of the previous move.

25. Forward Drop Down Gimbal Up

Have the gimbal rotating up while the drone is descending and the drone is moving forward to create this look. It’ll help you zoom into a subject that started far away.

Phew. that is a lot of moves to run through. Some are easy and some are hard, but they should all be fun.

Which drone moves are your go-tos?

[source: Jeven Dovey]

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