10 Must-Know Creative Drone Camera Moves and Effects

Want to become a master drone pilot? Well first things first whenever I talk about drones is that you absolutely need to understand all the safety regulations and laws in the area where you plan to fly.

After you have a handle on that and get to learn how to best handle your drone then you should learn how to create a shot that will make your footage more dynamic and exciting. That’s what this video is all about.

Man From Earth has a collection of creative drone camera moves and effects to share that will help you elevate your craft. It is designed around the DJI Mini 3 Pro and Mavic 3 so for best results stick with DJI.

1. Space Elevator

The space elevator is a more unique shot which has the drone going slowly up and down with the addition of some zoom in select takes to create a boomerang.

The way to pull this off is to use the Hyperlapse mode with waypoints. All you have to do is set your in and out waypoints and then record your shot.

Now for post. You’ll want to take the clip and speed it up. Then copy it and paste it at the end of the first take. Reverse the shot and you have the basic effect nailed down. Copy both clips and add a zoom to make the shot a bit more interesting.

This works very well with locations that have a bit of movement and to shoot during sunrise/sunset so you can get a day-to-night transition.

2. Orbit

A classic drone shot is the orbit. At its most basic it is simply circling around a subject and it is easy to pull off. Use the point of interest mode and select your subject.

The drone will then automatically circle it. In post you can add a speed ramp right before a transition to get a smooth cut.

Image Credit: DJI

3. Camera Turn

Now, the camera turn adds a bit more dynamic motion to a shot and is something that he uses when working on the ground and isn’t exactly doable with current drone camera systems.

However, if you shoot a wide take and bring the footage into post you can replicate the effect.

In your NLE you’ll need to scale up the footage to give some room for the turn. Now you can use keyframes with the rotation setting to complete the effect.

4. Zoom In Orbit

The zoom in orbit can have a similar feel to the space elevator since you can do most of the editing to create a boomerang effect. Start off the same way with a point-of-interest shot that rotates around the chosen subject. Now bring your footage into post.

Doing some speed ramps at the end of the initial clip and at the beginning of the reverse version can help sell the effect. Add a zoom in and/or out to make it even more dynamic.

5. Drone Stop Motion

Using stop motion can help when covering a long distance. When you are doing a lengthy flight you’ll often have moments where you either turn the drone or simply move it around or it gets moved by wind or something else.

You can hide some of these awkward movement but shooting a series of photos instead and cutting out the bad takes. It can also just be a fun look.

Image Credit: DJI

6. Speed Ramp Cut

Steady and smooth is great for drone footage. However, it can get a little boring on longer takes. Adding a speed ramp effect can make the footage more interesting.

Even better is if you use that speed ramp to lead into a cut to the next clip. Just make sure that your movement is matching between the two shots to really sell it.

7. Drone Boomerang

For the drone boomerang you’ll want to start by facing the camera at yourself and then quickly flying away. There are some automatic modes like dronie in DJI that can make this a bit easier. In post you’ll want to add a speed ramp in the middle.

Then you can copy the shot, reverse it, and now you have a drone boomerang.

8. Helix

The helix is a combination of the orbit with an upwards move. It’s a great way to start focused in on a subject and then reveal the larger location.

This is a built-in QuickShot on DJI drones and it works very well if you opt for that. Otherwise, a practiced pilot should be able to pull this off without too much hassle.

Image Credit: DJI

9. Match Cut

A general editing trick is to maintain some consistency in your shots between locations. Then you can cut with the match and create a much more seamless effect.

In the example, he focuses on himself and flys away while keeping him positioned the same in each clip. Then he can just cut at the point where it matches for the smooth match cut.

The way to do this is to make use of automated modes that don’t rely on your own skill to pull off a matching take. A little bit of fixing in post may be required.

10. Dolly Zoom

Elevate a standard flight with the dolly zoom. The standard motion of the drone accomplishes the dolly part while you’ll likely need to use post-production to pull off the zoom (unless you have one of the few drones with a real zoom lens).

Take your shot and then apply keyframes with the zoom setting to create an interesting warping look.

Are any of these moves/effects something you are going to try on your next shoot?

[source: Man From Earth]

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