However, i wanted to do something that was more general. That just applies to learning how to fly your drone and the different things that you need to learn to be able to capture better looking footage. So let me just give you a quick outline of what we’re gon na learn in this video. So first we’re gon na go through the controller flying basics and how you actually control the gimbal. Then we’ll get into manual settings versus auto settings. Next we’ll get into nd filters and polarizers we’re gon na talk about how you use them and why you would use them we’ll go into exposure and color. Then we’ll go into how you add, motion and working with different speeds that match the scene from there. We’Ll go into composition, ideas and then talk about time of day and when it’s best to fly your drone to get better. Looking footage we’ll go into color grading, music pacing, your edit and then we’ll talk about visual storytelling and using drone footage to help tell a story. Now, after we get through these sections, we’re going to go through 30 different shots that you can start using in your videos and then at the end of this video we’re, going to go through mistakes that you should avoid, and some of my thoughts around how you Fly your drone in these situations. Now there is a ton to unpack in this video, so let’s just get started with the first section, which is flying basics.
The first thing that you want to learn about your drone is how you actually fly it in the air. So, on the controller you have two joysticks and these two joysticks do different things, depending on the configuration that you have set up so i’m going to be talking about the standard configuration, and this is what comes on most drones out of the box. Now, if you don’t, like this configuration, you can set it up to what makes more sense for you. However, let’s go over the basic configuration of how drones fly. So when you look down your controller you’re going to have two joysticks one on the left, one on the right so on your left, joystick when you push up that’s going to cause the drone to ascend into the sky. Now, if you pull down that’s going to cause your drone to descend so raising up and lowering down now on that joystick, if you push left with the joystick, then it’s going to rotate the drone left and think of the drone just sitting in one spot and Pivoting on an axis, so when you pull it left it pivots left now, if you pull that same joystick right it pivots right and an easy way to think about it is the left. Joystick keeps you on one spot on the earth. It doesn’t move you in any direction just goes up down and rotates around on the right joystick. You can think of that as moving away from that single point.
So when you move forward on the right, joystick that’s gon na cause your drone to push forward. Now, if you pull down on the right, joystick that’s gon na cause your drone to go backwards. If you pull left on that right, joystick that’s going to cause the drone to move towards the left so instead of pivoting it’s, actually going to be just facing one direction and moving so think of the drone, just looking straight at you and moving one direction. So if you pull right on that joystick, it goes right. So the drone is basically doing this in the air and keeping the camera facing forward. So you’re going to use a combination of both of these joysticks to be able to move your drone in space and also use a combination of both of them to be able to create better. Looking footage now also on the controller you’re, typically going to have a way to control your gimbal on dji drones, it’s going to be right here in the upper left, hand corner, and you could basically just pull it down and up and depending on which drone that You have you can go from straight out ahead to straight down and some drums, even let you go up a little bit further than 90 degrees. Most new drones are coming out with this feature that let you go a little bit higher so that you can get lower on the ground and actually point up a little bit now.
I have worked with some other drones in the past that allow you to do a 360 camera view, and those controllers will have additional abilities to rotate the gimbal in that 360 degrees. However, the majority of drones that i work with and probably you’re going to work with as well just have the gimbal that goes up and down, and so typically these are a jog wheel on the top of the controller that allows you to pull it down or Pull it up so it’s a two direction: jog wheel and depending on how much pressure you apply to this wheel, it’s going to make it move fast or slow, and these are settings that you can change in your software now, depending on which drone you’re flying with And what style of controller that you have there’s? A few other things that you might encounter now on? Dji’S controllers, you’ll have a speed in the middle and this changes it from super slow to a normal speed to super fast and we’ll. Talk about speeds of flying. Your drone, a little bit later in this video now you’ll also have a return to home button, and what this button will do is bring the drone home. So if you need to return to home it’s an easy way to push this button and the drone is going to go back to your initial gps point that you took off from now most situations, you could just use this button return home.
But there are some situations where, if you’re moving you’re not going to want to use this button and then you’ll have to fly home manually, typically with the return to home you set, which height that you want your drone to get up to before it returns to Home, so if you’re in a place with lots of trees, you’ll want to make sure that the drone flies higher than those trees before it returns to home. Now, if you’re, in a situation where there’s not a lot of tall things around you, you might not need the return to home to be super high, so that’s something you’re going to have to go in your app and change. But you want to make sure you do that before every flight and the last thing that you’ll typically find on your controller to control how you fly is a function button and on dji’s controllers. You can change this button to two different things and one function. I like to have set up when i’m flying is automatically adjust the gimbal. So when i click this button, it automatically snaps the gimbal up to 90 or straight down it’s an easy way to move the gimbal so it’s looking straight out so in case. I need to see what i’m doing when i’m flying or i want to shoot straight down. I can do it with a flip of a button and not have to wait for my gimbal, because typically i’ll set my gimbal to super slow, so i can actually use the gimbal when i’m flying to get cinematic.
Looking footage. Now, one of the things that i always suggest doing is take your drone out to a big open field somewhere, where there’s, no chance of you hitting anything now take the drone up and just fly around using the joysticks, really learn how these joysticks work and how Your drone moves in space because, if you’re in a situation where you’re flying close to an object or something happens – and you have to move the drone fast to get out of a situation, you want to make sure that you fully understand how you actually move the Drone in space so that you don’t accidentally fly the drone into the building or fly the drone into a tree when i was first flying drones way back on like the phantom 2. That was one of the things that i didn’t do and i took it off and i hit a palm tree almost immediately. That was because i wasn’t flying in a big open field. So when it comes to flying a drone, practice is key, and what you want to do is learn your controller inside and out and learn how you can fly and move in space and when you’re, looking at the drone up in the sky and you’re. Looking at the screen, objects sometimes seem closer and objects sometimes seem further away from the drone, and you want to make sure that you have a good understanding of where the drone is in space so that you don’t hit something and crash your drone.
So before we get into the next section, i just want to go through a little discussion on exposure and overexposure and under exposure, because when you’re flying your drone and you’re taking control of your camera you’re going to have these issues where your footage is going to Be too bright or your footage is going to be too dark, so you could think of your exposure on a graph from 0 to 100. 0 is completely black and 100 is completely white, and typically, when you’re exposing your image, you want to make sure that you’re, somewhere in the middle and your footage isn’t exposing over 100 and it’s, not exposing below zero. Now there’s. Obviously, some specific use cases where you might overexpose parts your image or underexposed, but typically when you’re flying you’re going to want to have your exposure somewhere in the middle. Because when you bring that into your editing, software you’ll be able to color grade that. Whereas if you have footage that’s, overexposed, that’s, just completely bright white and a lot of times, this will happen with a sky. If you overexpose your sky, it just turns white and there’s no way to bring that exposure back. It’S lost and the same thing if you’re shooting in a darker scene and things are turning completely black there’s, no way to boost those shadows. And basically what will happen is if you do try to boost them. It’S going to get super noisy and it’s not going to look very good, so the goal when you’re flying your drone is to get the proper exposure where nothing is overexposed and nothing is too underexposed.
Let’S get into the next section, which is all about how you control your camera. So what i want to talk about is using auto exposure versus manual exposure and some of the things that you need to consider when you’re exposing your image when you’re out flying. So when you get a drone you’re going to have the ability to shoot fully autonomous or you can control your image and control all the different things like shutter speed, aperture iso, all of that now. The reason that you would want to take it off auto is that when you have your drone set to auto it’s going to fluctuate depending on what’s going on in the scene, if you have very consistent lighting and you’re flying in one direction, then the light might Not change, however, if you’re flying and you’re moving and the light is changing around the scene or the subject that you’re filming the exposure will also shift. Also, when you’re shooting auto you’re letting the camera decide what it thinks looks best, and you actually might not want it to be that specific exposure to get the look that you’re going after you’re going to want to play around with the manual settings or use some Different functions that come in drones to be able to lock in your exposure so that your footage is not constantly moving from brighter to darker to brighter to darker that kind of shift and exposure. Doesn’T, look very good and it’s, not very professional, and the goal with shooting any sort of video is to get the best look possible.
So i want to explain all the different things that you need to think about when it comes to setting your exposure manually and also how you can actually use the auto exposure to get the best look from your drone. So if you are going to use auto there’s two features that you can use to control your exposure. One of those is your exposure lock so on the dji drone, when you’re in the software in the lower right hand, corner there’s, usually a little lock icon and when you click this it’s going to lock in the exposure and what that does is basically, whatever the Camera sees at that moment it locks it and if you are to shift the direction of the camera towards the sun or towards something that’s dark, your exposure is not going to fluctuate and it’s not going to change. So you could just let the camera decide what it looks best and if you like, the way that it looks hit that lock button and then record your shot and that’s how you’ll get a consistent look without having to use manual controls. Now. The other feature that you want to use when you’re shooting in auto is your exposure compensation, your camera’s, going to look at the scene and decide what it thinks looks best in terms of your exposure and what you can do is bump that up brighter or darker Based on what you think looks good, so if you’re out shooting and your drone is consistently a little bit too bright, you’ll be able to bring down your exposure compensation by a little bit and you’re, basically telling the camera to expose that much darker than what it Thinks looks good so a lot of times when i’ve flown different drones in the past i’ve used the exposure compensation to bump it down to like a minus .
7, and that usually brings down the exposure just enough where you can actually get a good look out of This footage and it doesn’t look overexposed or too bright. One thing that i’ve noticed with just shooting auto in general with cameras is they tend to skew towards the brighter side. It depends on the make and the model, but with like dji drones, they’ve always been a little bit on the bright side, so i’ve always bumped it down to negative point three negative point: seven, potentially even one stop under what the camera thinks is proper exposure. So you can use your exposure compensation to find a good look out of the scene that you’re shooting and then lock in that exposure so that it doesn’t fluctuate now. Let’S dig into manual, so there’s. Three things that you’re going to be able to control with your drone, your shutter speed, your iso and your aperture. So when you flip your drone into manual depending on the drone that you have you’ll, have access to all three of those controls to figure out what looks best for the scene now, these three things that control your exposure are considered your exposure triangle – and this is With any camera, you use these three elements to be able to take control of your camera in manual to be able to expose properly for the scene now. Shutter speed is basically how long your sensor is exposing each frame, so video is made out of a certain number of frames per second and how long the shutter is open.
Exposing light to each of one of those frames is your shutter speed, so your shutter speed should be double that of your frame rate to get the cinematic hollywood look that’s like the standard across cinema, and it gives you the proper motion blur and motion blur is The little bit of blur that happens when you’re filming, however drones in general don’t, allow you to actually control your aperture. So you end up using your shutter speed to control how dark your image is, and what will happen is you’ll have to bump up your shutter speed to compensate if you’re shooting in like bright sunlight now, what happens when you bump up your shutter speed is that There is less motion blur, so every frame is going to be super sharp. Now, if you’re shooting photos. This is great you’re going to want to bump up your shutter speed, because when you’re shooting photos you’re not going to want motion blur, but if you’re shooting video and i’m typically mainly just shooting video with my drones, i want motion blur because it actually looks more Natural to the eye, when there is this motion blur in your footage now the second aspect of the exposure triangle is your aperture and your aperture controls. How much light is coming in through the lens, so think of it like a hose? If you have a very little amount of water coming through the hose that’s, a small aperture, whereas a wide open aperture would let a ton of water through a hose and it’s the same thing with light.
So when your aperture is wide open, it lets a ton of light into the sensor, which means that you have to use your iso and your shutter speed to be able to bring down your exposure. Now, drones in general have a fixed aperture lens, so they’re wide open, so you’re letting a ton of light into the sensor and you’re gon na have to compensate by dropping down your iso and really bumping up your shutter speed. So there are a few drones out there that do let you control the aperture and you’ll be able to use this to be able to bring down your exposure now. The third part of the exposure triangle is your iso and think of that, like your sensitivity of your sensor, the lower the iso, the darker, your image is going to be the higher the iso the brighter your image is going to be so your drone is going To go from somewhere, like 100 iso to 1600 to potentially 3200, but the thing you have to think about when it comes to iso, is that when you bump it into those higher numbers, you’re going to introduce more noise into your footage and your footage will get Super grainy looking so drones will have a limit on how high you can push your iso and depending on which drone you have and how big a sensor you have that limit will shift. So there are some drones out there that are better for low light situations and you’ll be able to shoot those higher isos.
But a lot of times the smaller drones, with the smaller sensors aren’t going to be that good for low light situations. So you’re going to want to keep your iso as low as possible in bright, sunlight you’ll, just shoot at the lowest that you possibly can in your drone, typically that’s 100 iso, but if it’s starting to get towards sunset you’re going to want to use your other Features that are in the drone to boost your exposure and you’re not necessarily going to want to boost the iso right away, because you don’t want to get super noisy. Looking footage. There are some drones out there that allow you to lock your shutter speed, iso or aperture, and what you could do instead of shooting fully autonomous, is lock your iso and your aperture and then let the camera control your shutter speed and let it fluctuate up and Down based on the lighting in the scene, you can do the same thing with iso and aperture on cameras that allow you to actually control the aperture, so it’s just going to take practice and doing some more flights and actually playing around with your manual controls to Find the best settings that work for the situation next section we’re going to get into is nd filters. So what is a neutral density filter? You could basically think of them as sunglasses for your camera. So you put the nd filter in front of your lens to bring down the exposure at its most basic level, that’s what an nd filter does.
So why would you want to use an nd filter? Well, basically, it allows you to bring down your shutter speed so that you can get doubled out of your frame rate and have proper motion blur. What we were talking about in the last section now not everyone, is going to care about getting motion blur in their footage and, if you’re new to flying and you’re just playing around it’s, really not that big of a deal to have a higher shutter speed, especially When you’re, first learning, adding an nd filter and adding motion blur into your footage is something that you want to do as you get better at flying your drone and you’re trying to get that more cinematic. Look, however, when i’ve gone out flying with different people who are newer to drone flying a lot of them will put on an nd filter just because it’s marketed as something you need to add to your drone to be able to get better. Looking footage and that’s. Not the case, an nd filter has a very specific use, it’s to bring down your exposure so that you can bring down your shutter speed so that you can get proper motion blur. So the issue with using nd filters is that you’re, basically putting sunglasses in front of your camera and if the light is darker, then you’re gon na have to boost your iso to compensate. And what will happen is you’ll, get noisier, footage and it’s.
Just not going to look as good and anytime. You put something in front of your lens there’s, a chance that you’ll change the color of the image and you might have some different artifacts based on the filter that you choose so for beginners. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend jumping into nd filters right away, and i know with newer drones, there’s packages coming with nd filters with the drone, but i would highly suggest learn to use your drone before you actually start using the nd filters, because you’re really going to have To take manual control of your footage to be able to get the most out of those nd filters. If you fly on auto there’s, no guarantee that you’ll get your shutter speed exactly where you need it to be to have the proper motion blur, and so you need to fly on manual when you’re using nd filters, so that you can set your shutter speed exactly Where it needs to be, which is double that of your frame rate, and then you add on the nd filter and play around with your aperture and your iso to get your exposure looking perfect. Now, what about a polarizer, because sometimes you’ll get an nd filter and sometimes you’ll get an nd with a polarizer or you might just use a polarizer as a standalone filter. Well, a polarizer basically reduces the amount of glare in your image. So if you’re shooting say a ocean, if you put a polarizer on it’s, going to reduce that glare, so you’re actually going to have more detail in the ocean waves and the whole scene.
So for when i’m flying, i typically use nd filters with a polarizer and that’s because a lot of times i’m in situations where there is reflective surfaces now the way nd filters come, is going to be in different stops of light and you’ll use. The lower stops of light for sunrise sunset, cloudy situations and you’ll use the higher stops of light for super bright sunny days now. The last thing that you’re going to encounter is nd filters that are veritable, which means that you could go from two stops of light up to four stops of light and they basically rotate to change the amount of exposure. So, instead of carrying a whole set of nd filters, you could carry one or two and then you’ll have nd filters that cover the entire range of situations that you might encounter Music. This next section is going to get into your camera color profiles so on your drone you’re, going to have different options for how you want your image to be exposed and how you want the color to come out when you’re, actually out filming. So the standard profile is going to have some contrast, it’s going to have some saturation and it’s going to just look good out of the box, but it’s not going to have a really distinct look to it. So there might be some other baked in look profiles on your drone, but the one that you really want to look at is your log profile now as a beginner, if you’re first starting flying, i just suggest using the standard, because out of camera it’s going to Look good, you could take the image from the drone edit it into a video and then it’s going to look good right away.
However, if you wanted to do some color grading and have more control over your exposure, you’re going to want to put it into a log profile, basically, a log profile is a flat profile. So there’s, not a ton of contrast. All of your exposures will be squished more towards the center and also there’s not going to be a lot of saturation, so your colors are going to look very muted now out of camera. These images don’t look that good, but what you can do with a log profile is color grade it and be able to get a better look out of your image. Now, when i fly i’m, always in a log profile, because with a few tweaks on the computer, you can get a much better. Looking image and later in this video i’ll go through how you actually color grade this footage and we’ll go through the steps that you’ll find in basically any editing software now there’s two tools that typically come on your drone to be able to judge your exposure, and This will help you see where your image is when you’re out flying. So one of those is a histogram. So, as i talked about earlier, your exposure values go from zero to a hundred zero being black and a hundred being pure white. Now, if you lay this out on a graph, it’s called a histogram and when you’re flying, you can put your histogram on your screen and be able to see all of your exposure values to make sure that you’re not over exposing parts of the image or under Exposing parts of the image, and so when you’re shooting in a log profile that you’ll want to have all of your exposures aiming towards somewhere in the middle.
And this gives you the room to be able to go into your color grading and stretch those out to give you that contrast and still be able to maintain your highlights and give you a good look in the darker parts of your image. Now the other tool that often comes in your drones is an overexposure warning. This is something you’ll find in all of dji’s drones when you turn this on it’s, going to tell you on the screen, what parts of your image are overexposing, so you’ll use these two tools in combination to make sure that you’re not over exposing your image, and You could get the best look out of every scene that you’re flying in now. One last thing i want to talk about in this section is 10 bit versus 8 bit. More professional drones will be able to shoot in 10 bit, but a lot of the cheaper drones and the more beginner drones are going to be only flying in 8 bit and 8 bit versus 10 bit is basically the amount of information that’s being stored. So a 10 bit image is going to be easier, manipulated in post and you can do more with color grading than say an 8 bit image. So as a beginner, you might want to just start with a standard profile and just work with that create some videos. But as you get better with flying your drone and you want to get more cinematic, looking footage, then you’re going to want to put it into the log setting and do some color grading in post.
So last thing we need to talk about is white balance. So, just as your exposure could fluctuate your white balance, which is the color of your image and basically our eye auto adjusts based on the lighting situation that we’re in but your camera, it has to adjust the sensor based on whether you’re using daylight or tungsten lighting And tungsten lining down in like 3200 kelvin range is gon na, be more orange and then daylight 5600 is gon na be more blue, so you could set your white balance automatically and just let the drone decide what situation looks the best or you can set it Manually now, typically, when you’re flying a drone you’re outside and the color is not really going to shift, so you could use auto and the majority of the time it is going to look fine. However, if you’re in a situation with changing light, you might want to set it on manual and if your white balance is set to the incorrect temperature, then you’re going to have a color cast on your image. So if you’re shooting a sunrise and your color temperature is set too high, everything is going to look way too orange and vice versa, if you’re shooting in bright daylight, but your color temperature is set really low, then everything’s going to look super blue and what you’re Setting when you’re setting your color temperature is what the white point is. So if you held a white sheet of paper and you’re shooting in bright daylight, you’d have to set it to 5600 for that white to be white.
So you’re gon na adjust your white balance depending on the situation that you’re in and as a beginner leave it on auto nine times out of ten. The white balance is fine when you leave it to auto. However, these drones do allow you to set it manually and if there is any situation where you do see your colors fluctuating, then you’ll want to go in and actually change that and set that yourself. So it doesn’t have any sort of fluctuation from one color cast to another, because the biggest issue is when the color changes you’re going to have to color grade to fix that and it’s not an easy fix. When the color is shifting from more orange to more blue now, let’s get into two different types of motion that you can capture using your drone. So your drone itself will fly through the air and have motion and you’ll also have objects within your frame. That will be moving through and creating motion and you’re gon na either use each one of these independently or a combination of the both to add motion into your footage. The cool thing about a drone when it comes to filmmaking is you can create these really cinematic. Looking images by having this kind of motion happening through your video, so when it comes to motion, this is something that you should consider. Do you want to have your drone moving or do you want to have objects in your frame moving or do you want them? Working together and sometimes you’ll choose one way or the other, it just depends on the scene and what you’re shooting now the main type of movement that you’re going to use with your drone is your drone flying through the air and capturing the scene.
So just a beautiful landscape as great as a tripod shot where it’s just looking at the scene but using a drone is you could fly through that scene and actually create motion and that’s. What gives it that cinematic quality, because you’re having this motion happening in the scene and it’s fluid and it’s smooth another type of motion that you’re going to encounter all the time is the follow and that’s. When you have a subject in your frame now to achieve this, you’ll have your drone flying at the same speed as the object that you’re following and you’ll try to maintain the exact same distance, the entire time. This allows the object to stay the same size and distance from the camera and you’re following it through the scene. Now you could also have conflicting action, and this is where the object is moving at a different pace than the drone, and so the object could be moving faster away or it could be going. The other direction where the object is coming at the drone and then the drone flies over that object. Now you could also follow from the side or from the front, but the cool thing about being able to follow a subject is that you’re? Getting this different perspective? Where you’re way up in the sky and you’re able to see more of the surrounding areas than if you were close to the ground near the object now, another really cool thing that you can do with motion is the reveal.
The reveal is a great way to add some motion into your scene and it’s, a good storytelling technique. Now with motion there’s different speeds that you can set your drone on dji drones. You can go from super slow to normal to super fast. So if you’re low and slow it’s going to feel completely different than if you’re low and super fast moving quickly across the big open landscape that you’re in now, when it comes to flying your drone, whenever i take off, i usually put it in the fast sport Mode and get to location where i want to film so that i’m not wasting batteries trying to get to the beginning of the shot. Now i’ll use the sport mode, sometimes for filming, but i’ll also flip it into the super slow mode to get those slow. Looking shots, and sometimes i might use the normal mode because i don’t need it super slow, but i don’t need it super fast and really it comes down to what is it that you’re filming and what speed do you need to convey that story and story is Going to be the most important thing when it comes to creating engaging videos, because creating videos where it’s just a bunch of shots put together is great, but at a certain point, you’re going to want to start interjecting some story into your video, so that you can Tell a progression from beginning to end and there’s some reason for the drone shots that you’re capturing so to boil it down.
When it comes to motion with your drone, you need to think you’re drone moving versus a subject moving and how you can combine those and then what speed do you want to put that at to be able to capture the scene? Alright, so let’s talk about shot size and perspective because when you’re flying the your drone can get super high in the sky and it could also get super close to objects and it could shoot an object that’s really far away or it could shoot an object. That’S really close, you have a ton of flexibility when you’re flying your drone and that’s the beauty of a drone. This thing can go pretty much anywhere as long as it’s not going to like hit a tree or something so you’re going to want to be thinking about your shot size and your perspective whenever you’re out flying and a few key things you want to think about. Is how low to the ground do you want to be for the shot that you’re trying to capture? Do you want to see the big, far landscape in every direction, or do you want to be down low and capturing more movement on the ground? The thing that happens with drones is when you get really high in the sky: you’re not going to see a whole lot of motion, and so the drone, even if you’re flying at fast speeds the ground’s not going to be moving very fast.
Whereas when you get super low to the ground, the ground will look like it’s moving much faster, so your height is going to change. How much motion is happening in the scene, so when i’m out flying a lot of times? What i do is, i have to drone lower to the ground once in a while. Yes, i’ll put it way up in the sky to get that big expansive landscape but i’m, not going to use that very often because typically i’ll be lower to the ground, which allows you to play more with your motion and you’ll be able to see things moving Through your frame much faster now, the other thing you have to think about when it comes to your perspective is where’s. The camera pointed because, yes, your camera can be pointed straight out where the horizon’s level, but the cool thing about drones, is you can point the camera straight down, so getting that top down perspective gives you a completely different. Look that you actually can’t get with any other camera out there and it’s a unique perspective, and you want to use your camera to get those top down shots so that you can capture the scene in a completely different way. Now, when it comes to composition, there is a ton to talk about in terms of filmmaking, but i want to talk about a few key things that you should consider when you’re flying number one is rule of thirds.
So basically, if you cut your image into three sections, where the two sections meet is a line and that’s where you should put your horizon or a subject. So when you’re, so when you’re looking out over a landscape, you’ll, either want to show more sky or you’ll want to show more land, and you use your horizon on one of those thirds, and it will give you a more pleasing shot than if it was dead. Center and when also when you’re filming a subject, you don’t necessarily always want to film it dead center you’ll want to put it on one of the thirds and it gives it a more pleasing composition. Another now another composition, technique that you can use is leading lines, and this is great from a drone’s perspective, because you get to see all those lines from up in the sky. So what leading lines is basically a point on the horizon that all of the lines lead to and you want to center the camera in a way where all the lines lead to that singular point. Another great composition technique that works well with drones is isolation. So you might have a subject by itself and this vast landscape around it. One of the cool things about drones is you: do get this different perspective where you can get high in the sky and be able to show the vast landscape now, one other cool way to compose your shots is to show patterns or textures.
When you get that top down shot like, i was saying earlier, it’s a unique perspective and you can see the patterns and the textures that happen on the earth or with the different things that you’re flying around and it’s, something that you should try and capture. Now. There’S, a ton that we can go into when it comes to composition, but i just wanted to go over some of the basics of things that you’ll encounter when you’re out flying and, as you become a better flyer and you want to capture more stylized shots. I highly suggest digging more into different composition: ideas for your footage: Music let’s talk about time of day, because when you shoot your footage is going to have a huge impact on how it looks. Typically, you want to shoot closer to sunrise or sunset, that’s called golden hour and you’re going to get the best looking light early in the morning or late at night. This is when you’ll have those super vibrant colors and the light is low in the sky. So you have longer shadows and more contrast in your scene and in contrast, when you’re shooting midday and the sun’s right overhead you’re going to have little to no contrast and everything’s just going to be super washed out with lighting. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t shoot in the middle of the day, depending on your situation. That might be the best time to shoot and you’ll just want to use the light that you have at your disposal to capture the scene and make it look.
The best, so one of the rules that i always use is try to add contrast in my frame. So what that means is i try not to shoot from the side of where the sun is hitting my subject. I try to shoot at 90 degrees where the sun is off to the side or on the other side of the subject where the sun is behind, maybe a little bit higher in the sky, so it’s, not in my frame but i’m. Getting that contrast in my shot, because when you shoot in the direction from where the sun is hitting, everything just looks bright and washed out and doesn’t really have that cinematic quality to it. So this shot was done at the same time of day, but two different sides of the same subject, and you could see how the contrast, change and the entire look of the image changes. Just from the perspective of where you put your drone in relation to the sun, now another rule that i typically follow is don’t. Put the sun directly in the image now there’s. Definitely some situations where it might make sense to put the sun in frame, but majority of the time if your sun is somewhere in the frame it’s going to blow out and be super bright and overexposed it’s, not to say that it doesn’t look good in some Situations, but if you can avoid it by just shifting the drone slightly, you might have a better looking image that is not overexposing in part of the sky.
So if i can control the time of day that i’m going to film and how i’m going to film that scene, i’ll typically shoot close to sunset or sunrise and then i’ll use an nd filter to be able to get my shutter speed down to double that Of my frame rate and use a low iso, so i’m gon na use a combination of all the different things that we’ve talked about in this video up. Until this point to be able to get the best look at the time of day where the sun is gon na look the best, we have those nice long shadows and we have those beautiful colors in the sky, Music. All right, let’s dig into color grading and, if you’re going to be shooting in log you’re going to need to have a basic understanding of how you do color grading. So you can get the best look out of your drone now i’m, not going to go into super detailed, advanced all the different things you can learn about color grading, but i do want to go over just the basics and what you want to do when you’re Color grading is two things. One is get your exposure looking good and then two make sure the color looks good and i’ll show you how you can change your color slightly to give a different feeling to your image. Now most color grading software comes with the same types of tools and what you want to start with is your exposure now to actually see your exposure on a graph you’re going to use a scope called a waveform, and what this is is all your exposures from 0 to 100, just like we were talking about in previous parts of this video, and this is actually going to show you where all your exposures are sitting.
So one of the tools that i typically use is my color wheels and you’ll have a master color wheel. A highlights a mid tones and a shadows, and basically each one of these color wheels affects a different part of the image. So you can use the master to change the overall look of your image or you could use your highlights, mids or shadows to affect just that aspect. So when you’re working with a log image, you need to create contrast, which means bringing down your shadows towards zero and bringing up your highlights towards 100, and then you can shift your mid tones based on what the image looks like. Typically, what i like to do is bring down my mid tones, bring up my highlights so they’re getting closer to 100, but not all the way up there, because we don’t want to overexpose and then i’ll bring my shadows down depending on the scene and sometimes i’ll Have more contrast by adding more shadows or sometimes i’ll bring them up? If i want my shadows, a little bit more muted now, just doing those simple steps gives you better looking contrast and the image looks great, it just doesn’t have any saturation so from here. You’Ll boost your saturation and you can do that the same way by boosting your highlights, mid tones or shadows, or you can use your master and just boost the saturation of the overall image. These simple tweaks will give you a good looking image from your log footage.
Now, what if you want to take this a step further and actually change the color of say the water or the sky? Well, you can pull up your hue and saturation curves and i use final cut. So what i do in final cut is: i can use my eye dropper tool, select part of the image that i want to change. It’S going to give me three points on my hue and saturation curve and i can adjust those points specifically to change the certain color of that part of the image. So a common look in filmmaking is the orange teal look and you’re going to achieve that by adjusting the orange parts of the image and the more yellows and the reds parts of the image so i’ll grab my blues, the water and the sky and i’ll make It a little bit more teal and then i’ll grab the yellows and the reds and i’ll push those more into the reds. And just with that simple tweak to the colors. You now have more of an orange teal. Look so by shooting in log and doing a few simple, tweaks and color grading. You can really change your image. Now. Let’S talk about luts for a little bit because beyond just doing this manually, you can add presets onto your footage that will give you. These cinematic looks so there’s two types of luts there’s going to be what’s called a conversion lut and then there’s a creative light.
So the conversion lut basically will take your log footage and do all the exposure and the saturation adjustments so that it looks good ready to just put out there and it’s, basically going to add contrast and give you saturation and bring your footage up to what is Considered standard now, if you want to take that a step further, you can add on a creative lut and there’s hundreds and thousands of creative luts out there that you can add. But what you don’t want to do is just slap on a creative lut and be done because, if you do that it doesn’t always give you the best results. So you can use a combination of playing around with your exposure, adjustments, your saturation and add on a lut, and then you can change the lut’s opacity. So how strong that lut is from 0 to 100 and then you can create a look based off that. So, typically, what i’ll do, if i’m using a lut, is i’ll, bring it down to 70 or 50 so that i have some of the effect of the alert. But then i also change a little bit in my exposures and my saturation and my hues to tweak it a little bit further and make it look that much better, so there’s a lot that you can do with changing the look of your footage and if it’s, Something that you really enjoy doing, then i highly suggest digging deeper into color grading and learning all of the color grading tools that are available to you and take complete control of your image.
To get the look that you want out of every shot Music. Let’S talk about music and pacing of your videos, so where do you find music? And what do you use for your music personally, because i don’t want any of my videos to get flagged for copyright infringement. I use a service like epidemic, sound music bed, art list or soundstripe. Now these services allow you to use your music on any platform without getting a takedown notice or a copyright infringement. So how i find music is based on what it is that i’m shooting the story and we’ll talk about story in the next section. But basically you want to match your story with the type of music. So if you’re going to be cutting with longer drawn out shots, you might want a slower cinematic sounding style of music, whereas if you want to cut with more energy and things are happening, faster, you’re going shot to shot, shot shot, you’re going to want music. That has a lot more energy to it, something that has a beat so let’s just do a quick demonstration of how i’d find a track based on what it is that i’m filming so here’s some shots from a video i did where i was over landing with My buddy on the pony express now there’s a few different feelings. I was trying to capture when i made this video. Some of them were slower, subdued trying to just take in the surrounding nature and then some of them.
I wanted to add some suspense because we were on a time crunch, so let’s go into epidemic. Sound and let’s find a few tracks for this video. So in epidemic sound you can sort by featured genres. Moods albums. All of these different music agencies will give you this ability to be able to sort by different metrics, so i’m, going to go by mood and i’ll go into sentimental and let’s. Add euphoric so i’m trying to find the mood that’s going to match the scene. That i’m shooting all right, that’s, something that we could use, that has more of that ambient feel to it, and what you could do from here is once you find one track. That sounds good for this kind of video that you’re creating you could go into finding similar tracks and epidemic. Sound. Has this feature where you can find similar tracks to the track that you like and it’s, going to pull up a whole list of different tracks that are similar and you could see how they’re categorized, so some of them are dreamy laid back. Some of them are hopeful. Some of them are sad. You could have small emotions, small drama, ambient there’s, all these different descriptors and i think, when you’re digging into these music platforms. Finding tracks sometimes is a little bit overwhelming. But what you want to do is just start listing through and finding the feeling that you’re trying to capture and then you’ll find different artists that are making tracks for that style of music.
While also finding the types of tags that that music service uses to be able to categorize their music, so it just takes digging into these platforms and finding the best tracks that works for the type of video that you’re creating. Now. One other thing that you want to think about when it comes to music is sound effects, so is there anything happening in your scene that will benefit from adding a little bit of sound design underneath it so, for example, if you’re flying over the ocean? If you add some ocean sound effects, how is that going to change the feeling of the scene it’s going to completely change the feeling of that scene, because it’s going to capture more of what’s happening on screen? So if there’s birds flying through you could add some bird sounds or if there’s a car, you could add the sounds of a car. You want to start playing around with your sound design and start finding different, sound effects that will match things that are happening in your frame and it’s going to create more of an engaging video. When you add some music and sound effects together on top of the visuals that you’re capturing so epidemic, sound is one that has a sound effect library as well as also a music library, and i know a lot of the other music platforms also have sound effect. Libraries so definitely dig into those and use sound effects in your drone shots, while you’re creating your edits.
Now, if you want to try out epidemic, sound or music bed or art list, i’ll put some links down below in the description to where you can do some free trials for those and start playing around with the different music platforms. The next section is all about storytelling, and if you want to dig into really detailed storytelling techniques, i’ll include a playlist down below in the description that’s to all of my storytelling. Videos and story is going to help connect your audience with the content that you’re creating. If you’re just shooting beautiful visuals of a scene, that’s great, and if you cut that, together with some music and some sound effects and some color grading, it will look pretty but it’s not going to fully capture your audience’s attention as much as a story will and Not everything that you shoot is gon na. Have a story around it. However, if you are shooting a scene where there are some story, elements happening, you’ll want to capture that to be able to create some movement from beginning to the middle, to the end of what it is that’s actually happening in the scene, rather than just putting the Drone up and capturing the scene from a wide shot, so when you’re going out flying, is there something happening in the scene that is leading to something else? So, for example, if you’re out hiking and you’re capturing some of that with the drone, where are you going? Where are you starting and what’s the reveal at the end? What happens when you get to the end of the trail, and you can combine all these elements together with the drone footage that you’re capturing to tell a short little visual story so here’s, just a quick example of an edit.
I did with some drone footage from a hike Music all right, just made it to the spot, where i need to drop my bike off the last little bit is just this walk up the trail, the fire hut just above Music, Applause, Music, so Music, Music, Music. So in this example, i shot a bunch of different perspectives and the final reveal was this fire lookout on top of the peak, so i shot a sequence where you can see me going up towards this fire lookout. You don’t actually know exactly where you’re at what’s going on and then the big reveal happens and you can see all the surrounding area it’s a quick sequence of shots, but using a drone in this way will help capture your story. So if you have a subject, you want to think what’s happening at the beginning, how that subject is going to move through the scene and what’s? The big reveal at the end, and the cool thing about drones, is that you can use it for these big reveals, where you see everything around now, when you’re, making a video and you’re using your drone footage in conjunction with other types of cameras, there’s different things That you can do to use your drone footage to help tell the bigger story, so one of those is opening and closing shots. So when you get into a new scene, you can use your drone to set up where you’re at by getting that bigger perspective and the same thing.
If you’re leaving a scene and you’re moving on to something else, you can use the drone shot as that final shot, to show the scene before you transition into the next scene. Now you can also use your drone shots for transitions a lot of times. This is a great tool because you can move the story ahead by doing a quick drone shot, showing the perspective, showing some action happening and now you’re in the next scene. Another way that you could use your drone and storytelling is to create some suspense. So something might be happening and your drone shot won’t be actually fully revealing what’s happening until later in that shot, when the drone goes up and over, and you actually see the full scene and, like i was saying earlier, it gives you that completely different perspective. So in your videos, it helps you gain a bigger perspective and you can see the surrounding areas much better than every other camera that you’re going to be working with.