• Michael Vincent

Mind Your Drone Business

It used to be that if you wanted an aerial photo, you would have to contract a helicopter pilot and a cameraman to grab that image you wanted from up above.  Since the introduction of the drone for sale to your everyday consumer, obtaining this type of footage is a lot more feasible. But besides a cool flying gadget to impress your friends on social media, what are the applications that can really make a difference in a video or photography project for your business?

Drone Photo Captured in Jersey City, NJ

I try encorporating drone footage into everything I do, including introductions for educational videos of surroundings, prestigious shots for wedding and event videos, documentaries, and promotional videos for businesses.  The drone is very sensitive to movement so you have to operate it very slowly to get a cinematic look which takes a soft touch and careful planning.  Batteries typically last anyhwere from 15-25 minutes of flight, and you can operate a drone up to 1/2 mile away from takeoff point and up to 400 ft high, legally. There are so many opportunities to encorporate drone footage into any kind of video.  The key is creativity!

The Dock at Bahr's Landing - Highlands, NJ

Some applications for drone photography and videography are:

Aerial Shots for Your Business


Real Estate

Construction Progress / Building Planning

Photographing Large Scale Murals

Adding Flare to Documentaries

Photos Taken Over Water

Group Photos

Introduction B-Roll

Endless Possibilities!

The drone can also be very useful for cinematic shots where you would normally have to set up a slider or a track system with a tripod to get the footage you want from a traditional video camera or SLR- even from eye level.  The drone (at least the one I have) has an awesome gimbal which eliminates shakes and can roll up and down and can be incorporated with the quad copters to pan left and right, or to raise the elevation.  Just because you own a drone, it doesn't mean you are going to be able to get this type of shot.  It takes a lot of practice to operate in cinematic fashion, while avoiding obstacles and paying attention to exposure and focus.

Here's a shot of some photographers checking out the surf at the Belmar Pro on the beach during the competition.

It is important to keep an eye out for other drone and camera operators during events like this.

This is one of the group photos I took for the ZTA sorority on the beach in Asbury Park, NJ.  

This was part of a photo shoot and video produced to help them gain members for their sorority.

I use the Mavic Pro quadcopter manufactured by DJI.  Here are some tips for setting up your drone and what you can do to capture some cinematic shots:

  • I was told by the salesman who sold me this NOT to upgrade the firmware on the drone itself.  You can upgrade the app on your mobile device when possible, but there is apparently problems that can occur with the firmware upgrade such as flying restrictions in certain areas and overall bugs.

  • Be careful to make sure you remove the gimbal stabilizer before you turn the drone on.  If you don't, you risk stressing the motor which controls the gimbal which can ruin your drone completely.

  • Check your surroundings.  To avoid obstacles which the automatic sensors may not detect, never let the drone out of your sight while operating.  It's tempting in some cases to rely solely on your monitor which you may be controlling from your mobile device or tablet, but most drones don't have sensors on all sides, and obstacles such as power lines often go undetected and can result in a crash and or damage to your machine.

Capturing Wedding Videography Over a Lake
  • For cinematic shots, there are a few things you can do.  Out of the box, the machine controls are pretty sensitive.    You can turn down the sensitivity for the yaw, pitch, and roll so that the function acts a lot smoother. Also, try these modes: cinematic and tripod modes.  Cinematic mode will slow down the aircraft controls and reduce sensitivy even more, making it easier to pan, raise or lower, or fly slower and smoother.  Tripod mode can be activated to keep the aircraft as still as possible, but it still works if try and move the aircraft.  You can use this for a time lapse shot if you hold the drive control up or down completely, your aircraft will still fly forwards or backwards, but very slow and steady.

  • Try flying your aircraft in one direction holding one of the controls steady, then hold another control steady like the pan or roll function for a nice cinematic shot.

  • Always check exposure in an area where your monitor is not in direct view of the sun to get a better look at your shot.

What sort of application could you use drone photography or videography to help grow your business and create a fresh new look for your social media or website?  Please contact us with your ideas!  

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