Welcome to YuneecPilots.com!

Sign up and join the fastest growing Yuneec drone community.

Fred's Tips

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by OregonDrone, May 8, 2016.

  1. OregonDrone

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2016
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    60
    Hello everyone! I thought I'd start a thread to help all those just getting started. Many of these tips can be applied to your other video/photography also. So here we go...

    Tip #1 - Light is everything! All the photos and video you take are dependent on some sort of light source. When I think about lighting, I first divide it into two groups, natural lighting vs. studio lighting. Now of course there are many variations like using fill-flash or windows but I'm referring to what is used for the key light.

    Since we fly outdoors I'll obviously be addressing the natural light source otherwise known as "the sun". Usually the best lighting occurs at sunrise and sunset. This is for a number of reasons. One is the warmth of the light. As the sun rays are forced to travel through more of our atmosphere the blue spectrum is absorbed while the yellow/red spectrum is able to penetrate further. That's why sunsets are red.

    The second reason has to do with contrast and form. For us to see shapes as shapes, they need to have some sort of volume. Think of a large tree. When the sun is directly over-head everything has a sort of 2D look. When the light is low in the sky one side the tree will be lit and the other will be in the shade. This contrast is what gives the trees volume to look 3D. The contrast also adds interest to your photos and videos.

    You can't control the sun but you can control your alarm clock. I love sunrise shoots for a couple of reasons. One is the wind is usually calmer. In many places the windiest times are in the late afternoons. I live in the windiest place on earth so I have to constantly watch the weather. I set my alarm clock to wake up before sunrise. My goal is to be screwing on props in the dark using a flashlight. Then I'll finish my coffee while I think about my flight paths.

    I always set my white balance to cloudy to give my video that warm feeling. I'll launch right before the sun peaks it's head above the mountains. I've always had my best shots early or late in the day.

    True story...A few weeks ago I did a sunrise session at Rowena Overlook. I arrived in the dark and there was already a couple of pros setting up. We all shot for a couple of hours. The sunrise was insane! When the light was gone we all started packing up. About that time all the amateurs started showing up. One group walked past with $5000 cameras and carbon fiber tripods. I just had to laugh...

    Stay tuned for more tips!
     
    #1 OregonDrone, May 8, 2016
    Last edited: May 12, 2016
  2. Mortalis

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    266
    Likes Received:
    74
    Location:
    Gateway to Cape Cod
    Thanks for this first tip.
    You should try to make it a weekly item and perhaps get one of the mods to create a sticky. I always look forward to tips from others.
     
  3. louisiana Drone Boy

    Joined:
    May 9, 2016
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thank you for tip..got a question..i purchased a q500 from a friend and he leaves his battery in his drine while sitting up..im new to the q500 can i leave it or take it out
     
  4. OregonDrone

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2016
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    60
    You can leave your battery in while setting up. I don't leave my battery in overnight though. I usually charge it when I first get home then leave it in the case until I fly next.
     
  5. OregonDrone

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2016
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    60
    Tip #2 - Slow and Low that is the tempo... The Beastie Boys must have flown drones when they wrote those famous words. The first thing you need to do today is go to YouTube and watch a bunch of drone videos. Notice which ones stand out and ask yourself what makes you like them? After about twenty videos you'll start to see a pattern. You'll notice that some of the videos are interesting and some are boring. Why is that? Shouldn't all drone videos be great?

    Many times the quality of the video has less to do with subject matter and more to do with how it's shot. So let's talk a little about what works and what doesn't. With video it's all about motion. If you don't have motion, you don't have video, you have a photograph. To imply motion you need things to move. That means flying next to objects like trees, bushes, water, ground, etc... When you fly high you loose all feeling of motion. Think about when you fly in a jet, it doesn't even seem like your moving.

    It's okay to park your drone if your subject is moving but boring if it's not. You need to be moving if your subject isn't. Basically, something has to be moving.

    When you fly close to objects it's easy to go zipping by too fast. The closer you are to the subject the slower you need to fly. Many times I'll do multiple fly-byes at different speeds and pick the best one later.

    So next time you fly, play the Beastie Boys, Slow and Low on the drive out.
     
    W Scott Leigh likes this.
  6. Air One

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2016
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    19
    Great TIPS, they will be a benefit to a lot of people , myself being one. Thank you
     
  7. Fletcher

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Truer words were never spoken. There needs to be some motion or it isn't video. Also arcing around an object or even circling it fully gives a chance to fully examine it.
     
  8. OregonDrone

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2016
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    60
    Tip #3 - Composition, one of the most important concepts in art. When I think I composition I think about how I want to lead the viewer's eye through my work. I'll use things like contrast, shape and line to make my composition interesting. The horizon of your video creates both line and shape. When you put the horizon right in the center it creates a sort of "Bulls-eye" effect keeping the viewers eye's glued to the center of the image. So what do you do if you want to make your composition more interesting?

    That's where the "Rule of Thirds" comes in. Artists have been using this basic composition technique for centuries and for a good reason, it works. All it takes is moving your horizon up or down to improve your composition. With a drone we can't point our cameras up as the props will get in the shot. So we are limited to breaking the rules or panning the camera down a few degrees.

    So unless the sky is the subject, you're really better off tilting the camera down until the sky takes up about a third of the frame. Try it for yourself and see if I'm right or not. Remember, rules are made to be broken!

    If you do have a subject you are shooting try to keep the rule of thirds in the back of your mind. Don't center the skateboarder, surfer, SUPer, etc... keep them towards one side. Have them pointing towards the center of the screen, so they are going into the scene, not leaving it. Try to leave plenty of room in front of your moving subjects.
     
    W Scott Leigh likes this.
  9. OregonDrone

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2016
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    60
    Tip #4 - Flight Patterns - We already discussed the advantages of keeping your drone low and slow. Today we will talk about setting up flight paths.

    The big advantage of a drone is we can fly where no one else can go. You need to use that to your advantage. Helicopters can't fly two inches away from trees. Sliders and booms are limited by their reach. Most videographers can pan, tilt, zoom and slide but they can't fly. So when you think about your flight path, think about how you can make it special. What can you do with the drone that no one else can do.

    Setting up a flight path is as simple as going from point A to B. The question is where is point A and where is point B. For us those points are somewhere up in the sky. Some types of drone moves look better than others. Today we'll concentrate on what aerial moves produce the best video.

    Basic flight paths:
    • Left to right (or right to left)
    • Forward/back
    • Up/down

    Any of these basic paths can be combined for more complex shots. I consider Pan and Tilt as part of the camera movements, not flight paths.

    When I get to my location I'm looking at a couple of things right away. Where is my light and what are my subjects. Let's say I have the sun to my left and a mountain directly ahead of me. I'll set up my shots to go from left to right with the mountain in the shot. Then I'll get as low as possible and go straight up as high as I can. I always throw in a couple of low passes heading directly towards the mountain. Every movement is thought out before I do it. I usually will try both directions at different speeds and see what works best.

    Once I get my series of shots I'll turn my drone towards the sun and do the same thing. I try to mix up the direction of the light with my flight paths so I have a lot of different footage when I get home. I'll usually shoot three batteries for a total flight time of about an hour. I consider it a success if I get just one minute of usable footage from a single session.

    Things to avoid:
    • Panning without movement
    • Tilting without movement
    • Speed

    Panning - Climbing to altitude and panning left and right is boring. In fact I'm hard pressed to find a time that panning is more interesting than flying. If you circle your subject that's okay but what you don't want is something that looks like some guy standing on an overlook with his tripod. Panning can look very mechanical with a drone. If you do pan on a fly-bye then ease-in slowly and when you stop, ease-out as slow as you can. Think smooth motion. A smooth pan while you're flying is art.

    Tilting - a lot like panning. It looks good when you are climbing or descending but you have to have smooth and slow camera movements. That can be tricky when your trying to fly the drone at the same time. Try this move...point your camera straight down. Take off and as you climb slowly bring the gimbal up to about 2/3. If you time everything right it's a great shot.

    Speed kills (your shot)...

    Advanced flight paths:
    • Reveal
    • Establishing Shot

    Reveal - Let's say you start off below a group of trees and as you rise you reveal the mountains and golf course in the background. That's called a "Reveal". You can use houses, trees, etc... to block the subject matter. It's not just objects that can reveal cool stuff. You can fly off cliffs or waterfalls revealing a dramatic drop-off. As long as you understand the concept the sky's the limit to what you can do.

    Establishing Shot - The name says it all, it establishes the locale of the action. Aerial is king here! The goal is to let the viewer know where you're at.

    There's a lot more to flight paths than what's written here but this will get you started on the right "flight path".
     
    #9 OregonDrone, May 12, 2016
    Last edited: May 12, 2016
    Cilent1 likes this.