Are you considering drone videography for your wedding? You've seen the Youtube videos. You've read about it on a blog, but still you have questions with regards to the real purpose, relevance, and benefit of drone videography or aerial cinematography. It can indeed be daunting when it comes to deciding whether or not a drone is really needed to cover a wedding.
The second question is a bit more puzzling: is it worth the hefty price?
The third question will leave you wondering: Should you get help from a seasoned videographer or do it yourself? Sounds chaotic? Well, it really isn’t!
Read on to know the best drone videography tips to consider, or what to look for in a wedding drone videographer for that special day!
What is drone videography?
Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that are equipped with high-resolution cameras. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say they’re eyes in the sky!
Drone videography takes the practice of filming wedding video from several hundreds of feet in the air as a hovering drone, capturing the ceremony in all its glory. Drones are operated by an on-ground operator who is able to see a live preview of the camera feed as it is being shot.
A drone makes it very convenient to shoot the main wedding ceremony in its entirety since it shoots from a high altitude. Add to that the variety of cinematic movements possible with an aerial camera and you’ll know why the possibilities are literally endless. There’s no end to creativity when shooting with a drone.
Drones are thus like unmanned helicopters hovering above the wedding venue obtaining beautiful aerial videos and photos as you’ve never seen them before!
The Best Drones for Aerial Cinematography
There are several makes of drones available in the market today.
The prices vary widely depending on the feature set, the imaging sensor, the filming resolution, the support, and stabilization system the drone comes equipped with, the battery, the number of mounted cameras, etc.
Despite the bewildering number and types of models available in the market today, few stand out as prominently as the DJI Phantom 4 that serves most purposes.
If you’re planning to purchase a drone yourself, and wish to delve into the art of aerial cinematography deeply, prefer a premium model that comes with interchangeable lens functionality and dual operation support, wherein one individual simply flies the drone while another handles the filming.
Raw cinema functionality is another premium feature available on top of the line drones. These offer much more flexibility when it comes to post-production and color grading later in the editing pipeline.
A DJI Phantom 4 costs around $1399. If you can afford it, get the DJI Inspire 2, which is the best model in the market with raw cinema filming support and video capture at a whopping 5.2K resolution. The model costs around $6198.
At the lower end of the spectrum is the DJI Phantom 3 Standard model, costing $499. This model is best suited to drone operators just starting out.
Is it worth buying a drone yourself?
As is clearly evident from the above costs, drones are expensive devices that can easily burn a hole in your pocket. But the expenditure doesn’t end here!
Add to the drone costs, the licensing costs for flying a drone in a posh area such as New York can be prohibitive. The regulations require all but the smallest drones to be registered before they can be used. Several rules apply to drone use to ensure safe handling and use.
The time you invest in learning the nuances of aerial filming is another figurative cost.
Carefully evaluate whether getting your own drone is indeed worth all time, effort, and hard-earned money before you make the decision. Aerial videography can be an expensive affair if sought unplanned and unprepared.
If you’re in for buying a new drone, consider all the pros and cons for it is undoubtedly exciting owning a new pro flying camera but remember, this is an art that takes years to master apart from being very taxing on your pocket!
In most cases, hiring a professional might be a better option. If you’re planning to hire a professional drone operator, make sure you check their drone specs to ensure you get the desired functionality.
Cost of Hiring a Professional Drone Videographer
A professional drone filmmaker can either charge a flat fee or a per hour rate for lending his magical skills to your wedding video. A videographer can charge based on his expertise and skill level.
At 2Bridges, we offer an affordable price of $400 for up to 4 hours of filming for a 2-5 minute video, depending on the type cinematography.
Drone operators and videographers can also charge based on the drone models you require, should you have specific preferences. There are several drones to choose from.
One, in fact, to suit every need: DJI Phantom 3 (budget aerial cinematography), Inspire 1 Pro (records raw video, ideal for beautiful special effects), Panasonic GH4 equipped drones, etc.
Drones today can record in varying high resolutions: High Definition (HD), 4K, or even 6K! If you have the budget, you can even opt a 360° Virtual Reality equipped drone that captures beautiful, 360° by 180° field of view.
Consult with your drone cinematographer before you commence the shoot. Show him around the venue and mutually decide upon the best equipment that will serve the purpose.
Every wedding is unique and needs a unique filming treatment to ensure it is best documented in all its beauty!
How a Drone Can Make Your Wedding Videos Cinematic
Let’s face it.
A film shot entirely from the ground level tends to quickly get boring for the simple reason that it lacks perspective. A cinematographic perspective can transform an ordinary to the eye event into a breathtaking scene of awe-inspiring beauty!
A drone views the entire wedding ceremony and backdrop from several hundreds of feet above, and believe us, dramatically alters the perspective. Even otherwise dull looking scenes look great when (skillfully) shot on drone cameras! Such is the power of aerial videography.
If you are looking forward to making cinematic wedding videos, look no further than a drone for this one piece of equipment can radically transform the look of your wedding videos! Drone videography is here to stay.
A New Way to Film the Wedding Venue
A wedding is undoubtedly a great deal about the venue where it takes place. More so for destination weddings. Who wouldn’t want to showcase the spectacular wedding location so it could long be cherished several years into the future?
Drone videography is a fantastic way to capture the wedding destination in all its glory and splendor. Picture this: the bride walks the aisle as a drone slowly pans and tracks away to reveal the location in its entirety. Awesome, wouldn’t you say?
Now, it’s all possible thanks to the advent of aerial videography. Never before has anyone been able to capture an aerial video of the wedding destination so easily and conveniently. All it takes is a skilled drone videographer.
1. Drones must augment, not interfere
When you set out to film a wedding with a drone, remember the golden rule. The central key advice that comes to mind when one considers a drone for filming is the fact that a drone is intended, in the first place, to augment the wedding video, and never to interfere in the ceremony itself.
This is much easier said than done, for the loud noise a drone emanates (thanks to its spinning propellers) can easily make guests deaf. A drone is best used from a high altitude so it quietly captures everything from the sky without being a hindrance in the on-ground action.
For this very reason, close-up shots are a strict no-no when it comes to drone cinematography. A drone is best used for epic extreme long shots from a height above that lend grandeur and scale to a wedding video.
Try to obtain beautiful long shots that capture the scale and essence of the location and ceremony; the guests enjoying and celebrating; the bride and the groom sharing special moments. It is all possible with a drone used the right way!
2. Go Slow with your UAV!
When you shoot with a drone, make sure you go easy on your drone. Rapid movements, accelerations, and sudden decelerations look amateur and unprofessional. Slow movements and pans look tremendously cinematic, lending your footage that coveted cinematic look.
Rapid movements not only rob your recordings off the production quality but also introduce the jello effect so hated by cinematographers. Smooth cinematic camera movements are unbeatable in their sheer beauty and quality. Nothing looks more disturbing than a movement that goes wrong, so practice hard!
Visit your wedding destination several times ahead of the final ceremony so you have a fair idea of the venue. Plan your shots well in advance. Nothing can be worse than fingers fiddling with the remote control not knowing where exactly to maneuver the drone. Better safe than sorry. Plan ahead, plan smart!
3. Watch the Weather
Weather can be your drone’s best friend and its worst enemy. After all, a drone needs a nice calm breeze to fly. A storm can puncture it apart though. Clear skies are the best when it comes to using a drone for filming. Never use a drone during rain or snow for the precipitation can permanently damage the drone.
Wind speed is a key factor to consider when acquiring aerial video. Speeds upwards of 20 miles per hour are too high for your drone and can result in the footage being unusable. Aerial videography is best done in the golden hours for a wedding drone videographer: the time just after sunrise and the hours just before sunset when the lighting is at its very best.
4. Shoot flat drone footage
When undertaking aerial videography with a drone, remember to set your camera to shoot in the flattest possible profile first.
This basically means that the footage your drone acquires would have all details at different brightness levels preserved, technically referred to as a high dynamic range, that can be highly beneficial when you need to obtain cinematic wedding videos.
Shooting this way with a flat profile will make very dark as well as very bright areas in your image preserve their details so these might later be recovered during the post-production stage.
One of those important drone videography tips for an aspiring wedding drone videographer!
5. Get those cinematic Fly-Overs!
A fly-over is a characteristic shot that is acquired as the drone flies over a point of interest. Apart from wedding videos, you’ll find these fly-over shots being used everywhere from blockbuster Hollywood movies to TV commercials.
A fly-over shot dramatically conveys the sense of perspective as it reveals the location where the wedding ceremony takes place. Such an aerial shot can serve as a nice cinematic introduction to a wedding video as it unfolds.
The drone camera continuously focuses on the object of interest- say, the bride and the groom, while the drone approaches them, finally flying over the point of interest.
The result: beautiful cinematic aerial video!
Consider Drone Safety
Check with your wedding venue first to ensure it is drone-friendly. Places such as indoor venues, tented areas, regions with lots of overhead cables are not ideal to fly drones, after all!
Also check with the local civil aviation laws to ensure the coast is all clear for your drone. It is illegal to fly drones near airports and military regions.
You also want to learn the nuances of the art and the safety measures and techniques before you fly a drone, or engage and hire a professional wedding drone videographer who’s the master of his craft for there’s no room for dangerous accidents on that special day.
Drones are a useful asset that bring in cinematic character into your wedding videos, but remember, as will all things, safety comes first.
Is it worth the price?
In one word: YES!
A drone undoubtedly costs extra cash when compared to a conventional wedding photography and videography package, but the benefits of drone videography can far outweigh the expenses easily.
Go for it!
A wedding is a special event after all. You wouldn’t want to miss out on those grand cinematic shots from the air!
The next question to consider is whether you wish to shoot the wedding with your drone yourself or get the help of a seasoned professional. Prices vary widely from professional to professional.
Choose a wedding drone videographer whose portfolio speaks volumes about his work and one who is familiar with the local laws and regulations.
The drone type used for the wedding video is another aspect that needs careful thought and deliberation. While it is best to shoot in the highest quality possible, remember that with added equipment quality and fidelity comes an added price.
Choose the equipment that meets your needs in your budget. Your wedding cinematographer can be your best guide, so do not hesitate in consulting with them should you face a dilemma!
A wedding drone videographer is a must have asset for any wedding video to be beautifully breathtaking, for it is he or she who transforms an on-ground event into a star-studded ceremony, lending it a unique eye in the manner of a fairy tale that truly occurs once in a lifetime.
A drone is a remarkable invention; more so when coupled with an imaging camera that has so high a resolution and quality one could easily shoot a Hollywood blockbuster with a little skill and practice.
Like every art, drone filmmaking can take time to master if you intend to achieve a cinematic look for your wedding films.
A professional wedding drone cinematographer can bring in years of expertise and skill to your wedding. Familiarity with the shooting venue and local laws is a big plus.
It might indeed be more cost effective hiring a professional videographer for your wedding drone videos since you can do away with licensing costs, equipment purchase, etc if you go this route.
An experienced wedding drone professional can magically transform a seemingly ordinary looking ceremony into a fairy tale made in heaven. Mark our words!
Should you decide to take charge yourself, though, remember to buy the best drone your money can buy.
Read through the device specifications carefully before buying. The most important things to look out for when buying a drone are its stabilization systems, camera quality, recording formats, and the number of cameras mounted on the drone.
Practice shooting movements with the drone and plan the wedding videography shoot beforehand so you can grab amazing, cinematic footage for your wedding video.