Learn How To Fly A Drone For Aerial Photos And Videos


Lesson Info

Basic Flight Maneuvers

One of the things that I showed in the video with course lock is you put it on a course, say we want this to be our course, this is the front of the 'copter sometimes it's hard to tell. So this is the front of the 'copter. If we put it on a course lock, we could say okay, this is what I want the course to be. Now what's neat is when you send it along the course and if you were to, say for example you were filming, say if I was filming you guys, all right? And I wanted to put it on a course I would just push the stick forward and I could say I could be off here I could then look at you guys still have the stick pushed forward and it would still move on that course. And then as I went past you know, and I wouldn't have to do anything. I mean all I have to worry about it is setting it on its course and yawing the 'copter around. These modes are great, again sometimes for cinematic reasons. But I use them pretty sparingly. There's really, as we'll look later, there's a few different semi, ...

or they're called intelligent flight modes. I was going to call them semi-intelligent. Semi-autonomous modes that can be really cool for getting some great cinematic shots. Some of them you'll wonder would I be better off just, since I've got such great flight skills, I took Blayne's course, I can do all these things. (Blayne laughs) But you know sometimes you'll be like, oh I'll just get the shot. So, yeah. So speaking of flight skills, let's go through just a few of those with the flight simulator. Okay so here we are with a Phantom. The Phantom Menace, no the Phantom 'copter. And the first thing that you're gonna want to do is just learn how to hover. Let's see if I can do it. (drone engine runs) And we can bring that audio down if you'd like, it's just a little bit grating. (Blayne laughs) As drones can be, people talk about drones and spying on them or whatever and I'm like, yeah if you can't hear that drone spying on ya, yeah, maybe you should be spied on. (Blayne and audience laugh) So, yeah, in the beginning you'll just want to learn how to hover. Now this may actually not be all that much of a challenge, especially when you're in a GPS mode. Because in a GPS mode it's just gonna stay locked, right? But when there's wind it's going to push you. So once you get comfortable of just being up and hovering, I would say try putting it in attitude mode. And already you can just see it's drifting a little bit and so what you want to do is bring it back to you. And you could even play a game of finding a spot on, if you're at a park, but we'll just try to keep it on the line there. Or just in one particular area. You want to show yourself that you can keep it safe in one position. Okay. So once you've got hovering down, right now we call this nose out. We can go nose in. Now this ups the ante a little bit because now when it's drifting some way, so right now it's drifting towards me. So you want to pull back basically opposite of what you would have done before to keep it away from you. And now I'm going right which is, if we're looking at it, it's to our left. So our controls are opposite. So then you can spin it back around, and this is where you might be starting to panic and then you can throw it into that GPS mode and it would lock, okay? And you can see the little tiny inputs I'm making. Now one thing I've seen with new pilots is they'll do this thing where they, they'll make these big corrections. And, you know what? No harm, no foul right? Until you start trying to get shots that people want to watch. (audience chuckles) You know? And with flying sail, actually flying sailplanes has been a big help to me because the more that you mess around with the controls the less efficient the sailplane is. I mean, the name of the game in sailplanes is you don't have a motor to keep you up so you're trying to be as efficient as you possibly can. You want the wing to be as clean as it possibly can so that you don't come down the soonest, the quickest. So okay, so now what we can do is just try to make a box, okay? So maybe we'll do it to the right. We'll go to say, a right point and stop. We'll go forward and stop. Now it's basically in like an attitude mode where it's just I have to give opposite control, you can see on the sticks there I give it opposite. So I'll make it obvious here, I'm coming back. Let me go fast, see it's sliding. Now I'm giving opposite control to keep it steady. Okay, so now that you've done that what you'll want to do is maybe try practicing turns. And in the beginning you can just simply pick whichever turn direction you want. Now what I'm doing is you can see on the sticks is I'm giving it less stick. I'm yawing the craft around. Now it's nose in. And I'm pushing forward to keep the 'copter going forward. So I'll get it a little closer so we can see a little bit better. Okay? So I'm going 'copter forward. Pushing the stick forward on the right and then left stick I'm yawing it around, okay? This is so much easier with an aircraft that self-stabilizes. Okay? So left turn. Now let's see, what else could we do? Of course you could do, sorry that was right turn. We could do left turns. And just to skip ahead, what I would say is practice both. Let's do figure eights. So now I'm doing a left turn. Now I'm going to speed up my turns a little bit. I wouldn't recommend this in the beginning. Of course if you're flying a flight simulator that's the beauty is you can fly as fast as you like. But what I would say is when you're practicing, just like I advise my music students, don't practice fast at the expense of precision. Because what you're teaching yourself right now is muscle memory. And you don't want to add tension or incorrect moves into your muscle memory. I actually got disoriented there, speaking of which. Let's try that again, figure eight. So we'll go out this way. We'll do tighter ones so we can actually see it. Yup, figure eights. So I'm also rolling. Let's go back to the controls again. So when I want to do a tighter banked turn, I'm really pushing the craft. When it's in these limited modes like the GPS limited mode not in a sport mode, it's only limiting it to a certain amount of degrees so it's not going to bank over too much. So yeah, you'll want to play around with that. Like how much of a banked turn can you do, I'm yawing it and I'm banking it as much as I can. We can see if we can hit us. Change of scenery. Hey Blayne, can I ask a question? Please, yeah. Hey, how many hours do you suggest people use the simulator when they're first getting started before they get out and do their first flight? You know, that's actually a question I get asked a lot even with music. It's like, I play Irish music, and so it's like how many hours should I practice a tune before I play it with other people, or whatever, you know? I would say as long as it takes you to do the things that you're trying to do without mistakes. Because when you fly without mistakes, you've got more money left in your pocket. (Blayne and some audience members chuckle) You know? Copy that, thanks. Yeah. So, you know, try all sorts of things, right? Just kind of buzz around the sky. I mean it's not all just work, just have some fun with it. Especially with a flight simulator. Try the things that you'd be scared to try maybe in person. This has really gotten tiny. There are some settings in the flight simulator where you can zoom in a little bit more. And you can actually fly first-person view in the simulator as well which maybe we'll look at later. I don't even know which way I'm going. So hit the space bar and you're back, you're back again. So again, you can see the value of practicing with the simulator. Again this is Aerofly. One of the reasons why I love Aerofly so much as a practical one, it's available for Mac and PC. I'm a Mac guy, a lot of us video guys are Mac guys, not all of us, but a lot of us are. And for a while there, there used to not be one for us Mac guys and so Aerofly you can actually get it on the App Store and and then for PC users if you go to their website you can, I think, download it. You do need a controller to control it. Don't think that you're going to get good practice working off the keyboard. You really do need to have a controller. So that is important. That's really it for basic flight skills. Hovering, practicing nose in, nose out. Trying, let me, okay cool. Trying nose in, nose out, getting used to left, right. There's even in the flight simulator that you can create a little column where when you're hovering, maybe you could up the ante, add some wind. Create a little column and then whenever you hit the edge of the column the thing explodes. So it's like practice for that.

"To everyone out there wanting to learn how to fly a Drone and take incredible images and videos; I promise Blayne Chastain is your guy!" -Brooke, CreativeLive Student

Drones can be an expensive purchase, and without the proper knowledge, they can be dangerous and difficult to fly.Capturing the view from above can show perspective, creativity, and just look cool! But getting your camera into the air isn’t as simple as just grabbing a remote control. It takes knowledge, practice and patience to master your camera in the sky. In this class, Blayne Chastain will give you the tools you need to fly any drone and the techniques you’ll need to capture beautiful images and videos every time you go out.  After taking this class, you’ll feel confident in your purchase and in your footage. You’ll learn:

  • The basic components of a drone 
  • The safety tips and regulations everyone must follow when flying 
  • What to consider when flying in different weather conditions 
  • Simple flying techniques and advanced maneuvers to master 
  • How to capture beautiful media that you’re excited to share! 
 Blayne Chastain has over three decades of practice flying RC aircrafts. He is the co-founder of Cloudgate, a film company specializing in cinematic aerials. He's captured aerial footage everywhere, from the seat of a kayak in Iceland to chasing snowboarders down a mountain with his drone. With the teachings in this class, you’ll have the ability to maximize your flight hobby, and turn your images into a part of your business. 

Don’t know which drone to buy? Be sure to download Blayne’s “Drone Buyer’s Guide” to find out which gear is right for you!  



  • First, I wanna start off by saying thank you to Creative Live TEAM for giving me the opportunity to attend this class LIVE in-studio! The experience was everything and MORE I could have hoped for. The TEAM really makes you feel apart of the family and I can't wait to come back! As Far as the class goes: To everyone out there wanting to learn how to fly a Drone and feel confident in flying, take incredible images and videos and everything that comes with it; I promise Blayne Chastain is your guy! He covers all your questions and teaches you how to get started from Learning to actually fly and how to practice, to what would be the best drone for you, FAA regulations and certification, to editing and your finished product. AND MUCH MORE But in order to fully grasp all of this knowledge you must get this class! I promise you won't regret it and will only grow! Thank you Blayne, for opening this door for us and teach us that THE SKIES THE LIMIT!
  • The class was excellent in the information offered. Real info that can help someone starting out to get a feel for what they need to learn and practice. While the info was great, the presenter was not to the level of other professional speakers I've seen on CreativeLive. He didn't seem confident in the information he delivered, stuttered quite a bit and lost his train of thought quite often. The video cuts were poorly produced for the most part. Showing us how to fly a drone that is represented by a tiny speck on the screen was not all that helpful. It kind of felt like there was little planning in the production more of a "seat of the pants" lesson plan. However, with all of these presentation flaws, the content was great info, so I would recommend the class with the warning to be very patient with the presenter and the production quality - not normal for a CreativeLive class.
  • This course was amazing. Made me actually want to go out and buy my first drone. Highly recommend for anyone who wants to learn the ins-and-outs of operating a drone for aerial photos and video.