Learn How To Fly A Drone For Aerial Photos And Videos


Lesson Info

Bird's Eye Shots

Yeah, this is a very simple thing. Sometimes you need simple though, sometimes it's really nice like when you're editing. Like if you only had tracking shots, like you'd find going from a tracking shot to a tracking shot to a tracking shot, what's nice in edits a lot of times is the contrastive shots, mixing up tight with medium with wide shots, mixing up tracking shots with above, you know, being above the subject, changing up the angle a little bit. So yeah, it's just about having more at your disposal but you know, when you do, goin' at it, so yeah. Hitchcock would have loved drones and spinners and bird's eye. Yeah, I could see that for sure. Yeah, let's check out the video. So moving onto bird's eye, bird's eye is just that, I suppose birds can look wherever they want, right? But I mean, what I'm talking about when I say bird's eye is just looking straight down. So the cool thing about the bird's eye is with a lot of our shots, what we're trying to do is give that sense of...

three dimensionality to our shots. Or at least I am, I'm trying to find a fore, middle, and a background and trying to get that depth, try to see those epic views that you can see from the air. What's kinda cool to go to a bird's eye view is that typically it's a very two dimensional looking image. So you go from like these real expansive shots to then more of looking like two dimensional, almost looks like a painting. And there's some really cool visuals that you can get just by looking at how the color of the edge of the coast looks contrasting with the ocean, contrasting with the trees, contrasting with a lighthouse. So it becomes more of like a color contrast kind of composition thing versus like trying to introduce more three dimensionality to your shots. It's almost about going, "Nope we're gonna go just straight." It's all about like compositional and color contrast. And yeah, this static kind of bird's eye. Now of course, our spinner shots also are oftentimes from that bird's eye perspective as well. But, you know, spinners would be when you were introducing motion, bird's eye typically for me is when I'm trying to get more of a static shot maybe that there's motion that comes in and out of the shot. Which can be very cinematic, you know. Sometimes in the beginning when we first start filming video, whether it be aerial or just on the ground, you know, you just kinda try to follow the action. You're trying to get all of that. But as you learn more about cutting or filming for the edit, you're actually thinking about like little clips or little scenes that you can create and sometimes it's nice to have your subject just leave the scene, and so with these bird's eye shots you can oftentimes get that. Let the subject come in and exit the frame. And you'll have a nice solid clip to put into your edit. As a hobbyist, we're just flying for fun. And we have different, at the moment anyway, we have different sort of rules and regulations that are a little bit different than if we're flying for commercial. So I'm flying under the Part 107 federal rule, which states that you can't fly over anyone who's not involved with the production. So if I have a crew, I can fly over them because they're part of like, maybe they're helping me launch but your talent out there doesn't necessarily fall within that. And so that's something that you can apply for a waiver if you can show to the FAA that you can do it in a safe manner. But there is a process in doing that and oftentimes when you're out, you're like, "Oh, I wanna get that top down shot." So what I would do in that situation is don't fly directly over them. But since this is getting such a wide capture, this is a wide angle lens, is just frame them off to any of the thirds, you know. The right third, left third, top, bottom. Oftentimes that's a nicer composition anyways. The one thing that I kinda miss is there's just something really nice about centering that subject up right in the center for a spinner. That's something that we're having to re-think with this Part 107 now because technically it's not permitted. So that does kinda keep us from being able to do certain moves but there's so many, I mean, we're dealing with three dimensional space out there. There's so many different things that we can do. But I just wanted to mention that, that I would encourage you both as a hobbyist and as a commercial operator, to try to avoid or to avoid flying directly over people. It's just the safe thing to do. And of course if we're doing commercial work, there's ways that we can potentially get waivers. But it's just something to consider. Okay, so let's go ahead and take a look at bird's eye in action. Yeah, the trick right now is just to try to stay with him. 'Cause he's kinda moving, the wind's pushing me around a little bit, and also you don't wanna be directly over your subjects although technically I would love to be directly over my subject. I'd like the framing of that. But under the new Part 107, which is the FAA regulations that I operate under, they say not to fly over your subjects. So what I have to do is I have to kinda frame 'em off to the right third or left third or lower third or upper third which is okay. I mean, we still have creative options with that. But you know, it limits us a little bit. But it keeps everybody safe. That is something that you can apply for a waiver, so if you had a specific shoot and you had the time to apply for a waiver you could try to make your case to the FAA that you could do it in a safe manner. Like maybe we would make this surfer wear a helmet. (laughs) But you know, we still have plenty of shot options. So right now, I'm flying right above the surfer. I'm thinking maybe we might even get him catching a wave, having him catch it and then go out of frame which could be kinda cool. And also, I mean we're kinda tracking him at the same time even though we're, quote, doing a bird's eye view, we're doing a little bit of tracking as well. You always wanna be monitoring your battery voltage too. One of the nice things about this DJI Go app that they use is when you get to 30% it yells at you. So when you're really focused on the shot sometimes you forget the fact that, you know, oh I've gotta worry about my fuel reserves. I'm gonna go back to ISO 100. I got him framed off left of frame, I've got the cliff right of frame. That's kinda cool and I'm also shooting 60p, so we can slow that down and all that wave motion's gonna look really cool. One nice thing about shooting 60 is that your shots are twice as long or more. So if you just get a snippet of a good bit of a take, it's actually twice as long as you thought you had. Cool, you know as we've been going through all these different moves, like I said before, I oftentimes I work as a two man team and the session that I did in Iceland, it was just myself doing all the camera moves and there's some examples we might jump to if we have time after this from that session as well. Especially with bird's eye, there were just some amazing shots that we got, where we were just talking about the color contrast of like, there was one scene where we were filming. I'll just pull up this one shot here. So there's an example of an orbit. Just a tracking shot. And there's your bird's eye, yeah those turned out awesome. And the light was just gold, I mean it was right at the end of the day and it was just popping on those kayaks. Another tracking, a little bird flying by. Another orbit. Again, that's not showing your hand in the edit. 'Cause like, if that was one move, it would have been a long move like a 10, 15 second shot. But going back, you know, like I just cut. I just cut it up so that it wasn't too long. And then there was a little bobble in this shot, so those are just the perfect parts of the shot. Yeah. So yeah, you know, depending upon the location because sometimes you get up there in the air you're like, "Ah, it may just be a tracking sorta day," kinda thing, that's how I felt like when we were filming the surfers. So yeah, cool.

"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.