Learn How To Fly A Drone For Aerial Photos And Videos



Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Well thanks so much for having me, guys, and I think what we're gonna do to get started is play a little video. So the dilemma. First, maybe I'll set this up a little bit, so the dilemma for most of us is maybe you want to get into aerial cinematography or photography or videography, whatever you like to call it, or do it with drones, but as you start looking at the price tags of some of these copters and cameras, if you haven't had any experience flying anything remote control, or even if you have and the idea of putting 1,000, 2,000 on a camera on the bottom of a remote controlled device is a little scary, then I would say maybe that's part of the dilemma about getting into it. There would be, maybe some others too that we could discuss as well, but let me kind of show you, maybe set this up with a little video. It's, yeah, see what you think of this. (drone whirring) (man screams) (long beep) (man laughing) So you see the expression on my face there? (people laughing) That's the exp...

ression of someone who's been flying for over 30 years and that's not his first rodeo. It's not the first time I've seen something like that happen, although that may be one of my most expensive crashes to date, which, I guess expensive is relative, so what that was, that was a custom octocopter that we were putting together, building to lift heavier cameras like, say, Red Epics and that sort of thing. Right there was about, just in that airframe, it was probably about eight grand worth of equipment, and what that was was us being sort of on the bleeding edge of working with new motors and working with new components, new speed controllers, and not realizing that there was a mismatch with the speed controllers and the motors. There was an incompatibility, which after ourselves and some friends of ours that were actually carrying a Red Epic over the ocean, that the same thing happened, went into the ocean. Their rig was probably sitting at about 80 grand, all up in the air. So maybe that's an extreme example of maybe what the dilemma is. Say if you're looking to get yourself a Phantom, I mean even still, that right there is at least a thousand bucks, so I mean that's, a thousand bucks is a thousand bucks, and most of us, myself included, don't have a thousand bucks just to throw away in the ocean. So the solution, let me skip on to there, so yeah, the solution, I think the solution, knowledge, knowledge is power. So I would say, my sort of alternate title for this class is Flights, Camera, Action. The idea of mastering your flight skills, and then mastering your sort of camera skills, and then putting them in action, so that all that left brain stuff, all that technical stuff, learning how to fly in all different orientations, backwards, forwards, left, right, that you take care of that, and then also the camera stuff, so that you get that all out of the way so that your right brain, your creative side, can just be free to get up there and get some amazing shots, photos, videos, and then some of you, obviously, would be using it for mapping, which is less my background, my background's more photography and videography, but so I think the solution is just getting in there, making the unfamiliar, the scary, I know some of you are just getting into drone photography, and some of you maybe come from a background where you want to use it for your business, and it's scary too, like representing your company in a responsible way. You don't wanna get out there with this drone and then cause damage to person or property and that sort of thing. You also want to make sure that you're doing it legit, that you're properly licensed. If you're doing commercial, that you're covered with licensure and permission, that sort of thing. We're gonna cover all that stuff in the course. So yeah, so I mean I think that's the solution, is just knowledge is power, making the unfamiliar familiar. I teach, I'm a musician as well, and I teach that all the time. A lot of times, there's scary things for musicians, there are like, maybe you have a problem spot in your playing and they kinda want to rush through it or whatever, but my solution is always, hey, let's take a second. It's not usually that the subject or the technique or whatever is hard, it's just unfamiliar, so let's kinda spend some time there. The familiar stuff, you got that. It's put that behind us, let's move on, and so this course is all about that. So yeah, I mean that's, to me, that's the solution, and then, who this class is for. Even with my music students, what I find is that there are gaps in their understanding of different parts of their playing, so I might be watching them play, and they have a little flub here that keeps coming up, and so, even with my online training for my flute and whistle, I play traditional Irish flute and whistle, I try to teach in a way where it's good for those just starting out, but also for those of you that have been flying a while, and maybe your flying skills are up to par, and you're rocking, maybe you can do way more tricks on a helicopter than I can, it wouldn't be hard, but your camera skills, maybe want to take it to the next level on the cinematography side or the photography side, so this is really for anyone who just is starting out from the beginning. I'm gonna try to make sure that I speak slowly and explain myself clearly, and take your questions, I'm here for you. So that's another thing too, and if you ever have any questions, we're gonna do our best to answer them all. So beginning students as well as advancing students. So and then finally here, or not finally, but why me, why this guy? It's a good question. So Jem mentioned I've been flying remote-controlled aircraft for over 30 years. I can't believe that, I'm 41 now, so I started, my parents are actually full-scale pilots. I grew up in the backseat of the Cessna, flying all around the US with them during summers, going to fly-ins, Oshkosh, all sorts of things, so aviation is in my blood, and so early on, some of my first memories were out there flying these buzzing, gas-powered, remote controlled airplanes with my father out of the flying field, and that was probably about age six, and so I got into this not thinking that I would ever put a camera. I mean back then, the cameras, I mean there's just, it wasn't even an option, so I got into this not thinking that I would ever make a living out of it, that it would be for any use other than just for fun. I just have the love of flying. And I think some of you guys are probably getting into it because for practical reasons, right? But I think once you get your drone up in the sky and you're flying, big old smile is gonna come on your face. I mean that's kinda universal. Whenever you get up there and you start flying, it's just hard to be in a bad mood. I mean it's just flying is fun. This was me, I think I was 13 there on the cover of RC Modeler magazine. I think that was right after I won my first national championship with sailplanes. That's actually my specialty with remote controlled aircraft is sailplanes, so, which they're a joy to fly, and that's something we'll talk about down the road is as you get into flying, don't just fly drones, try flying powered aircraft, electric aircraft, sailplanes, helicopters, anything to get your skills up, your flying skills up, and free to have fun, where maybe there is less at stake, maybe you don't have a thousand dollar camera hanging on the bottom of it. Now that said, the sailplane here off to the right, I should have Photoshopped that so my belly's not showing. (laughs) But this photo of me off to the right is, I believe, at the national championships. They hold that over in Muncie, Indiana at the Academy of Model Aeronautics campus, and I'm launching one of my sailplanes. The wingspan is about 14 foot long. They fly amazing, very state-of-the-art type aircraft, and they're launched with a motorized winch that pulls the glider up to the air about, we say, four, 500 feet, and then from there, you have to stay up for a certain amount of time, you have to shoot spot landings, that sort of thing, which is this next photo is of me is doing a spot landing. So precision is part of the name of the game with a lot of these competitions. By the time I was 18, I had one nine national championships flying remote controlled sailplanes. And here's an example of a spot landing, so right here, is the hundred point mark, and so you're graded also on your landings. So yeah, typically, how these things go is, say, you have to stay up for 10 minutes, and every second over under counts against you as well as the landing spot there. So people are always asking, "Well how are you judged "on such a thing?" But they fly just like regular, full-scale sailplanes, but they're just remote control. So flying is just something that I do for fun as a hobby, and I compete. I'm now finally legit in the eyes of the FAA levels. We'll see. At least in the eyes of the FAA, I now have my small unmanned aircraft pilot certificate, and so that has been really great, and I want to share with you guys the process that I went through to study for that, to pass the test, and just what it looks like to be a Part 107. That's the new FAA rules, Part 107. Share with you what it looks like to be a Part 107 pilot. It's kind of beyond the scope to go fully into that, but I'm gonna cover to a great deal what that means for us commercial operators, as well as how to study for it. So and that's been a really great addition for me to finally be able to go out there, know that I'm flying in airspace that I'm cleared to fly in, that I get the permission that I need, and not to feel like a criminal for flying my little drone (laughs) so that's awesome, and then, as far as, this is me here, and I want to tell you something too. Cloudgate is my production company, that I'm partnered with Philip Van Drunen and Jem Moore, both really amazing filmmakers. Jem is a documentary filmmaker, does a lot of travel documentaries. Phil, actually, he went to FullSail. He's I think our only guy that actually went to film school, and then we're all, Jem and I are self-taught, just by doing a lot of documentary work, and so I remember one day, Jem was watching me fly. Jem's actually also a jet pilot, and he was watching me fly the flight simulator, which we'll deal with here in a little bit, but he was like, "Man, you're pretty good at that, "that RC thing," and I was like, "Yeah, I've been kinda doing it for a long time, "I hope so," and he's like, "What if we put cameras on the bottom of these things?" I was like, "I would love to do that." Matter fact I remember as a kid, I just remember looking up the sky, going, "Gosh, this is so much fun. "If I could just do this for a living." This was way back when there was just no chance of doing that for a living. It was just for fun. But if I could just do this for a living and just fly and enjoy flying, and kind of share that love with others, that would be, as Jem likes to say, money in the bank. (laughs) That to me would be the most fun thing, and so, Jem was like, "Hey, what if we put cameras in this," your entrepreneurial wheels start turning. You're like, "Oh, what if we put cameras on these things? "What could we do?" And so here is one of her first copters, I think, that we purchased as a company with Cloudgate. I think that's the DJI S800. It's a hexacopter. It has six motors there, and in the beginning, we didn't have a landing gear that would retract, and so as you can see, there's, well maybe can't really see clearly, but there's no landing gear on that. So we'd actually land it in this little PVC hoop that we made, and you had to be really careful. Go out on windy days and you're like (groans) and so we were literally hang that camera off the bottom with no landing gear, no protection for it, just going for it, and so yeah, I've been flying drones as we're calling them now them now, although we fought that term for such a long time, but now, we just call them drones. I've been flying drones for maybe three or four years, but of course, what I've been flying with now, everybody's calling drones for over 30, yeah, so I have a love of cinematography, a love of flying, and I love putting those two together. It's just to me, it's like there's few things cooler, so I think next what we're gonna do is take a look at Cloudgate's latest reel. I think it's gonna show you just a combination of some of our cinematography, general cinematography, that myself, Phil, and Jem have filmed, as well as some of our aerial shots, so I'll go ahead and play that. (ethereal electronic music) (lively instrumental music) Yeah, so that gives you kind of an idea. For me, as a cinematographer as well, I'll actually be the first to let a client know, obviously, our clients know that we do aerial cinematography as well, and I'll oftentimes be to first to tell them, "You know what, I know it seems like everything's cooler "with the drone, everything's cooler from the sky," but we actually oftentimes are, we're mixing aerial shots with ground shots, all kinds of different kinds of camera support, but there's no question, drones have really elevated video production for small production companies like Cloudgate. It's just the three of us, and we're able to do these kind of crazy aerial shots, that before, you'd have to hang out of the side of a helicopter and to me, it's just so exciting. I mean sometimes, when we're together flying, and we get the shot, we're looking, we're like, "Oh my gosh," like this is just so, we'll punch each other and be like, "This is gonna be amazing." So that's the sort of thing I kinda want to get you guys. If you have any fears or questions or whatever about how to properly go about this, maybe to help you figure out which copter that is gonna be right for your first purchase. Know that it's not just gonna be your only, 'cause as you get into this, you're gonna get deeper and you're gonna have more, and you're gonna have a basement like I do full of these things. Mostly put together and not broken. And so, yeah, so a lot of those shots were done and what I'd call a two-person operation mode where one of us is flying and then one of us is working the camera, so I'm gonna cover that in this course, dual operator mode, which is just really a great way to go, especially with fast-moving subjects, where you kinda need to be both on your game, but also I wanted to show you what can be done just with one guy or one girl with a small drone in a place maybe as remote, for us anyways here, although some of you may be watching from Iceland. I was just recently doing a travel documentary that's gonna be released soon called Winter Iceland, that was promoting winter tourism, winter travel in Iceland, and I went over there and I filmed all the stuff on the ground, and all the stuff in the air, and so I was just kinda running around like crazy. The gave me a big camper van and I put all my gear in there and we're like, "All right, now we're doing ground stuff, "all right, now we're doing aerial stuff," and so I just had a couple small very basic copters and this is just showing that sometimes less is more. Sometimes it's the subject that makes the image amazing, and maybe the framing of the subject, and maybe you getting out of the way of the subject, and just kind of letting your subject kinda speak to you and how you want to capture that, so this was just to be, it is like being a kid in a candy store, getting to go to Iceland with a drone. And so I'm gonna roll some of these clips. So I was flying, I was sitting in another kayak. And we were just trying to stay out of the shot here. We were following four different travelers going through Iceland. And... I was, yeah. And some of these are, that's a good example of that orbital shop, which we'll talk about later. And of course just the scenery there is just amazing. But as you can see, they're very smooth in simple type shots, but the production value is huge. And I think that's one thing when you watch, when you watch large production films and you see an aerial shot. More and more, Hollywood and people they are doing big-budget films, they are using drones and it's not so much really super complex moves, it's very simple moves, 'cause I think sometimes when you're buzzing around like crazy with your drone, you're trying to do too much, it kinda shows your hand. If you're trying to accomplish too much and you don't just hit it on point, so it's oftentimes easier to just come up with a simple move. So, and that's one thing we're gonna talk about, the five essential camera moves, our go to's, and how you can actually combine them to make more complex movements, camera moves, especially when it comes to videography. I have a lot of experience flying and filming, I love to put them together, and that's really it, and I just, also I've been teaching both music and on the field. I mean I've taught more people than I can remember how to fly, and that's always been one of my favorite things. I'd be flying all day and somebody comes up with their new, back in the day, their new little glider, whatever, and they're like, don't. They don't wanna crash it, I don't wanna see them go home with, back then, it used to be just balsa wood gliders, and I didn't wanna see them go with a bag of balsa back home, so I just, I love sharing my knowledge on this sort of niche sort of passion of mine.

Class Description

"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!