Learn How To Fly A Drone For Aerial Photos And Videos


Lesson Info

Which Drone Should I Get?

The best camera you have is the one that you have with you. Now, that said, we do have a lot of options right now, especially in the entry level drone market. The two that's on everybody's mind is the Karma and the Mavic. Now of course, the Phantom, as well. Some people are wondering, well, why would I get the Phantom if there's now the Mavic. And of course, there's the Inspire. Inspire kind of represents sort of for us pro-sumer kind of market people, that sort of represents our mid-tier. Or maybe that really represents our upper tier. Anything above that, pictured here, we have you know, the battle. You know, Mavic and the Karma. And then we have DJI's Matrice 600. And then we have Freefly's Alta. It's a beautiful machine, they're all beautiful machines. But in terms of price, the top ones are about a thousand bucks. The Matrice, you know, these guys are carrying like, you know, Arri Alexa Minis and RED EPICs, and you know, the DJI solution is about an $8,000 solution, plus or minus,...

depending on all the support equipment, the batteries, and then the Alta is, you know, carries a MoVI and all that, and so you are looking at $20,000-30,000 to get properly kitted out for that. It's an incredible machine. I mean, yeah, you've got to have the wherewithal and the business to support it, but I've played around with those and they are just phenomenal. They're all phenomenal. I mean, that's why I labeled this "Spoiled for Choice". The thing about it is if you get, I'm not trying to beat around the bush here. Some of you maybe just tell me, is it the Karma or is it the Mavic. But the thing is if you expose your image well, whatever camera you're working with, if you really know it really well, we'll go into camera testing later to really get the most out of our cameras. I mean, actually, what I'll do. I can do this. This here, a bunch of filmmaker friends of mine are like, you shot that on what? Now maybe it's hard to tell how really nice of an image it is on this screen, but I mean like if you look at the RGB parade or if you're looking at the histogram on that shot, it's just perfectly exposed. And I go in later, even using light meters, to get proper exposure, even before you get up in the air, you use it on the ground. But if you know your camera well. This is a tiny little camera, similar to like a Phantom 4, you know your camera well, if you're not pushing the dynamic range too much, this is shot not directly into the sun. I'm not showing you how limited the dynamic range is on that camera. You're able to get nice detail in the highlights, nice detail in the shadows. Filmmaker friends of mine are like, I figured you shot that on like a EPIC, or I figured you shot that on, you know, something expensive. So when it comes to the whole current Mavic/Karma thing, a lot of us production guys, I mean Creative Live included, I mean they've got like tons of GoPros. And sometimes in a production, when you're cutting footage from different sources, that's gonna factor in. I mean, yeah, you might have your on-the-ground DSLRs, or say cinema-type cameras, you might have a C100 or Canon cameras or the Sony FS7s, FS5s, A7Ss, and so you've got those cameras look a certain way, and then you've got these other cameras that look a certain way, like the GoPros. How many cameras do you want to really introduce? And if you've got the GoPro, if you're already a GoPro user, I think this is a really excellent choice. We were looking at the image the other day, too, and we were just like marveling at how clean that image is. I mean, GoPros, it's not their first rodeo now, right? We're on Hero5. And we were all looking at the image and just going, man, that's a really clean image. So if you're a GoPro user, and the cool thing is when you buy the Karma, I believe you get that grip, too. You can use this gimbal head for either just on the drone, or handheld. So I think that's a really good solution. Now, it has less autonomous flight modes. So for those of you wanting a lot of these sort of semi-autonomous modes, like the Active Track mode, that does not have it, currently, whether or not it'll have it in future firmware updates. The Mavic, I haven't gotten my, it seems like everybody in the blogosphere has got their hands on the Mavic. I have not got my hands on a Mavic, yet, but from all reports, it's looking excellent. That camera is looking very similar to the Phantom 4. People are saying it's a little bit more lightweight. I have seen some footage where we have a little bit windier conditions, you see a little bit of camera shake. One thing I'll say is when we were filming out in the field the other day, we had weather on our side and against us. I mean, all day it was sort of a tug of war. And the wind was sort of blowing about 20-25 miles an hour. I mean, that's pretty fast. As a matter of fact, in some of the videos I was like, I'm sorry about the wind. But like, the guys did such a good job miking me, you can't even hear the wind, but you can see the trees blowing like crazy in the background. That's why I was standing in front of that boat as like a shield. But the Phantom 4 just, it was great. Now in some of the autonomous modes, or the GPS modes, it's speed limited. So even though its flight speed might be okay, like when you're trying to come back and you've got a headwind up to 25 miles an hour, and it's trying to push, and maybe its max speed is like 27, then you're crawling. In which case, something like the Inspire, that's got more horsepower, is maybe your drone of choice. But of course, you're looking at about a thousand dollar drones versus, you know, three to six thousand for the Inspire, depending what camera you get. But I know a lot of you that are asking are asking is it the Mavic, is it the Phantom, is it the Karma? I think it just comes down to are you a GoPro user, or are you buying your first drone? Do you need more autonomous features. You just gonna have to look at the specs. I mean, and if you want more autonomous features right now, the Mavic's got more choices for you. If you're comfortable flying more hands-on, and you're a GoPro guy, or girl, the Mavic's a great solution. It has a great little backpack. You know, they are both very small. Even the Phantom is very small. I really like the Phantom. I actually just bought the Phantom, because mostly what we fly are Inspires and I wanted to have a drone that many of you will have and I wanted to make sure that I knew all the menu systems and stuff that you guys are dealing with. So, you know, get a black one, or a white one, or gray one. And specs, they're all on the Internet, but one thing I'll say about what to buy is a lot of people are like how much do I have to spend? And my buyer's guide actually starts at about, I recommend drones from about the $500 price point all the way up. Okay, so there's something for any fairly serious, you know, anybody who's serious about photography, you know, even if it's as a hobby. I mean, I'm thinking you're looking around the $500 mark, but what you need to do is basically whatever you spend on the drone, you basically need to double it with batteries, with accessories, stickers, no. No, but just you're gonna need a backpack, which we'll go into packing our gear, accessories, ND filters, which we'll get into later. It may seem like an unneeded accessory, but if you're new to filmmaking, ND filters are like a key, I mean, they should almost come with the copters, but then the guys making filters would be kind of bummed out about that. But yeah, ND filters are huge. So I would double it. If you're gonna buy a Mavic, it's about a thousand bucks, or a Karma, a thousand bucks, you know, spend about half that or double that on all the support equipment you need. So that's really what I got in terms of what should I buy. You know, oh, one other thing is make sure that whatever you buy, if it's from 3DR or DJI or Yuneec, or any of these companies, make sure they are updating their apps. Their apps are almost as important as the drone itself. Some of you have probably dealt with this before, you buy a camera and then you're trying to control it with the app, or whatever, and you find out that the camera manufacturer hasn't updated it in like two years. I mean, this is the age we live in. Everything is like app driven. So the app has to be, I mean, DJI's been in this game for a while, longer than some, and their apps are, it shows. We'll go into the DGI GO app. I actually had somebody say the other day, we were working with the software, there was a glitch, or whatever, and we were working in the DJI app. And it was like, oh, isn't that frustrating, the software is frustrating. I'm like, yeah, on one hand it's frustrating when it doesn't work, but it's so awesome that we actually have all these controls at our fingertips. So I'm very positive about it, because it's only getting better. It's great now, it's only getting better and we've got a lot of choices. Blain, we do have a couple of questions. Yeah. And a few people asked this question. They want to know what controller you would recommend to use with a flight simulator for the best practice. Yeah, so if you already have a transmitter, there are, and actually in the buyers guide, there are links for the flight simulators of where to get the controllers. If you already have a controller for another airplane, and it's got like a trainer cord insert in the back, or something like that, there's adapters, like USB adapters. So you don't have to go out and buy a new controller. If you don't, I actually, you know what, I actually like having the dedicated one, which you'll see on the link, because that means that you can have your transmitter like down in wherever you keep your gear, and it's ready to go. And then you can have one that's just dedicated for flying. The kids will love playing with it, too. And you don't necessarily, you know, if you've got kids at home you don't necessarily want them playing with your production gear. So this one, I mean it's dropped off the table. I mean my kids and all their friends have played with it. It's super fun. And so yeah, you can either get a dedicated one, or not, or you can get a little adapter. And also, if you're a DJI user, there is a flight simulator built in. It's not as feature-packed as this one, and I think most people won't be as inclined to use it long term, but there is one, so you can use your DJI controller 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.