Learn How To Fly A Drone For Aerial Photos And Videos


Lesson Info

Your First Flight

We're just going to go over some basic kind of things to think about when you're out flying for the first time. And we had a lot of fun doing it so let's cut to that. Okay, so your first flight. As you might be able to tell from maybe some of the audio, the wind, the trees, it's probably a little too windy for your actual first flight, but this is the weather we've been given today so this is how we're gonna role. So, hopefully you've practiced with your flight simulator. You know, your basic kind of hovering skills, going left, right, doing some turns. Maybe some figure eights. And you've got sort of a sense for the controls. If you've done that you're gonna have a really successful day out. So a couple little safety things: one I think is one of the most important things is making sure your props are on tight. So, depending upon your drone, like this one has a little twist lock feature. Like this. And so, the way that this works you kinda push down and twist it. And you just want to ...

make sure that it's on because that is something that can happen especially with certain models where you literally just righty-tighty lefty-loosey, sometimes if they're not on tight enough. I would just follow your manufactures guides on that. Cause some say "hey, don't over tighten it" but some say "hey, don't under tighten it". So just get a sense for what your manufacturers guidelines would be on that. Use common sense I suppose on that. So, making sure that's good. Making sure you've got plenty of battery. In the case of DJI products, they have the DJI GO app which we'll go through, but one key thing especially if you're relying on some of the intelligent flight modes, if you're flying in a GPS mode, which most of us will be when we're first learning, you want to make sure you have plenty of satellites. Some people say like ten plus. But your DJI GO app will say whether or not it's safe to fly in GPS mode or not. And so, right now it says "Ready to go GPS". And we're good to go. It says we have satellites that we're connected to. I mean, that's pretty amazing. And we have tons of cloud cover. So, we're safe on the props. Our landing area is clear. What we can do when we first take off, make sure nobody's around. You know, no dogs are gonna come and try to chase after it or whatever. And then you just step back, you know, sort of a measurable amount. We're in just a standard GPS mode. And then we'll take off and you probably know if you've read your manual or you know anything about, say, the Phantom or the Inspire, there's a combined stick command that starts the motors. And you might just get a quick shot of this. It's either both sticks down and out or both sticks down and in. I think, I by habit just go down and out. Here we go. That starts the motors up, and then you're simply just gonna raise the sticks and its push away. In this case we're kind of in tight quarters so I'm going to immediately push away to get it out away from us. So that it's at a safe distance. So let's walk over here. I'm gonna walk by the fence. So now let's practice some of our just basic hovering skills. Like, right now it's just out in front of us. And we're just getting confident that we can hover it in front of us. Right now you can see it's climbing a little bit. Right now it's just really windy. If you're out on a nice calm day it's not gonna do that. It's gonna hold rock solid. So then we can practice our left turns, or not left turns, but just moving left. Moving right. And now lets try moving forward. And back. The winds today are at about 20 mile and hour. So, it's fighting that headwind. Every time I come back it's fighting the headwind. You know, once you get comfortable with that you could try, let's trace a box. So let's go left and then out. We're just making a box. And then right. And then back. So you kinda make a box. That's basically showing yourself that you have control to make a shape. (laughs) Cause you know, as you get more proficient and you want to prove to yourself and others that you can fly safely around them. One of the next basic skills would be to make a circle right? So, I'm gonna gas it up a little bit. Get it up a little higher. And now I'm just gonna practice a circle. And this might be going cart-ahead-of-the-horse a little bit for some of you that aren't used to flying, this is called nose in, when the nose is towards you. But what I'm doing is I'm yawing. I'm taking the left stick and I'm moving it right so that it yaws, it twists the aircraft around in a circle. And I'm giving forward right stick so that it's moving forward. Which brings me to the point where I said it might be cart-before-the-horse. So, if we bring it back around right? And if you're uncomfortable with it towards you, what you can do is, okay right now it's away from us. So I'll bring it down so we can see it a little bit better. So right now it's pointing away from us. It might be good for you to practice it nose in. Okay this is called nose in. Alright? So let's practice going right. That's aircraft right. Let's go left. Let's go back. And then front. And so do that as much as you need to do. This is where a simulator is so huge. Because you're not running down batteries. You can practice as much as you want. You're not gonna break anything expensive. So that's something to get comfortable with. So once you do that you can rip around. And practice your circles. One variation on a circle would be a figure eight. And that's good because then you're practicing two different directions of circles. So, now I'm gonna go left. Left circle. (laughs) The wind is just killing it right now. But it's actually pretty impressive. So now right circle. It's pretty impressive how this is holding up in this wind. Alright, left circle. And right circle. And as a side note, right now I'm in GPS mode, and it's great. I want you to, this is probably the best mode for you to start learning in. Cause one thing that's really awesome is right now, I got hands off right now. and what it's doing, it's fighting the wind. It's saying "okay, Blaine told me to stop right here at this coordinate. I'm not gonna move." It's actually climbing right now, which I have no idea why. That's really interesting. I think what it's just trying to do, it's dealing with, there's a barometer in there. It's dealing with all these changes of air pressure. We were right over there in front of that boat. There's a lot of vortices that's coming over that. So, it's just trying to do the best it can vertically. But watch what happens when I take it out of GPS mode. Okay, the winds at my back. Watch what happens when I put it into what's called attitude mode. Alright, so what I did is I flipped the switch to "A" which is attitude mode. And I'm actually gonna bring it back to us so we can see it again. Okay. Alright, so I put it in attitude mode and it no longer was using GPS as its reference. So, all it's doing it's stabilizing the craft from not tipping over or whatever. But the wind's gonna blow it. And attitude mode is a really good mode to master. So, when you're out doing your first flight that's one of the reasons why you don't want it to be super windy. Cause you don't want to practice attitude mode in this kind of wind in the beginning. But I'll show you what that looks like. So, I'll put it in attitude. I'm gonna bring it down. So one thing you could practice is, let's go nose out. Nose out is easier for beginners because left is left and right's right. So, I'm gonna bring it down and if I let go of the sticks it's gonna get pushed away. So, what I'm doing is I'm giving it back stick to keep it steady. So, I'm giving it back stick and if it blows harder I'm pushing back a little harder on left stick. I'll bring it even closer to us here. So you can see how much I've got left stick in right now. If I let go, it's going with the wind. So yeah, then I would go with attitude mode and I would do your turns. Now, I wouldn't advise, again, this wind or this speed. But, you know, take it slower. And practice your turns. And just for fun, just for fun I'm gonna put it into sport mode. Now, sport mode in sport mode on the Phantom is actually a GPS enabled mode. Which is kinda nice. So, right now it's locked. Right now we've got about 20 mile an hour winds. Maybe gusting above that. Maybe 25, 22. And let's just watch this thing rip. So, I mean, that's a lot of fun. And some of the shots that we'll do later when tracking, sport mode's really fun because it will go up to 45 miles an hour. And so what you can do, what happens in sport mode is it goes so fast that when you're going forward you can actually see the propellers in the camera. And so, it's not really great for tracking going forward really fast cause you'll see the propellers. But if you learn how to fly backwards then you can track the subject just ripping it backwards. So sport mode's a lot of fun, but it is very fast. It's 45 miles an hour. You definitely want to be careful to fly within your comfort zone in the beginning. There is a beginner mode which I'll show you in studio. There's a beginner mode where it limits your speed. I can only imagine what that mode would be like in this wind right now. But that's basically it. You want to take little baby steps. You want to practice your hovering. Practice nose out. So, that's nose out. You want to do a lot of practicing with it nose out. And then when you've mastered that you want to practice nose in. So think in your mind "I want to go to my right". You no longer think that way. The more that you fly, you're not thinking "I want to go to my right". You're thinking "I want to go copter left". So, let's go copter left. Copter right. Copter left. Copter right. Copter back. Forward. Obviously, don't fly that aggressive. I'm just having fun in the wind with this sport mode. It's a lot of fun. So, if I put it back into program mode. I copter left. It's not gonna go as fast which is good when you're first starting out, especially if you've got it in beginner mode. And we're good to go. Baby steps. Practice with a flight simulator a ton. You'll save yourself a lot of battery, like having to charge a lot of batteries. And you'll save yourself a lot of cash not crashing your nice new drone. Alright, so now is the scary part right? They say, full-scale aviation they say "a good landing is one you walk away from". So, we're just gonna walk back to our landing pad. One thing about this wind is this will be a little tricky today just cause we'll have kind of rotors coming off that boat that we're gonna walk over back to. But hey, that's just the way it's gonna be today. So, we'll walk back here and you just want to take it easy. So, one thing you can do, I talked about flying nose out, if you're just starting out, keep it nose out and just back it up to you. So that way left's always left, right's always right. So I'm just gonna back it up. I'm pulling back on the stick. Make sure that, earlier today we had a feisty little dog run after the copter when I started to land. And so, you just want to be aware of your surroundings. Maybe you have a friend just letting you know that it's safe to land. And just bring it back to yourself. And just take your time. And then you hold the stick down just for a few seconds. It'll finally shut off the motors. Some folks have trouble where they'll tip the copter over because they'll use that combined stick command, you know like the one that we did to get the motors going. If you do that same thing to get it to shut off it will shut the motors off but sometimes it'll actually role or pitch the copter and you'll flip it over. It's not a huge deal. You might break a prop. But it's just better, pull the left stick down wait a few seconds, and you're good to go.

"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.