Skip to main content

Taking Flight: Drone Photography & Video

Lesson 12 of 23

Advanced Aerial Techniques


Taking Flight: Drone Photography & Video

Lesson 12 of 23

Advanced Aerial Techniques


Lesson Info

Advanced Aerial Techniques

Okay, well let's go ahead I'm gonna start the motors and I'm gonna take it through the little cycling oh I'm not gonna take it off huh? Look at that window yeah yeah yeah I had to get it off the ground so okay so what we're gonna do then is we're gonna go up above the trees and I'm just gonna actually come out here uh I'm gonna I'm gonna orient myself this way for the microphone um then I'm gonna put it in the land load so I've got the gimbals set so that I can for you let me, uh let me take a look here yeah okay so now I'm basically looking straight straight up the coast right now I could put it into into course locked and you may not appreciate because right now I'm just going forward actually what I'm pretty awesome yeah yeah it really is and so uh I'm gonna do is put it into free mood and then show you notice I'm just gonna start rotating the craft but it's still just going forward yeah, the wind is taking it a bit but you know, it's still doing a pretty good job of it. So um so th...

at's course lock and again if I go left I'm just gonna continue going left regardless of of what the craft is doing itself if I go right you got it just goes right so I don't have to worry about that I just it's locked onto a checkerboard grid is the way to think of it. I know several doctors have that capability you just have to turn it on and off yeah, yeah, they could do that but you have to turn it on in the software doesn't come out of the factory doing that exactly yeah, it really is so you know, we could go up and actually I think we've all been kind of interested in this building I hope I'm not hurting anyone's feelings when I refer to the soviet style architecture you can go up from there but we're well, that is a no fly yeah, I wasn't gonna go over and I was just going teo point down at it I was gonna point down to it so yeah let's let's actually focus on that and then in limit mode bring the pan down that's pretty interesting. So now I'm in free mode and I am, uh focused on that building and now I'm going to rotate if you watch the copter the copter is rotating pretty pretty rapidly right camera blocking and I'm going, oh, well I'm kind of going off a little bit to one side so I'm gonna fly forward which is gonna again copter its forward regardless of what the fosters now we're getting attacked ceo you were amazing shot that's what's beautiful about being able to look in the because you could really lineup what it is you're looking at yeah these buildings are actually really interesting from the air they really are maybe get well when I was lying anywhere over them that's the beauty of having something twenty or now I put it back too out of intelligent orientation control I'm gonna rotate and see the diamond is now pointing back to me right now when I push forward I know I'm coming back even though the camera's not pointing it right back to you right get the nice sort of parallel parallax my column was talking about you getting a little bit of parallax on that shot so those were those were nice shots of that building or those by the way if anyone cares about the numbers on the top speed of this is forty five miles an hour and somebody asked a question earlier about about the level of windy I have a rule of thumb which is half this speed half the top speed of the copter so if you have a forty five melon hour capability of speed than twenty two miles an hour wind is all I would fly it no more than that that would be the matte can't recover with winds blowing faster in your craft it's like trying to paddle upstream you know you gotta help paddle the current that's a great ratio would you use that for something smaller? Yeah. Top speed of the phantom is thirty five so that's a little under twenty and when you if you're like jeff and I have a pretty experienced but that just makes sense you know it's like twenty would be really on the edge but fifteen would be okay and if it's gusts of twenty that's what you have to measure by it's a constant twenty with gusts of like thirty or forty there's no way I try to fly so um now I've got that almost that same shot lined up I was gonna um also see if I can go you want to take another few minutes then go back to the statue most evenings and truck around satchel around it would be really nice yeah that's such a beautiful shot of any sort because I can't I don't have super good finest sight right? But don't just don't go too low yeah like lower than I had to go you're still in a fine yeah it's fine. So we're gonna pull back and really I this point I'm depending on my f p v tell me okay, now there's the statue except I'm losing the video booth okay let's come in a little closer and uh let's uh let's go ahead and put it in limit mode I'm gonna come down a little bit even though I'm controlling the tilt on camera it's camera is still responding how I'm rotating the copter right? So I'm gonna come in and then way down and then uh and then of course this is another thing that was talked about earlier was practicing rotating on a on an object right subject so we'll go ahead and put it need to make sure that I'm that I'm uh exactly where we want to be I'm gonna put in free mod free mode means that I'm controlling the kimble is free to move according to how I control it with the tilt and the pan okay and oh I stopped recording so are there any somebody had asked if there are any nibbles for nikon they're not they're not that smart are they do for the uh uh uh g h three in the change for and that's what I think uh mark mark's got mark and romeo have have one of those as well they've got the g h j three or four um and uh of course they've got him for like red cam you know some of the city council well, wait it's really picking up more now way race that camera and then send it back go get one more shot I'm not sure you have the answer to this but a question from scott and what is the advantage of having oh, it was like having less moving parts might be better no because you can go you can go with rendering sixty degrees if there's no legs getting in the way you've got all of that available visible rotation where a lot of these have fixed legs you know the camera has to stay pointed in one direction, right? But if you've got even uh, some of the smaller hexes have a retractable landing gear see if you've got a gimbal that's allowed that allows you to, um uh actually move you know, japan uh that camera around your legs out of the way in any direction with okay so now let's go ahead behind the shot up exactly what are we gonna try to do now? We're gonna we're gonna try to look do what we were ready to do before, which is tio lineup the statue actually it's a good spot? I like that spot and uh just so I'm just I'm just trying to position the camera and now I'm going to start flying around. I haven't practiced this ahead of time look at that we lost the recording is that is that they were trying to accomplish the same concept where colin was earlier uh trying to to do a shot certainly in the light post here um we're trying to get that with the statue here, but uh, you know, I thought we were talking about, you know, practicing. And this is, uh, practice with this one, like I do, because in some ways, it's easier to fly than the phantom because it's larger and, you know, it's got more power, and, uh, it takes the wind better because it just has more mass. Um, but, you know, like, uh, they were saying figure eights are really nice thing to do so way with eagles weighing information. So, you know, you get I've done this a lot, and you get pretty good at it. And once you do this, then when you find yourself, you know, there are times when you find yourself in a situation where you just have to react instinctively, like you get to close to that telephone pole and you can't think which way is it pointing in which way do I have to compensate? You just have to know, and you have to do it. So that's, why you practice a lot with this one as well as any of the ones that fly. Um, a question from chris taylor. You okay? Um again, what is operating range? It really depends on your transmitter, receiver pair. Like uh right mark and romeo were talking about so with my different ones you can yeah yeah you can change him and use different ones and different antennas with the setup I have now I've got these air are good antennas they're a lot better than the dye poles and so with this set up I've had it uh out eighteen hundred feet for islam anyway for me in oregon just a couple weeks ago I had it eight hundred feet and about out into the ocean and about three hundred, four hundred feet in the air I got some really nice shots uh in oregon a couple weeks ago so uh so yeah and again I've had it uh well let's just say I've had it up to four hundred feet above ground level way won't go any further that especially since didn't like it but you know actually you have my phantom I've had in iceland at sixteen hundred feet above ground level where legal yes, well it's not that it's illegal look here, it's just the fda recommends that you not fly it about a hundred feet but that's a whole nother so we'll leave that for peter. Yeah, so anyway, I've got about a minute and a half left so it's probably a good time to bring it in for lord it down and then we can answer more questions they're any good landing shots landing shots howard we're gonna be taking a shot of ourselves okay all right another flight with no crashes expression earlier especially with this way yeah okay so we're down and down and down and down and done um you were had a technical question you've been trying to ask it I want to know are you running your batteries in parallel or siri's carollo and what's the difference well um parallel just means that you're positive in the positive two batteries come together to make one positive and the two negatives come together to make one negative so the they're uh you don't get more volt h you just get more current okay enter flight land longer flight time plus if one of them goes out during the flight you the other one is still operating so it's a bit of a safety issue now I have these are technical thing is ten thousand million power batteries or ten thousand ten and power batteries so you got twenty am powers which lasts about eighteen minutes on most depends on the wind conditions to some extent it's not fight yeah if it's not fighting a lot where you're not flying forty five and then the others I have been a backpack in here I've got uh sixteen so they're from ten to sixteen so ten to sixteen but you only fly one of those and it gives you out fifteen minutes so little less way not quite and have you know a little bit more than half assed much power and you get fifteen minutes of flight and that's that's a nice set up it's a little more maneuver maneuverable because there's less weight craft handles a little bit better you could really tell actually tell the difference um but you only have one battery and if that battery fails it's gonna come down so but that's not likely to have other questions how many seas on how many cells? Yeah. No, not that's. What a six cell right? But the psi rating is this rating is three and a half for thirty five thirty five that's a thirty five thirty six um the charging unit there's it's two parts so you have a power supply unit that's about this big uh and it it basically takes a c and turns it into d c and then you have the chart the smart charging unit that charges two things at the same time two batteries at the same time so you can set him up and it even you can program it to charge a different rates. And, um but it's the safest rate uh that these batteries like in march two batteries in about fifty fifty five minutes so it's pretty fast it's a lot faster than the phantom about I know those things like take two hours earlier we were talking about oh sorry uh coming go ahead question about before um in regard to that ledger running a twenty four mil can you go with a larger lens or a smaller lands or that's it you're committal too. If I had it up here I could show you right now if you look at it the cameras perfectly balances pointing forward on the gamble if you put the lens cap on, it'll sag down. So is that a twenty four to eight that you're working on? Oh, yeah, yeah. So so yeah it's one camera and one lens and that's that's all that gimbal can handle the there's ah, nobel prize sitting on the shelf for somebody I'm being kidding or somebody who who develops a gimbal thatyou khun in real time to use different camera and also in regard to that panel from the first like that's gonna be a three sixty panel you're making no who's. No, I didn't do a three sixty paddle it's just gonna be a wide it's gonna be like this, you know, white house speculation. One forty question over here. Is that a question about actual frame rate for shooting video? Um is there something that you particularly like to shoot like fur sample like sixty p d ever over crank to get a different look like I'm curious about what if uh good racial would be if like flying speed and shooting speed to get a really, really smooth pan or a really really smooth shot I'll let you handle that yeah yeah there's a lot of variations in that a lot of times actually before we had gimbels on the phantoms a lot of people would shoot sixty or one twenty of course they've got less resolution but then you could slow it down and and smooth out your flight uh we went to to access gimbels people still do that help smooth it out what not? I typically use software as much as I can and gives the adobe software toe to manage that and I'll be going into that something form but um I'll use a different frame rates depending on what the purpose is uh like in my example this morning either with the horse in slow mo that was all shot at one twenty and uh better again it was a smaller resolution, but I was able to slow that down and that that was on a phantom that didn't have a gimbal that was before the gimbal but is able to follow the horse around and it's still get to see yeah the muscles moving in the hair flowing so for an effect that was the purpose for that I usually don't use frame rate is a smoothie mechanism because I like a nice clean frame right typically I'll fly my gopro's two point seven k on the black uh two point seven k thirty unless I have to match somebody is doing a film production holden twenty for then I'll shoot in twenty four but typically that's might go to you and I shoot wide because I'm I don't care if there's legs or anything in that I want the space I want the room and I wanted teo end it easily into my word flow seiken crop down in two point seven king trump that down to a one eighty really nice get rid of some of that other annoyance out there and it gives you a really nice shot without losing any resolution what about like speed of the cock with speed of the you know the copter dear like set it up for like fifteen miles and now we're like, what have you found actually works? Just minutes depends on the shot um if you want if you're trying to get you know really fast shot, then you're just get fly faster um and it really depends on the conditions to that one shot that I did at the race track um I kind of backed off from the er the windmills and then I spent I spent it up obviously from here so I could get down into position for the car to come by I did us did a sweeping pan and I also pan the camera down, tilt it down while I swept around it's like you get that shot and then I just sped up the shot because I flew in real time took a while for the car to get around the other side of the track. I just took my time flew over there, got in position, I could speed everything up in in post, you know, but it just depends on the look you're doing. If you're wanting flight, do a nice flyover over some rocks or landscape or whatever it's, you know, having the f tv viewer will tell you how fast you should go. So it's not really a set speed, necessarily, but it's something that you you will learn to do as you do it. Now, if you're setting up some of the site plan theo using ground station or or a droid plan or using something like that, then you can actually dictate, okay, between point a and point b, I want you to go this fast and so you can tell it in that. So again, that's something that you're kind of hoping is gonna work right and you know you send it off and so that's more experimenting but as you get those kind of things and you know you may you may find out what works good you're trying to get you got a great anymore questions here now what we know okay, take a time for a couple more questions. That's good. All right, so a question from e lost it there for a second it was about here we go, john fully have either of you it worked in conjunction with another cinematographer before. So say you're the pilot and then you've got a cinematographer that you're working with well, when that what does that really, uh for romeo way mark may have pilot yeah, they again that's that duel pilot set up where you've got, uh, somebody's manning the craft somebody's manning the camera and, uh, being able to, you know, I think that's part of the dance too, because to just show up it's like, ok, I'm a flyer, you man, the camera, you aim the camera where you want it might take a lot more work to kind of feel that out. I mean, I bet if he'd come as a team and I could see that you'd work that, um, if I understand the question right, if it's one, where is it? Hey, I'm a flyer, miss uh one man shooter and I have to work with somebody else on a set that's shooting everything else I'm just coming in to do aerials I think that's just a different type of relationship it's just communication and again goes back to what are you shooting? What do you need? And that tells you what kind of gear you need, what the camera is going to shoot with lands all of them. Just add a few sure that, um as much work as I've done with my phantom and phantom on the one thousand um I find of course, mostly what I do is still but I do I do video as well. Um that being a pilot photographer is is really optimum. Um and I try to think of how that would work you first of all, you're gonna have to be a team insure works together all the time, but, uh, I think the only real need for that is going to be setting up complex shots, probably on a movie set right where you know you're probably gonna be tracking a vehicle. You know, our james bond jumping from one vehicle to the next or something like that, and so you've gotta have somebody who's paying complete attention to flying craft and then the other the other person is then paying complete attention toe focusing on the action so that those are the kinds of applications that I see a dual pilots set up is ideal for anything less than that complex situation. I think you're probably gonna be better off with a single pilot. I have to agree, because there's something about lion that shot a lot of times it's it's an emotion of the craft that's getting the shot that you really want isn't just dipping the camera pinned down and spent under out there they're integrated. It's really going great really is definitely are there any other final sort of your top techniques? Uh, that we haven't talked about yet, that we weren't able to necessarily show but that you might share for people to try and see well again and then in a single pilot mode, you, um one thing you don't control is the sorry the role the role is stabilized, but you don't have an active control over it, so you've got to take that into consideration. You know, when you're when you're creaming your shots especially, and so there are times when you wish you did, you might want to bank the shot to give a sense of motion and you can't you can't actually do that no, not with this one thousand unless you go to a duel pilot mode, right? So that so bank shot would be one because you know sometimes you want it to look like there's an airplane and you use you turn you want to see that bank I suppose you could do it a little bit post that yeah that's where again you you have more resolution than what you need uh, right then you can do some of that yeah, yeah create a little more that motion but thea other thing that comes to mind to respond to your question is that, um and this again is jumping from being a landscape photographer on the ground to becoming an aerial photographer and, um first what first it's rather frustrating because you take your craft up and you take a bunch of shots and you get him back and you look at him on your laptop that evening. Oh, man, this is I just don't like anything I shot this rocks cut off for this tree is you know, and then you realize that what you really need to do is a reconnaissance shoot so you need to take your uric aircraft up your copter up um and and really that's good good way your phantom and your us one thousand can work together so you could go up do some re kon with your phantom which is light and easy um and just get a bunch of shots and video go back that evening and look him over that scene then you'll say hi right now I see how I want to approach this area and really that's not that much different than the way you approach landscape oftentimes is a landscape photographer you go to an area in the first day you shoot you just don't get anything until you really understand the lay of the land and we have to live there for a few days wait for the weather I mean and the weather that's a different issue that some of these just amazing masters have done over the years this kind like get that moment of perfect light perfect composition you know, they may have had to sit there for three days on and you know it's extended duck hunt yeah, yeah sitting in a blind that's, right? Steven thank you so much for I e yes, thank you for joining us here today with your a wealth of knowledge tell us where we can find out more about you. Where were you and follow you sure. After those folks at home, my photography website is my name's stephen we craft dot com stephen with a ph um and then I have a website um for the aerial photography um it's a separate thing that's aero vision throw and it's a e r o vision pro dot com yeah, so those two websites on, uh, my email, I think, is probably jeff has links to that, but steve at aero vision pro dot com er is a easy one to remember. Just remember it's it's, a r o vision when you get there. Your email address out over creative live. I welcome questions, not a problem. That's through thirty years in the university, so I'm used to it. Exactly. Well, thank you again, let's. Give stephen around. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Class Description

Drone photography and videography captures some of the most stunning images out there, but the tools, techniques, and gadgets used to capture the action are often confusing and difficult to master. Join Jeff Foster and special guests for an exciting and highly informative class and get a running start at unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) photography.

In this course, you'll learn how to capture stunning aerial shots with an impressive range of aerial gear – including; 3D Robotics multicopters, DJI multirotors, GoPros, DSLRs and more. You'll get an introduction to the best tools for beginners and see demonstrations of the sophisticated gear used by the most in-demand professional photographers and filmmakers. You’ll learn essential skills for controlling a UAV flight; basic flight controls, necessary equipment for successful shooting, planning and lining up the perfect shots, flight prep and safety, waypoint navigation and more. You'll gain an understanding of the production and post-production techniques unique and essential to aerial photography – including how to stabilize video, create stunning panoramic photos, and remove lens distortion in your photos and videos.

If you're ready to explore this wonderful world from a new elevated visual perspective, then this is the course for you!

Guests include:
Colin Guinn -
Mark Johnson and Romeo Dursher -
Stephen Wheatcraft -
Peter Sachs -
Russell Brown -

CreativeLive is proud to announce that Jeff Foster was a Bronze winner in the 36th Annual Telly Awards for this class.   With nearly 12,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, this is truly an honor. Congratulations Jeff!  

What You Will Learn in This Course

1. Gearing Up: Intro to Aerial

    • Jeff will take us through some of the various quadcopters and multirotors that are commonly used in the hobby/commercial photography markets today. Basic concepts of pre-flight prep, safety, equipment, and terminology will be covered for various disciplines.

2. Basics of Flight

    • Colin Guinn from 3D Robotics joins Jeff in demonstrating the basics of good flight, best practices to improve your skills and get those important shots you want!

3. Practical Application – Commercial Flight

    • Jeff leads off with some examples of fixed-wing drones used for various commercial and environmental uses, such as precision agriculture, search and rescue, firefighting and land surveying. Colin Guinn shows us how 3D Robotics is already addressing these important fields with advanced technology.

4. Advanced Flight for Film Production 

    • Romeo Durscher and Mark Johnson of to show us the S1000 octocopter and how to use it to get those high-definition aerial video shots that filmmakers demand. Stephen Wheatcraft then brings his S1000 octocopter in to demonstrate how he gets beautiful landscape panoramas with his setup. 

5. The Future of Drone Flight: Laws 

    • We will be talking in the studio with drone expert and visionary, Colin Guinn from 3D Robotics about his vision of the industry – where it has come; where it is today and where he sees it in the near future. We are then joined via a live video feed from Maine with drone legal expert Peter Sachs, Esq. To discuss the recent mandates and restriction imposed by the FAA in the US and what that means to the industry on a global scale.

6. Processing Aerial Footage in Post w/ Premiere

    • Jeff will show us some footage from the previous day's flights as well as some examples that might need a little “help” with stabilization and color correction, using Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

7. Processing Aerial Photos in Post w/ Photoshop

    • We're honored to have THE Russell “Doc” Brown from Adobe join us for a head-spinning session in Adobe Photoshop CC with tips on working with drone-captured images and what projects he currently has brewing!

8. Processing Aerial Video in After Effects

    • Jeff returns to turn up the heat in Adobe After Effects to share with us some of his techniques for footage stabilization, lens correction, tilt-shift lens effects and much more!


fbuser da1b2c58

This is a great course! This workshop was very professionally put together. This was my first experience with CreativeLive and I was impressed at every turn with how well everything turned out. The content was engaging, the guests and instructor gave out many many useful tips on responsible drone operation... I can't say enough great things about this course. I'll be watching many of the segments over and over again to pick up all of the quick golden tips that were shared, as well as picking up the proper industry terms for types of shots, or piloting techniques. Very impressive! Thanks to Jeff Foster, his guests and the entire crew of Creative Live for making this happen. Simply Amazing!

a Creativelive Student

Not for experienced/informed pilots looking for the next level. It was a good intro for those new to the concept of UAV's in photo/video but never got specific enough about maneuvers, equipment, or shooting styles to be useful. The outdoor flying was a complete mess. Demos of what the equipment looked like, not how to best use it creatively. Glad I watched it live. The chat rooms were very informative.