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Everything you should know about Aerial cinematography

“The best shots of all times are taken aerially”

Whilst shooting of films, there are lots of equipment’s that are used. Film makers ensure that the scene is captured from all angles. The cameras are generally plotted in all sides to get the best view as well as to capture the details of the scene. There are cameras on the side, there are cameras in the air, cameras that function inside the water and even cameras that are held by people running in the same time with the actor and actress viral shorts taken. All the things are happening at the same time simultaneously. It is said that some of the best shots that have been ever taken in history are taken from the air and were a part of drone film making. The advantage is that of the elevated vantage point which a person can hardly see in day to day life which gives aerial cinematography an edge over all the other shorts that are just taken from the ground.

Aerial cinematography defined

Aerial cinematography has been stepping in the industry of films since quite a long time now. From creating movies that involve war scenes, action movies, heroic scenes, romantic intervals, and movements of aero planes and trains all the shorts are majorly shot with another camera that is a moving parallel with these movements. This is exactly where drone film making snoops in. Back in the days it was only possible for certain high rated budgeted movies from Hollywood to basically purchase drones and conduct aerial cinematography. With the advent of drone film making, drone shots have become easier to be taken by local film makers with the reduction of drone costs. Before stepping into the details of aerial cinematography, let’s understand what the meaning of the term is first.

Aerial cinematography tends to hold tremendous value when it comes to drone film making and film making in general. The word basically is the use of a drone, helicopter or any device that moves in the air to take shots. Precisely from the bird’s eye view. Footage captured from elevated region heads to give a broader view of the entire region, which makes it kind of interesting to understand the different aspects of what is happening in the scene. Aerial cinematography tends to prove a point by the usage of drone shots in their process, and making all of this happen. 

Due to the lack of drone availability in the past and the hiked prices of drones, it was pretty much difficult to take drone shots or aerial shots and that would help the film makers get the view. And often low-budget into film makers used to avoid shots that involved drones to cut down the price and producing films that are cost-effective. But due to the increased drone technology and this being the trend of the hour; the availability of drones in different regions at a sustainable price has led many filmmakers for opting for drone’s usage in their films. This has led to capturing more of the area in one single frame as well as giving the perspective of aerial photography to the audience and making them more indulged in the film. This is not just an audience retention technique but it also adds a unique perspective to the films. With the advancement of drone shots and aerial cinematography, drones are not only used for taking a single shot or for giving a Birdseye view. 

When is aerial cinematography best used for?

So let’s dig into some advantages of drones in filmmaking.

  • Apart from just providing an aerial perspective, they have enhanced visual experiences for people who are interested in films and to film makers.
  • They have reduced the cost of arranging cranes and helicopters just to take a small shot.
  • They are more affordable as compare to any other device that goes up in the air to take a shot. Plus, drone shots also provide 3-axis yaw, pitch and a role stabilizing Gimbal shots which is perfect for aerial cinematography.
  • Drones has a capacity to replace the language of equipment’s like that of cranes and trolleys that or once used in filmmaking.

Drone shots has become a niche in aerial cinematography, which has opened the doors for various things like-

Establishing shorts from an elevated vantage point

A shot of scenery or a perfect starry night or fireworks, need to be taken by a drone by film makers so that it establishes a perfect scene and can capture expensive landscapes. Drone shots in filmmaking are perfect when the story of the film tends to revolve around geographical aspects.

Chasing different scenes

Chasing a scene that is moving fast and away from the focus of the camera are perfect when they are captured by drone film makers. They provide a nice aerial cinematography view from an elevated vantage point. Drone shots prove out to be impressive while capturing a helicopter move or a train passing by. A small example for the same can be given from the movie Jumanji when Nick Jonas was basically flying the helicopter to rescue from the island. These scenes are perfectly taken with the help of drones as the price of the drones can match with high clarity, which you can prove to be a perfect scene, for the film makers.

Classic shot of the landscape

During the time of a war scene where there are various helicopters, flying or there is air rocket launch or torpedo and missiles that our chromatically shown in movies, are nicely captured with the help of drone shots. This becomes interesting in terms of aerial cinematography as drones become one of the perfect devices to shoot what is in the scene and creating a subjectivity for the audience and giving a point of view of people flying through helicopters or basically shooting a missile.

Giving an entire gods eye view perspective

It is like capturing a proposal or a romantic scene from above, which gives oh god’s eye view making all this tremendously out of the box and dramatic for people watching the film.

Apart from the drone’s usage, strictly restricted to films, there are various different things in which drone shots have started to encroach and have set their camp. Few of these fields are real estate photography, wedding photography, advertising, news, and documentary making. Let’s understand each of them in detail to get a different perspective. 

When it comes to real estate photography, the details of a building or a tower can be captured by drone shots, which quickly becomes effective and adds as great marketing of real estate. It is observed that real estate aerial cinematography proves out for a better listing in the market as drone shots proved to be an edge over basic video or photography.

The era of the drone

Another important field that drones are captured is wedding photography. Weddings are captured from an elevated height, just to provide the dramatic and filmy element as well as capturing all the people involved in the wedding from a greater height. 

Journalism has also taken a toll ever since aerial cinematography has stepped in the field of news. Many organizations and news companies have started to include drone shots to get exact on-site reports. This has also helped in making journalists, covering all the possible conflicts, natural disasters, human disasters, immediately at the time of occurring with the help of the ease of drones. Covering a story, the time it is happening has majorly become the focus of news channels ever since drones have started to make their way into the industry.

The advertising sector has also been benefited with all the drone shots as drones allow to capture images and displays of ads in a cost-effective way. 

We understand that aerial cinematography has become an important part and parcel of film making and in the life of film makers; drone shots contribute tremendously in making films, film makers a great success as well as providing a point of view from an elevated height. 

Read more:

:- Drones in Logistics

:- Drones in farming


– Smruti Sachin Puntambekar 

(Data Processing)


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