Ten Top Tricks to Improve Drone Video Editing

Drones have soared in popularity and quality in the past few years, however, not everyone can fly one! The thought of flying a drone can be overwhelming and if you want to film with one the challenge can increase substantially. Furthermore, drone video editing is not a simple hobby as it requires skill and learning.

You may have experimented with flying a drone as a hobby, perhaps capturing some amazing shots and now you are keen to enhance your skills. If you are serious about drone video editing, you need to be aware it will require research and commitment. This article will offer you some simple editing techniques to make your shots look more dynamic, interesting and professional.

When using drones in your work, there are a few technical points to consider. The ten tricks below will outline some skills to improve your drone video editing while giving you the ability to capture your exciting adventures from an aerial perspective…

What’s in the guide?

  1. Avoid any jerky movement
  2. Make use of natural light
  3. Try flying close to natural objects
  4. Watch out for the blades
  5. Consider installing a filter
  6. Shooting backward can create a great effect
  7. Discover your own perspective
  8. Be confident with the speed of the drone
  9. Make your edit look like a movie
  10. Don’t overuse your material
Drone and camera

1. Avoid any jerky movement

Inexperienced drone users tend to jolt the camera to the left and right attempting to get another shot. This isn’t necessary as during editing you can smooth out movements to create sweeping imagery going from one shot to the next. A professional drone shot should feel natural and organic.

Once your angle has been found, simply do a careful, slow-motion panning action with the drone. By moving the drone instead of the camera, you are on the correct path to capturing your perfect shot.

2. Make use of natural light

Natural light is a drone’s best friend. Plan to shoot your video during the “golden hour” (just before sunset) or first light (just after dawn). The light at these times will provide the necessary dramatic contrast to really set your video above the rest, plus the colors will be warm and ethereal, captivating your audience.

3. Try flying close to natural objects

During the flight of your drone, aim to map the flight path close to large elements such as rock faces and trees. By doing this, depth and motion will automatically be added to your video.

4. Watch out for the blades

A common difficulty for drone pilots is when, during shooting, the drone banks a little too much and the blades show up in the frame. Our top tip to avoid this is to fly the drone up until the point you want the shot to end. After this point just fly the drone backward and reverse the video during the editing process.

5. Consider installing a filter

Maintaining the natural movement in a scene as much as possible is the dream for any videographer. Sometimes however it is necessary to attach a filter to your camera to improve the video quality.

Examples

  • When shooting your video, you must set the shutter speed at double the frame rate.
  • If you are shooting at 24 fps (frames per second), your shutter speed should be 1/50th of a second.
  • If this lets in too much light, simply add a neutral density filter to your camera.

6. Shooting backward can create a great effect

In the world of drone video shooting, flying backward can modify a shot from an establishing shot to a reveal! When flying backward you should be able to notice details being recorded such as trees, buildings and people from a whole new aspect.

7. Discover your own perspective

Only once you have found your own unique shooting perspective will you truly separate your drone video editing from the rest. Always be on the lookout for extraordinary opportunities and locations (just be sure to avoid flying above crowded areas).

8. Be confident with the speed of the drone

It is essential to avoid your drone video edit appearing to slow on screen. This commonly happens in shots of large-scale environments. If this occurs it is advisable that when editing the footage, it is sped up, as this adds extra movement to the sequence.

9. Make your edit look like a movie

To create a professional edit, you must ensure the frame rate is never at 30 frames per second (as this will make your video look like reality TV)! Your video should always be shooting at 24 fps, assuming you want to shoot in 4K resolution to get that quality movie edit on your video. Shooting in this resolution means you will capture the tiniest details and give you the option to crop the frame during editing.

10. Don’t overuse your material

We all appreciate the beauty of drone shots, however, they can be overused. If you want to succeed in the drone video editing business, you must pick your highest quality, exceptional shots. Only capture your drone footage when it is necessary for your video as this will give it the high impact it deserves.

Final thoughts

You have the drone, the camera and your unique vision. Get creative by following these 10 expert tips and you will start to see the results in your footage. Finally, please take care when operating drones, know the laws in the area where you are planning your shoot and remember, drones should be treated as tools, not toys!

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