10 Drone Video Tips to Improve Your Videos

Every photographers knows the importance of getting high quality footage from their gear and a drone is no exception. Here are 10 tips to improve your drone videos (and drone shots as well!)

Improve your drone videography with these 10 drone filming tips:

1. Change Your Gimbal Sensitivity

Filming with your drone one of the first things you might notice is how quick the gimbal pitch speed is. If you go into Advanced Settings you can modify the gimbal pitch speed and smoothness. This is one of the easily one of my favorite drone videography tips especially if you’re using a DJI drone. Play with the settings to find a smoothness you like but anything is improvement over the quick default settings.

Dji App Gimbal Pitch Speed Options
Gimbal pitch settings in the DJI app

2. Use Simple Angles While Filming

There are plenty of drone filming techniques but the more tilts and twists you do while filming will take your viewer out of the moment. When recording a video on your drone I recommend using simple paths and angles. Simple sweeping and reveal shots will keep your viewer engaged and not make them think they are watching drone footage. If you need more ideas for angles check out this article by Pond5.

3. Use Manual Camera Settings

Your drone video footage will looks much more professional if you are shooting with manual camera settings instead of auto. When you are panning from a darker area to a brighter area auto exposure will make the lighting in your scene rapidly change. This also goes for white balance, combining manual settings and white balance will make the footage of your video appear more cinematic.

4. Use ND Filters on Your Drone

If you’re filming a video using the rule of 2 times your frame rate should be your shutter speed is important. When flying during a sunny day using a 1/120th frame rate for a 60fps video will put too much light on the sensor. This leads to higher shutter speeds that will cause your footage to look jittery.

When filming during the day an ND or Polarizer filter will do wonders for your frame rate and footage. Think of a filter as sunglasses for your drone. I use PolarPro filters on my Mavic Pro which I recommend and come in a few levels of intensity.

5. Use D-Log or D-Cinelike Color Profiles

If you’re going to color grade your footage using D-Log or D-Cinelike will give you a flat color profile to give you the full potential of your footage. If you do not plan on editing your footage I don’t recommend using this option since the footage will look dull.

6. Know Where to Fly Using AirMap

There is nothing worse than arriving somewhere to fly your drone and finding out it’s a no fly zone. The AirMap app give you an easy to view map of all flight restrictions, including schools, prisons, airports, no fly zones, and more. I highly recommend using AirMap to plan your flight beforehand. You can also access AirMap on their website.

DJI has gotten better about showing restrictions in their app as well, just remember to update your drone for the latest restrictions.

Airmap Nyc
Air restrictions in NYC on airmap

7. DJI Mavic Pro Tip: Use Portrait Orientation

This is more of a photography tip but can also be used for filming. If you have a DJI Mavic Pro it’s one of the few drones that allows you to turn the camera into portrait orientation.

Additionally you can map portrait capture option to the directional pad on the controller so you can quickly switch between portrait and landscape capture.

Dji Mavic Portrait Capture Option
Portrait capture option in the DJI app

8. Enable Overexposure Warning

It’s impossible to recover detail from an overexposed shot so enabling the overexposure warning in the settings will help to see when you’re overexposing. With this setting on you’ll see a zebra pattern on overexposed areas. This will make it easy for you to quickly identify when you’re over exposing a shot.

9. Enable Grid Lines

To line up your shots better turning on the grid lines in the settings can help with following the rule-of-thirds. Most drones will let you select different grids to overlay your footage. Additionally you can turn on a center pointer which helps with keeping things in the middle of the frame.

10. Shoot Using Cinematic Mode

Once you’ve got an idea of what you’re shooting enabling Cinematic Mode in the DJI app will offer smoother videos. Cinematic mode does this by lower the yaw speed and braking distance will be longer. This may seem like one of the most obvious drone filming tips but it took me a few months to realize this feature even existed.

I hope these drone video tips improve your videos. You can keep up to date with my latest videos on my YouTube channel.

Let us know what drone you’re flying with in the comments!

Leave a Comment

3 comments on “10 Drone Video Tips to Improve Your Videos”

  1. I have the magic air 2 and love it, still learning everything from flying to camera settings, and even best way to take shots. Need to go to the ocean to unleash what it can do with beautiful pictures and videos

  2. It’s surprising how many people aren’t aware of the rule of thirds. My brother got his first camera recently and wasn’t aware of that…
    And like you said, it’s also applicable for video shoots!