Flying high: choose the RIGHT gear for stunning drone footage

ByGB Blog Official 2018-07-03 3448

Create your own stunning aerial footage easily with this short guide.

Smaller cameras and less expensive radio control technology have brought great aerial footage within reach of almost every videographer.

But truly cinematic shots are hard to get because shooting with an RC drone is not always straightforward. To get stunning aerial shots, you must use the appropriate equipment.

For example, you can't shoot a large indoor shot with a giant drone. Neither can you expect good high-altitude footage with a simple AR Drone – although a DJI Phantom does both pretty well.

When selecting your equipment, you need to consider the following points to achieve the best possible results:

The Drone:

There are pros and cons to every drone. You need to balance them to reach the correct buying decision.

An AR Drone is great for indoor shots:

It's light and has guards around the props to prevent damage.

A DJI Phantom is an unbelievable piece of machinery for a great price.

It can also obtain great outdoor shots at low altitudes.

But at altitudes over 300 feet, wind can be problematic.

3D drone

A big multicopter is also amazing in terms of the flight experience and overall performance, but good luck in close quarters.

Choose your drone wisely and if you are limited on how many drones you have, just base your shot selection on what you have to work with.

The Video Camera:

For jaw-dropping footage, use a drone that has a support mount for an add-on camera. An action camera is the ideal compact format camera for footage.

Unless you have boat loads of cash, you probably won't have a drone big enough for a DSLR camera or RED Scarlet or other super EPIC video camera.

Action cameras are fantastic because they are light, powerful and versatile. However, if your drone can carry it, move away from CMOS cameras.

Xiaomi Yi action camera

Some CMOS video cameras are worse than others, but all have some degree of shutter roll. The high-frequency vibrations of a drone can make your video crawl with squiggles from shutter roll.

A light CCD video camera will yield more stable and satisfying results for flight footage.


First Person View is a system for transmitting video from your camera and receiving it on the ground. The RC controls come complete with first person view transmission.

quadcopter FPV

Due to the growing popularity of RC drones, there are a lot of systems out there – however we recommend staying away from Goggle systems.

You want your eyes directly on the aircraft you're flying. Hand the FPV screen to the director, or keep it nearby to look at for reference.

If you wear goggles you will need another pilot present on a buddy system for ensuring safety and for landing / take off.


Whatever camera you use, make sure you use it with a gimbal.

3-axis gimbals provide the most stable footage by accounting for the different movements of the drone: forward, backwards, and even side to side.

gimbal for drone's camera

The gimbal's goal is simple: to keep the camera in a fixed position regardless of how the drone moves when your aircraft moves through the sky. However, not all camera gimbals are created equal.

Steer clear of any gimbals that put your camera at the end of a horizontal arm. These will actually exaggerate any vibration and make for shaky video.

Your gimbal should have no play in its rotational gears

A gimbal should tie directly into your drone control system.

High-end gimbals suspend the landing gear and camera gimbal from soft rubber grommets to cut out virtually all vibration.

Picking the right equipment is essential, but remember that practice makes perfect. So go fly and create stunning aerial footage – the sky's the limit!

 You may also want to read:
 Flying High | choose the BEST drone frame in 4 EASY steps
 Mastering drones | get maximum control with your transmitter


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