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1.2 Drone Project Uses

Drones can be a valuable addition to all kinds of projects. In this lesson you'll learn about typical and alternative uses for drones, as well as a few uses that aren't recommended.

2 lessons, 06:29

Free Lesson

Free Lesson
Drone Project Uses

2.Equipment and Setup
2 lessons, 09:33

Technical Specs

Cameras and Gear

1 lesson, 04:46

Shooting Techniques

4.Outdoor Factors
2 lessons, 07:29

Weather Factors

Timing and Time of Day

5.Camera Setup
2 lessons, 12:46

Camera Settings


6.Maintenance and Preparation
2 lessons, 11:23

Routine Maintenance

Planning for a Shoot

2 lessons, 07:30

What Is Legal?

How to Obtain UAV Insurance

8.Drone Services
1 lesson, 02:36

Service Ideas

1 lesson, 02:05


1.2 Drone Project Uses

In this lesson, we're gonna answer the question, are drones right for your project? We're also gonna look at some ways you can use drones in your projects that you might not have considered. As a side note though, before we get started, throughout this course I'm gonna be using the term drone to describe these unmanned aerial vehicles that we're gonna be working with. They go by many names, UAVs, UAS, quadcopters for those with four propellers, octocopters for those with eight propellers. The term drone seems to be the most common terminology out right now, and is used the most when describing these aircraft. We'll start with the question, are drones right for your project? Well, do you need aerial videos or photos for your project? If the answer's yes, then I would highly recommend using a drone for your project. The reason for this is because there really is no other cost effective way available right now to get aerial shots. This is part of the reason drones have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years. If you just go back five to ten years ago, most of the aerial shots we're getting now from drones were not possible. And in order to even get aerial footage, you would've had to rent a helicopter and pay a pilot to fly you around. This meant that aerial footage was limited only to big-budget productions and Hollywood movies. Areal drone shots are kind of unexplored territory for the low-budget and indie film making community. When you seen and experienced and aerial shot in video, it's almost hypnotizing to see the landscape from this new perspective. It really isn't like any other shots we're used to seeing. The slow cinematic movement of drones, and even the ability to just sit idle in one place in the air, that's something that's completely new, that even a helicopter can't do effectively. There is a learning curve that comes with flying drones, but after 10 or so practice flights you should have enough basic coordination to get the shots you need. Just remember to always be safe and stay within your means. Now, if you don't require high above aerial shots for your project, there's actually a lot of other uses for drones that you might not have considered. Often a small drone can replace a lot of large and heavy equipment that might not be as mobile on a shoot. Jib shots and long dolly shots are a good example of this. Obviously, the pros using a drone instead of a jib would be the amount of equipment that you would have to haul and set up. A lot of heavier jibs require more than one person to operate, as well, so if you're on a budget often a drone can be a much cheaper solution to hiring an extra gaffer or somebody else to help you with a jib. Not to mention, a smaller drone can be carried in a small backpack or carrying case. This drastically increases your mobility for your shoot, and in many cases won't require you to rent a larger vehicle because now you don't have to haul around all that extra equipment. Pros using a drone instead of a dolly would be that you're no longer limited by the length of your dolly track. You don't have to spend a lot of time setting up and balancing your track. Since the drone is in the air, you don't have to worry about the rough terrain. Drones can even be a substitute for filming from a vehicle, depending upon your shot needs. Often a camera can be tough to balance on, or from, the window of a car. And, again, depending on the terrain, this can affect the stability of the shot. With a drone shooting from the air, you're gonna take the terrain out of the equation. Now, there are other cases where a drone might not be the best choice for your project. Weddings are a good example of this. Now, a drone may be great to get shots of the bride and groom before the service, but I'll never expect to see a drone flying around when a wedding's taking place. [SOUND] The fact is they're just too loud and distracting for any scenarios like that. Anything with dialogue will obviously also pose a problem, because, again, all you're gonna be able to hear is just the humming coming from the drone. And a lot of drones don't even record audio because of this. But that's fairly obvious, and I would think that most people would expect to be recording the audio separate anyway, or at least doing audio dubbing after the fact. If you have a drone shot that requires actor's audio being recorded, what I'll do is, I'll get my aerial shot first. Then I'll land my drone, safely power it down, then I'll walk to that location with a mobile recorder and have the actors repeat their audio. That way I can just sync that up in post, and it's gonna save me a lot of post-processing, from having to match audio that I might record in the studio. A drone will also put out a fair amount of wind. Nearly all of it's gonna be directly below the drone, so this shouldn't pose much of a problem. But if you're trying to capture a shot directly above someone, which really I don't recommend it for safety reasons, just know there's gonna be a fair amount of wind pushing down on them. This will also stir up quite a bit of dust if you're filming in an area that is dry or sandy. So you want to be careful because this dust can kick back up and get on your drone and your camera. It won't pose a big hazard to the flight of your drone. But the last thing you wanna have happen is get all your actors set up and ready, and then right before the shot you take off with your drone and you stir up a bunch of dust In the location and in the environment, and it gets on the actors. Make sure you take off a moderate distance away or a few minutes before your intended shot. Also, it's good to know that animals will easily be spooked by the drone floating in the air. Some animals will run away, other animals, like dogs may bark at it or even chase after it. So just be mindful when shooting around animals, and it's probably not a good idea to shoot at a zoo. Flying indoors is kind of a gray area. Even if you're really well experienced, I don't recommend it, so if you're just starting out I would definitely avoid flying indoors all together. I recommend logging at least 100 flights or more before doing a test flight indoors. And you also want to make sure you have the right drone for that type of work. Some newer drones, such as the DJI Phantom 3 and the Inspire 1, come equipped with a vision positioning camera underneath the drone to help keep it steady when it comes close to the ground, even without a GPS signal. So this can make flying indoors much easier. However, I still don't recommend flying in anything smaller than a large maintenance garage or a warehouse, just because things can go wrong really quickly. In the next lesson, you're gonna learn some general information about drones, such as technical specs and limitations, that are really good to know if you're a beginner UAV pilot.

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