Weather Conditions Permitting
You're all set to get shooting, drone batteries charged and loaded, good to go, only, too bad, it's raining and a bit windy. What do you do? Nothing, you're no going anywhere.
When it comes to the weather and your drone video shoot, you are completely at the mercy of Mother Nature. Many times, the weather will give you zero options besides choosing to shoot on another day, and often this just isn't possible with deadlines. As painful as that is, drones are actually fairly fragile little flying machines and potential missiles; you’ll typically really only want to fly on clear or cloudy days with little to no wind.
Luckily, Mother Nature provides plenty of good days, and enough amazing variation to create all kinds of great drone shots:
Flying on Clear and Sunny Days
On clear sunny days you will see numerous shadows cast down on the terrain. (Time of day will also play a factor in this.) Typically at mid-day the shadows will be at their smallest, directly below what is casting them. This can result in bright highlights and colors.
Flying on Partially Cloudy Days
On partially cloudy days you will see large shadows from clouds cast down on the terrain. This can add some contrast and a good sense of depth to your scenes. (These are my favorite days to fly.) However, large shadows can make it difficult to expose your drone camera properly.
Flying on Overcast Days
On completely overcast days your skyline isn't going to be appealing, but the clouds act as a giant soft-box scattering the sun's light. This results in high-color saturation and lower contrast for your scenes. You can get some really nice imagery on overcast days as long as you minimize the skyline's visibility.
Flying on Windy Days (Don't)
Wind is by far going to be your biggest enemy when it comes to avoiding the dreaded 'jello' effect on your drone footage. If you can, avoid flying on windy days. I never fly if the winds are over 20mph or if there are a lot of heavy gusts. Gusts are actually the most dangerous, because they can occur very powerfully and unexpectedly.
The smaller your drone is, the more sensitive it will be to wind.
When Not to Fly
Some days you will want to avoid flying altogether. Avoid days with rain, misting, or heavy fog. Particularly avoid flying in fog on colder days because this can result in condensation forming on the props that can start to freeze.
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