When I bought the DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone the first thing in had in mind were actually the photographic opportunities that it would bring. However, I was also looking forward to shooting some video with it. Here's a short video I edited from some of the footage I shot over this journey through Turkey.
Last week has been very quiet for me travel-wise. It turned out that all the car repairing I did during this trip was a waste of time and money. On my way to Izmir I passed through a tunnel, as I was about to exit, I hear a VERY loud bang. My coolant tank exploded and those who know anything about cars know that this is not a good thing… at all.
My beloved Landrover is now at the only authorised Landrover mechanic for hundreds of kilometres around. The engine sustained some damage from over-heating and the bill for the repairs has come to the cost of a small second-hand car.
Since I’ve had virtually nothing to do, I made the video. I learned a few things from the experience. I'd like to share them with you.
Some things I learned from making this drone video
There is no such thing as too much footage
It felt like I was getting a tonne of video. Different angles, different movements etc. I did get a fair bit, but, once you’re editing, it’s always better to have more options rather than less.
At the end of the day with this type of video, where scenes change quite often, I feel that I got barely enough footage. If I shot any less I’d have to have to repeat parts of the same scenes. This could be ok too, but I wanted the video to be an overview of the different places I traveled to.
Drone footage is great, but...
I now think that some footage from land would have been good. In particular, time-lapses and close ups.
Since my aim was to experiment rather than shoot something very specific, I’m ok with the lack of variety. However, in the future I definitely wouldn't waste the opportunities to shoot at least time-lapse footage wherever possible.
Advanced types of manoeuvres or movements have limited use
There were quite a few times that I programmed the drone to do some fancy routes with DJI’s Waypoints feature. I haven’t ended up using any of that footage in a way where you can see the advanced movement.
Of course this has to do with the type of video I’ve created too. If I had longer cuts, some of the movements might have worked well. Since the video is comprised of shorter scenes, I mostly just took bits and pieces from the longer routes.
Orbit function is awesome
The one manoeuvre which I did find very useful is Orbit. This is where you set an object or person which the drone will circle around. Even if I don’t use the footage of the entire circle, a part of it can still be used in many circumstances. I only wish I shot more of this type of footage.
Oh how I wish I had more sound!
The drone doesn’t capture sound. It would be useless anyway with the noise of the propeller buzzing. Since this limitation exists, sound has to be captured separately. For a one-man-team this is sometimes a pain or an impossibility.
For the scene of the sheep crossing the road, I really wish I had sound. If I had a sound-person with me, we could have captured all the commotion right as it was happening. Would have been great.
In some cases I captured the sound in the same places where I shot the footage. This was easy in the case of the scenes with the sea or when I was flying over the trees. However, for something like the sheep-crossing I needed to have a similar situation, where you’d hear all the sheep bleating. Unfortunately I didn’t encounter one.
How I edited and colour-corrected
I used Final Cut Pro X. I like it a lot. Simple and quick. Some things are a little confusing at first, but there are plenty of videos online that can teach you to do virtually anything.
The colour-correction is really basic here. I mostly only used the built-in function in Final Cut Pro to adjust the levels and in a few cases to make the footage cooler or warmer.
Well, that’s about all I can think of.
Are you shooting drone footage? Do you have any thoughts or tips? Please feel free to share them in the comments. If you have any questions, ask away. I’m still waiting for the car to be repaired anyway.