Aerial Videography 101

What is Aerial Videography?

Simply put, aerial videography means high-quality filming from the air, usually with a drone. Using these modern tools, video can jump into the air whenever and wherever needed.

There’s an ever-growing number of aerial videography drones with various capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. The two main categories are the rotor-wing aircraft and fixed-wing aircraft. Rotor wings (as in rotational or spinning, like a helicopter) can be in the air for about 30 minutes or more per battery charge. Fixed wings (like an airplane) can require more traditional piloting skill, but might be in the air for several hours at a time.

One other point of interest is the number of motors. Engine power allows drones to carry more weight, and some industrial rotor-wing drones will have up to 8 motors.


Drone aerial videography is buzz-worthy no matter what, and often has fairly high-quality video at far lower costs than shooting from a plane or helicopter. They can fly high to get a complete view of whatever is being filmed, either as a brief break from close shots or for the entire time. Drones can also easily fly back and forth several times, or perform dramatic swooping shots regular pilots might not be comfortable attempting.

If you were thinking of hiring a helicopter to film an event, consider drones instead. Aerial Innovations Southeast points out that when you have more people watching your aerial videography and spending longer at your website, search engines will rate you higher. Video just brings more attention, and the extra buzz around aerial videography means a video project is more likely to be seen and shared.

Real estate firms love aerial videography to film that unique view of an area for advertising, including dimensions, layout, and shape. Remember that potential buyers might live anywhere in the world, yet they want to see the property as if they were walking around it, and low aerial videography encourages them to buy faster.

Aerial Videography Ideas to Try

High Altitude Aerial Videography is the classic approach, generally from a couple hundred feet up to give a powerful new view over the sights below. This might be map-like for planning, a birds-eye for nature shots of water features and mountains, or filming construction sites, damaged properties and homes for sale. You get to skip renting an airplane, hiring a pilot, licensing and insuring everything, even submitting flight plans.

Tarillo Vue suggests taking Smooth Aerial Videography, where the drone stays closer to the ground with slow shots through tight confining spaces or near people. They include touring buildings, car lots, farms, manufacturing centers, or filming people in boats on the water or indoor shots at events. In other words, anywhere you want to fly low to capture those details.

A perfect place for drones is entertainment events with large crowds, filming everything people wish they could have seen. The key here is to ensure that you’re working with an FAA-certified pilot and someone who is well versed in regulations about when, where, and how to fly. When you have someone who knows what they are doing, you can get the best possible shot and keep everyone safe in the process. Check out the project setup and backstage, help those at the event learn where different important areas are or get more angles than they could normally see, and don’t forget sizzle reels. Drones can also be used as part of an event, such as dropping small prizes or tickets.

Autonomous Repeat Shots are when a drone is programmed to take a specific flight route many times in order to film anything from before-and-after construction videos to dawn-till-dusk advertising time-lapse videos. A great shot is to fly low near the landscape and gradually tilt up for a dramatic reveal of the site. Tom’s Tech Time promotes the Orbit Shot, flying in a wide circle around the filming location, and notes that some drones even have modes to do this on their own.

Finally, Social Media Today mentions Precision Motion Filming, when the drones get near fast targets like athletes playing a sport. Tracking shots are spent flying alongside something in motion, with a roughly consistent distance and height. Chase shots involve following a target moving at high speeds, such as cars and boats racing, often from behind but also going ahead on a set path. One tip here for ending a shot is to fly past the target when behind or let the target go by when in front.

Choosing the Right Aerial Videography Partner

Flying a drone can be quite difficult for inexperienced operators, so it’s important to work with a team of creative, professional videographers who have the proper training and know-how to take high-quality shots.

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