The fading sun casts its last, fleeting bits of warmth onto dilapidated rooftops. A street lamp flickers below as evening settles in and the block stirs with sounds of waking vandalism.
A tall building on the corner tells the story of fear and unease in the city -- its first floor windows barred, fluorescent lights humming.
A lone man stands on the street corner outside the building. His gaze lifts slowly from street toward the cityscape. As his eyes rise upward, so too does the pitch of activity and action, the cacophony of sound reflected on his face through the dim glow of a cigarette.
The man shrugs his shoulders and tilts his head, listening, He tosses his cigarette to the ground, mashes it with a worn, black dress shoe, and turns to make his way down the sidewalk.
Traditional filmmakers have countless ways to show the cityscape and skyline described in the scene above. However, when working on a strict budget, the options for capturing such a scene are much more limited. Access to helicopters for aerial shots are typically reserved for big budget productions.
Still, any filmmaker, even those with small budgets, may need to capture the feeling of expansiveness that comes with an aerial location shot.
That’s why drones have become such an important part of modern video production.
Drones in Modern Video Production
The invention of drones has made shots once reserved for Hollywood productions available to creative endeavors of all sizes. They have opened up a new world of options, with the cost and available drone models ranging widely. DJI, a leading manufacturer of drones with filming purposes, prices the inexpensive model of their flagship Phantom series at $339 USD, while other Phantom models reach all the way up to a baseline of $1,199 USD.
While drones make it possible for low-budget productions to obtain high-quality aerial footage, there are a number of complexities and requirements involved. These include regulation details such as the FAA requirement that pilots using a drone commercially must have a private pilot’s license and file flight plans prior to filming.
That’s why working with an experienced company, one that uses drones regularly in its video production and is familiar with the U.S. air space map, will save you time, energy, and potential frustration.
There are considerable pros to using drones. While it’s still a new frontier with many developments to come, it offers filmmakers of almost any budget size exciting new possibilities.
While there has always been something magical about a stationary shot with impeccable framing, sometimes you need something more grand and expansive. Using drones in your filming allows you to deliver your audience the exhilarating feeling of flight.