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Monday, May 8, 2017

3 Helpful Tips to Using a Drone with Your GoPro Camera

There are so many things you can do with your GoPro camera. You can shoot in the mountains and even underwater. You can even mount it on a stick, on a helmet, or attach it on a drone. The possibilities are endless. And for those looking into expanding their camera's potential to greater heights, getting a drone for aerial photography is a must.

Owning a drone is no small investment. You've got to be aware of where to find the best drone for GoPro cameras. If you're willing to explore aerial photography, here are some tips on maximizing the use of your drone with your GoPro camera.


1. Plan your shoot


There are four important things you should consider before scheduling your flight:


  1. Location. Survey the location you're going to shoot and which parts you are planning on covering. Is it a city, reserved area, forest, or a campus? Not all areas are free to cover, as some places require permits. Do prior research before heading out to set up your tools.
  2. Safety. In relation to location, check that your prospective venue is safe, not just for yourself but for your gadgets as well. If you're flying low, check that you won't hit objects and people along the way. Also, some people know how valuable a drone is nowadays and wouldn't miss a chance to snag one that's flying innocently over their place.
  3. Weather. Avoid rain and strong winds as much as possible. This could compromise the stability of your drone. You could even lose it in bad weather, and you don't want that to happen.
  4. Lighting. If you're shooting landscapes, it's optimal to schedule your flights around sunrise or sunset. At those times, the light isn't so harsh that it ruins your exposure. But of course it depends on the project you're working on and the scene you're trying to capture.


2. Do the moves


Unless you're flying a Karma with pre-programmed moves, you have a lot to learn by yourself. Take your time learning different techniques to produce your desired footage. There are tons of tricks and maneuvers to get cinematic drone shots, three of the popular ones being:


  • Crane moves. One of the easiest to learn. This technique involves moving the drone in one direction while keeping your subject in view as the drone moves along its path.
  • Orbital. This move takes a lot of practice, but the results are always pleasant. It's basically having your drone circle around a subject. Think of it like a solar system, where the planets are the drones, and the sun is the subject. Easier said than done, though.
  • Reveal shot. As the name suggests, this involves starting at a spot where your subject is out of view. Then slowly moving until the subject is in view.


3. Mind the settings


Getting the best quality drone footage depends a lot on your gadget settings. Don't be afraid to play around with your drone. Your experiments will lead you to finding the settings that work best for you. A couple of tips though:


  • Shoot in HD as much as possible - Or 4K (Ultra-HD) if you can afford it. Shooting in HD gives you high-quality raw footage. Which in turn gives you more flexibility when it comes to post-production.
  • Limit your ISO - Especially if you're shooting in the daylight, keep your ISO down. This will cut the amount of grain and will keep the shutter slow. The result is clear and well-lighted captures.
  • Set your white balance to avoid color shifts while filming. These shifts entail more post-production work.


There you have it. Using a drone with your GoPro camera may sound intimidating. But not for the genuinely interested. Over time as you practice, you'll be able to learn more and more about your tools and produce stunning works of art.


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