• Brian Watts

When The Impossible Turns Possible - Filming In The Sky




I started making videos back in 2010.


Back then drones were super expensive, custom-made beasts of machines. They required an actual DSLR camera mounted underneath an array of high powered rotors.


Prosumer-level drones were slowly beginning to enter the market, but these early models suffered from poor flying experience and low-quality video output.


Better Tech, Better Results


Fast forward to today, and I've made my first investment in a serious drone: The DJI Mavic Air 2.



Thank goodness for drone technology progressing to a point that it's just as easy to get a drone in the sky as it is to put a lens on a camera.


And with that ease of use comes a wider range of choices in the editmeaning one doesn't HAVE to use the drone footage just 'cuz it's what's cool or because it was hard to get.


DJI drones use a touchscreen interface that everyone already owns: our cell phones. This drone makes me feel like whatever shot I want, I can get.



How Drones Help Tell your Story


I was initially wary of using drone footage in my video. That's because I noticed creators tended to overindulge in the newest tech without it necessarily serving the story.


Yet now I've come around to drone footage after seeing so many folks using it creatively in their work. A bird's-eye view can not only help set the scene for a video, but it also provides extra opportunities for grander perspectives and transitions.


Start at eye level and end at cloud level in one shot. Follow a subject smoothly across terrain, impossible even with a gimbal. The latest drones open up so many possibilities for creative, eye-catching shots.


DJI MAVIC AIR 2


I settled on entering the DJI ecosystem of drone products, and I've been really pleased with it so far. Here are some highlights of its capabilities:


  • Batteries last for ~25 minutes. The package I got came with three, which leads to worry-free flying.

  • Collision detection.

  • Tracking mode: You can select an object and the drone will automatically follow it.

  • High quality controller capable of fine adjustments.

  • 4K at 60fps capture along with "Cinelike" picture profile for higher dynamic range.

  • High quality connection even a mile away from my experience (line of sight).


But don't just take my word for it. See the drone in action during this early test while hiking:


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so we can create together

brian@wattsfilmmaking.com
Located in greensboro, north carolina