7 simple drone maneuvers and shots to start flying!

From dolly zooming to drone orbits, master these easy maneuvers and shots to create breathtaking aerial footage.

Have you ever thought about how drone-loving people capture amazing movie videos? You’ve probably watched a stunning number of videos and wondered how those footage came together so naturally.

As a content creator, you can often run (or fly) in a situation where you try to find creative inspiration but then the movie doesn’t match your expectations. Whether you’re a beginner pilot or have already conquered the sky, master these footage and drone maneuvers to improve your aerial photography.

Note: The following flight maneuvers were performed using mode 2 (default mode) on the drone’s remote control.

1. Drone Reveal Shot

This Drone Reveal Shot is a simple drone manoeuvre is used in filming to slowly reveal a subject to the audience. This type of drone shooting can be used to add suspense, introduce a scene or simply add a creative perspective to your movie.


How to make a Drone Reveal Shot

1. Start with the subject out of sight and slowly approach it with your drone
2. Fly over the subject to reveal a background scene or landscape
3. To add more creativity to your shooting, experience different flight speeds. Use different angles as you approach the subject to add different perspectives to your movie

2. Tracking Shot

The Tracking Shot is a basic drone flying manoeuvre that is great for capturing the public’s attention. This fundamental move is fantastic as you fly alongside your subject. It can also be used to keep attention on moving subjects, and since most DJI drones are equipped with ActiveTrack, taking this shot becomes a walk in the park.

Tracking Shot

How to Make a Drone Tracking Shot

1. Fly sideways, parallel to your subject
2. Keep track of your subject while you perform this maneuver

3. Panning Shot

Not to be confused with lateral flight, a Panning Shot involves rotating the gimbal along the yaw axis while the drone hovers. This flight technique is effective in showing more subjects in a scene and emphasizing the connection between them. You can also use this shot to simply focus on a subject.

panning shot

How to Make a Drone Panning Shot

1. Push the left lever of the remote control to the left or right
2. Alternatively, you can choose to fly your drone clockwise or counterclockwise

4. Flying upwards

Fly your drone upwards and away from the subject, showing the contrast between the subject and the background. You can also use the “Rocket” function in Mavic Air‘s QuickShot functions to get this shot. This is a great way to add creative transitions to your movie.


How to Fly Up

1. Start with the camera facing down
2. Push the left remote control lever forward to fly the drone upwards
3. Try to keep the subject at the center of the frame

5. Orbit

An orbit is a dynamic flight maneuver in which the drone rotates around the subject while constantly gaining altitude. As the drone rotates around the subject, you can gradually reveal the scene to your audience. This adds dynamic motion to your movie, which you can further maximize by tilting the drone while performing this maneuver. Orbit is a QuickShot feature available for Mavic Air, but you can also take this shot manually.


How to make a drone orbit recovery

  1. To manually perform an orbit, push the right lever of the remote control to the right to make the drone fly in that direction
  2. Push the left lever to the left, rotating the drone around the subject

6. Shooting from above the heads

A top-down shot is a great way to immerse your audience in your footage. This type of shot can be used to frame the subject within a larger shot, giving your audience a better sense of the scale of size.


How to make a shot from above the heads

1. Fly your drone over your subject
2. Rotate the gimbal bezel until the camera is positioned directly above the subject

Dolly Zoom

Available on the Mavic 2 Zoom, the Dolly Zoom is a fantastic feature for storytelling and creating a unique visual effect.


How to perform a Dolly Zoom

1. Push the right remote control lever forward
2. At the same time, use the zoom adjustment dial to zoom in and out
3. You can also pull back the right lever of the remote control and simultaneously use the zoom adjustment dial

Try experimenting with these tips and drone maneuvers to refine your filming skills. Remember, practice makes perfect!

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