How to Film with a Drone

Coby McKinley Profile image

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Updated June 27, 2022

Even if you have an incredible drone, learning how to film with a drone is crucial to ensure dynamic shots for commercial purposes or a personal drone blog. With some planning and a good drone pilot, users can capture cinematic quality aerial shots for their next project.


  • Make a storyboard outlining the basic ideas of the drone shots you want for your project.
  • Scout multiple locations to ensure that you can safely fly a drone and that the spot works for your intended creative vision.
  • Arrive early on filming day, and be prepared to get multiple takes.

In addition, beginners can utilize autonomous flight modes for solo filming sessions. So stay tuned to become an aerial filmmaker and learn how to film with a drone.

How to Film with a Drone

If you’re a passionate drone enthusiast, you probably want to capture your drone shots quickly. That said, there are some crucial pre-flight steps to ensure a compelling image for your movie or highlight montage.

Insider Tip

Expect extended flight times while capturing cinematic shots and aerial footage. Ensure you keep extra drone batteries on hand.

For example, understand how drones follow you before planning a scene that utilizes Active Track features. Additionally, you’ll want to update your drone firmware to ensure that intelligent-flight modes and safety features are up-to-date.

Once you capture your drone footage, learn how to edit drone videos if you want to truly stand out at a drone film festival or on YouTube.


Write down the basic idea of your planned drone shoot. Think of it in terms of movement and what the footage will communicate to the audience.


Once you have a solid idea of what you need, envision a safe location for drone tech.


Visit the location in person and see if it works for your project. Location scouting also lets you check for obstacles like branches and power lines that might prevent Active Track features from being a safe choice.


Capturing the perfect shot often takes longer than a few minutes of flight time. Arrive on the filming day an hour after sunrise, so you have enough time to practice your cinematography and block the scene.


Use grid mode to make it easier to line up your shots with manual operation. In addition, keep your remote controller in hand, even while recording during Intelligent Flight mode.


Get as many takes as possible and capture multiple versions of your preferred aerial shots.


Keep your drone in sight while capturing aerial footage with Intelligent Flight Mode. If not, your drone will likely crash or shut down.


What to do with the controller while filming yourself?

The law requires that UAV pilots keep their remote controller in hand while their drone is in operation. That said, there are remote controller mounts for bikes, scooters, and other vehicles that offer near-hands-free operation.

What Are the Benefits of Drone Filming?

Modern drone technology offers numerous benefits for filmmakers. There are impressive entry-level drone cameras capable of cinematic shots in high resolutions for low-budget or independent filmmakers. In addition, drone footage is helpful for wide establishing shots, and it offers a form of movement not possible with traditional means.

Can a drone follow a motorcycle?

A drone can follow a motorcycle, but it depends on how fast you are moving. For example, the DJI Mavic 3 can travel up to 34 mph on Active Track Mode. That said, if you had a drone pilot, they could follow you at over 40 mph.

STAT: According to Pew Research Center, over 50% of Americans saw a drone in action by May 2017. (source)

Coby McKinley Profile image