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How To: Fly a Drone for Filmmaking, Use "Negative Fill," Master Dynamic Range, Shoot Real Estate Video, and More

By David Schonauer   Monday December 3, 2018


Who wants to shoot aerial video footage with a drone?

Everyone. Drones can help you create dynamic establishing shots, mimic traditional filmmaking tools like jibs, sliders, and Steadicams — adding a lot of production value without costing a ton of money, notes NoFilmSchool.

But have you tried to fly a drone? Doing it well can be a challenge. That’s why we’re including a tutorial for beginner drone pilots in today’s roundup of filmmaking tips. You’ll find out how to get certified, which drones to buy, and how to practice your flying techniques.

Not interested in drones? We’ve also got tutorials to give you insights on how to use practical lights to raise the video to a new level. And you’ll find out about the very handy “negative fill” lighting technique, which will help you create powerfully dramatic images. You’ll also learn what you need to know about dynamic range.

Think you might want to shoot video for real estate companies? We’ve got a tutorial about just that. Making music videos? Learn four great visual effects for your next project. Plus, there’s a complete guide to documentary filmmaking.

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1. A Drone Flying Guide for Beginners

Before you launch your aerial photographer career, learn how to fly drones the right way. This video from Kyle Martin Tech covers much of what you need to know to learn to fly a drone by yourself or with some guidance from an expert. Then it’s time to practice. You’ll learn how to do that, too.


2. Why You Need to Know About Negative Fill

Want to create a really dramatic visual for your next video? Don’t light it. Learn instead how to “unlight” it. The secret is a technique called negative fill, which Aputure's Ted Sim explains in this video.


3. Eleven Easy DIY Tricks to Improve Your Photo and Video Work

Got a book light? Chapstick? Trash bags? Those are some of the everyday items you can use to create easy DIY filmmaking and photo fixes. This Field of View tutorial shows how to use the stuff. Make a reflector from aluminum foil or a light diffuser from a shower curtain!


4. Twenty-Four Filmmaking Tricks and Hacks

This video from The Film Look is a one-stop video learning center! Learn how to communicate with crew via a mood board, how to build a story around a location, and how to inspire actors.

5. Use Practical lights to Raise Your Video Game

A practical light is any light where the source is in frame — desk and floor lamps, televisions, computers, and strings of Christmas lights, for instance.  This video from Aputure explains how to use practicals to add depth, mood and realism to your films.


6. Awesome Music Video Visual Effects — And How to Recreate Them

Music videos are often filled with dazzling visual effects, and PremiumBeat shows you how to emulate them — without having a big budget at your disposal. Go for the “marquee effect” and the “datamosh effect” … and have a blast.


7. Use the 4:30 Aspect Ratio as a Creative Tool

The Academy Ratio, or 4:3 aspect ratio, was the standard in the early days of cinema and television. And, notes NoFilmSchool, contemporary filmmakers are returning to it today. Find out why in this video essay from Fandor's Jacob T. Swinney. Bottom line: the 4:3 aspect ratio can help you focus on character.


8. Everything You Need to Know About Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is a huge topic of interest these days to both photographers and filmmakers. Need to know more about it? Here, John Hess of Filmmaker IQ goes deep into the subject. Prepare to take notes.


9. The Ins and Outs of Real Estate Video Production

For filmmakers and video professionals, real estate video production has largely been an untapped market — as markets boom and competition heats up, real estate companies are looking to hire in-house video talent and reach out to professional agencies and freelancers alike, notes PremiumBeat, which offers a guide to the field. Better learn to fly a drone (see item 1).


10. A Guide to Documentary Filmmaking

Documentary filmmaking involves careful planning, notes Videomaker, which has a a guide to making docs that ranges from the basics (story) to gaining access to subjects and more.

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