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What makes a great video?

Discussion in 'Photos and Video' started by N9344H, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. N9344H

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    So there are many drone videos out there, many are good, plenty are meh, and some are great. What is is that makes the great ones great? Certainly subject matter comes into play, but a good cinematographer can make the most mundane interesting. A cinematographer can, but I can't, and I would like to change that.

    This is an example of my average...


    So what are the core things to make a great movie? Quick cuts and multiple scene changes? Long trolley shots? High speed pull backs? Is the great work done in the air or in post? I would like to get this conversation started as I know there is no definite answer, but I would really enjoy hearing other peoples creative process.
     
  2. James Connerly

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    Try to tell a story with your video. Think about what you are trying to communicate to the viewer and then plan your shots to get the ones that help you do it. A lot of times we are just flying around hoping to ge usable footage but I have found that if I already know what I want to be my main focus then my flights are organized to better help me accomplish my goal. Doesn't need to be complicated, a building, a tree, the color of the leaves.
     
  3. MrMcfly

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    ^^ This! Add Sloooowwwwww and smoooooth!

    Post can take out the rough edges, but can't 'tell the story'. Even if flying in a park, you should pick 'highlights' of the park, things that
    make the park worth going to, then present those attractions in a visually appealing way. If you're highlighting one POI, use 'fly to'
    shots first, then circle and stills, and end with 'fly from'... This logical progression 'makes sense' to the viewer.

    I can also say that ALL aerial photography doesn't make the best video either. I've held my drone in front of things to take stills that
    aren't possible/feasible while in flight. A dedicated still camera in your bag is a great tool. Still shots include signs in the area that
    describe the POI, close up shots to highlight specific POIs, and even a shot or two of the P3 hovering in front of a POI to tie in
    the P3... I think stills give focus to a particular highlight of the story.

    If your movie contains several points of interest, group all the shots for each POI together in post. Jumping back and forth makes for
    confusion for the viewer. In post, If I'm mixing a lot of stills in with P3 video, I'll use page turning dissolves to make a more photo album
    like presentation, and a photo album like cover opening shot.

    I don't post a lot of what I've done so far, because of audio copyright rules on music/soundtracks. The right music/background audio
    track makes a big difference in the end result. I need to start listening to 'open source' stuff....
     
  4. Jay H

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    Agreed!

    also, its good to have shots that are moving across 2 or 3 axis. flying foward while panning up, going vertically while panning down on gimbal for vertigo effect, etc

    Using a tree or structure to reveal the landscape or whatever you are filming.

    using 2 waypoints for a cable cam/ slider shots are nice.

    POI while changing altitude.

    would be great if dji let us use manual, sometimes the gps or atti makes it hard to get a smooth shot, although shooting in atti definitely helps for a smoother shot and doesnt bring the shot to an abrupt stop like on gps.

    shooting 30 min before sunrise or sunset, or ND filters during the day.
     
  5. gegetrane

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    Learning to use the yaw and pitch fine adjustments to get exactly the smoothness you want, which may differ in different wind conditions. Practice a lot with handling the sticks, and the pitch control at the same time. And please stay away from elevator music ;)
     
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  6. beeline

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    All of the above, and my own version of "rule of thirds" as it applies to capturing video from a drone.

    But I'm not talking about frame composition. This is about altitude. When conditions warrant, I always attempt to get coverage at three or more altitude zones. This will vary according to your local terrain, obstacles and regulations, but for me zone 1 is about 1-20 feet, zone 2 is 20'-100' and zone 3 is 100+ feet. Or something like that. This shooting technique really pays off in editing.

    I like to to use multiple launch points, sometimes in tight quarters, so line-of-sight is how I roll. This facilitates three zone coverage.

    Unless your yaws are perfect, throw them out. Mine are never perfect and never make the cut. Above all, avoid yaw twitch.

    No matter what you think, your video is too long. All of mine are.

    Think perspective: the most powerful tool a drone offers to achieve cinematic results. This is where the magic happens.

    As a side note, I've spent a lot of time on Lewis Smith Lake fishing, swimming, skiing, camping and love it. Exceptionally clear, clean, deep water although the water looks high and muddy, perhaps from the recent floods? Sure wish we could send some of this rain to So. California, although I hear the NW is getting pounded, too.

    Here's a video I did last Winter at a small lake near where I live (P2/H3-3D/HeroB3+). Only a two-battery effort but got decent coverage in all three zones (plus a rare and dangerous Zone 4 shot!).
    Too long, though.;)

     
  7. N9344H

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    Nice video! I know my vids are far too long (all 2 of them) and the music was selected by my two most important criteria for the moment, free and the right length.:)

    Yes, Smith is up 16 feet over winter pool right now, but slowly receding. I live in Madison, BTW.
     
  8. MichaelAxelKlose

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    How do you do that Google Earth intro/outro? That's awesome!
     
  9. beeline

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    Then we should meet up and fly sometime! I'm near Monte Sano Mountain.

    When I did that video I was a paid-up, licensed user of Google Earth Pro, which offered movie making capability. Have not used it in so long so not sure if this feature is still available with the new free version of Earth Pro. If still there maybe they've improved the movie making workflow. Somewhat un-intuitive to me but workable. Basically setting up key frames and flying between them, then render to file. Or something like that.
     
  10. Shawnakova

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    First and foremost, tell a story. Have a beginning, middle and and ending.
    Never ever use video transitions, just straight cuts. 99% of feature films only use straight cuts.
    Get closer to your subject.
    Have no shot longer than 5 seconds.
    Have a "focus point" or a goal for each shot (like the boat jetting by in your video, that was the best part of the whole video)
    Use all 3 dimensions, this is the strength of the drone. Pan the camera up or down slowly while changing altitude and or while moving forward/backward/left/right.
    Dont change direction during a shot, if your panning right, continue to pan at the same speed, don't stop or change direction.
    Use other cameras, on the ground for some close ups or just a different feel to mix it up. This is also a great way to incorporate people or animals into your video.
    You can even use the phantom on the ground (holding it) and if you walk evenly enough you can get some really amazing steadicam type shots.
    Use better music, don't worry if its not the right length, you can cut it short and fade it out.
     
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  11. beeline

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    When and only when you learn all the rules can you get away with breaking themo_O.
     
  12. N9344H

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    I agree, totally. Thanks.

    PM me. Maybe we can. Perhaps you can teach me something.
     
  13. ELHEAPO

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    Nicely shot and edited agree about the time i think 90 seconds is ample or the viewer tends to get bored even if its action packed. I love your end sequence very clever and unique bud!!
     
  14. beeline

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    Thank you! Because it is too long, few make it to the "out of this world" ending;). Thanks for hanging in there!
     
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  15. 2nd2non

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    All good ideas. I try to keep it simple for Aerial Videos or Cinematography. Here are my top 5 tips to Start, then let experience build your creativity -
    1) Get clear on your objective. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so focus on what YOU want to accomplish, NOT how others will perceive the Art.
    2) Follow through on a consistent movement (up, down, pan, etc.) while recording video. Multiple movements detract from this art form. Learn about simple production movements: God's Eye views, Dolly, Crane, Reveal, Dolly to Crane, etc.
    3) Always add extra 5-10secs more than you think you need to record a clip. Many final cuts include clips recorded by accident!!!
    4) Keep edited clips 2-5secs norm; occasional longer if there is a dramatic reveal at the end. Group similar clips together for consistent theme or story. 99% of the time transition clips with hard cuts.
    5) Pick your music first then emotionally connect so as to organize the clips. This should obviously tie into your objective. This may take time, but is very rewarding

    Note: I did not touch on color correction and grading as this can always be re-done later with more experience and knowledge. The key is to capture the video correctly first.

    Disclaimer: As with many art forms, rules are made to be broken...that's the beauty of it!

    Here are two simple examples. The first one once I learned the basics and tried to stick to them (but broke a few rules). The primary objective was taking the viewer through a summer journey between regions of the US. The second video expressed the challenging terrain and remote locations journeyed to capture the Hawaiian beauty. Thus it ends with the SUV driving off into the distance.
    I've only been flying for just over a year and started from ground zero. However, the knowledge of connecting emotionally I learned as a DJ. At least you know you are doing something right when a company asks to use one of your clips for a website feature. Hope to share this soon with the community.

    ****Additional tips and learning's are in the video comments sections.



     
    #15 2nd2non, Jan 5, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
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  16. N9344H

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    @2nd2non Those are great vids and tips. Thanks.
     
  17. Reed L

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    Yuk... Music... and it sucks too... yuk... Some of you guys use too much garbage music but the good point is that I can mute it and watch the beauty itself. Best tip - listen to what the spouse and kids say. If they look bored or turn white and say, it's great daddy... just start over or get some music that will keep them interested. My videos are different because I talk but that's it. Or I record the natural beauty of the sounds from where I am shooting and edit them in to match as good as I can with what I have. I shoot a video because I have a reason, otherwise I just fly and shoot for fun. On top of the 100+ movies I have of my travels on YT, I have double that at home that don't make the cut. Out of 1000 hours of shooting, you will get some great footage - use the best - toss the rest.
     
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  18. ELHEAPO

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    I loved both your video's, i think st louis to ny was a little to long but i know you had a lot of material to get across in your story. You can obviously fly very well but i really liked your editing you keep it concise and interesting cutting every 5 secs at the most which keeps the viewer interested, so many people myself included will film something they like and run with it for to long, but through reading and watching lots of material i think 4-5 sec for each clip is more than enough, as you have done, you can film the same subject matter but from various view points and angles etc. Your tips are very helpful too. keep up the good work.
     
  19. Alien Warrior

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    Agreed with the "garbage-yuk music" comment.
    I always turn the music off as it distracts from the video.
    If you need music to make the video more interesting then the video has failed.
     
  20. Noble 1

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    Questions
    1. For your shots where you hike to the locations what essentials do you take with you? A back pack with extra batteries props lenses gps dslr camera towels wipes cleaners and tools?

    2. When you are obtaining the shots are you reviewing them on iPad or tablet before going on to next shot? What apps are you using? Do you have a check list in your mind of shots to obtain before you leave?

    3. What pre production camera settings are you using most often (regular partly sunny day)? What software do you use to edit? How much time do you spend making a 2 minute video from 2 hours of raw footage? I understand everyone is different and has different skill sets but I feel like I could really save some time if I had my camera settings corrected before editing.


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
    #20 Noble 1, Jan 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016