Drone Cameras: A Beginner’s Guide to Aerial Filming

Drone Cameras

Drones have revolutionized the world of photography and videography, providing a bird’s-eye perspective that was once only possible via plane or helicopter. For beginners looking to dip their toes into aerial filming, drone cameras present an accessible and affordable option. In this guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know to capture stunning aerial footage with a drone camera.

An Introduction to Drone Cameras

Consumer drone cameras range from inexpensive models under $100 to professional-grade setups over $1000. Most hobbyists get started with a mid-range drone camera in the $300 to $800 range. These offer features like 4K video, gimbal stabilization, and intuitive controls suitable for beginners.

Many drones intended for aerial filming come equipped with built-in 4K cameras. These offer resolution on par with DSLRs and camcorders in a compact form factor designed specifically for aerial use. Some models also allow you to mount an action camera like a GoPro if you prefer external cameras.

Key Drone Camera Specs

When choosing a drone camera, here are some key factors to consider:


At a minimum, look for 4K or 1080p full HD video. Higher resolution provides more flexibility for cropping and post-processing footage.

Camera sensor size

Larger sensors perform better in low light. 1-inch sensors are ideal for drone cameras.

Field of view (FOV)

A wider FOV allows more landscape to fit in your aerial shots. Look for at least 85° FOV, or better yet, opt for drones with interchangeable lenses. 

Gimbal stabilization

A 3-axis gimbal keeps your footage smooth and steady when the drone is in flight. This is a must-have.


Shoot for 60fps, which provides the versatility for both slow motion effects and standard frame rate playback.

Attaching Action Cameras to Drones 

Action cameras like GoPros and Helmet Cameras can also be mounted to drones for aerial filming. Models like the GoPro HERO11 Black are compact, lightweight, and capture stabilized 4K footage perfect for drone use. 

Using an action cam gives you more flexibility to customize your camera setup. For example, you can swap lenses or attach filters. You can also mount multiple action cams to a single drone for 360 video capture.

If going the action camera route, be sure to choose one designed for aerial filming with drones. Key features to look for include built-in stabilization, wide field of view, and a lightweight, aerodynamic design. Also ensure your drone has an appropriate gimbal or mount for securely attaching your chosen action cam.

Basic Drone Camera Shots

Now that you have a drone and camera, let’s go over some common aerial filming techniques:

High Altitude Wide Shots

One of the most popular aerial shots is the wide landscape view from 100-200 feet in the air. At this altitude, you can capture sprawling scenery like coastlines, canyons, or cityscapes. Just be sure to abide by FAA altitude regulations which limit hobbyist drones to 400 feet.

Orbiting Shots 

With orbiting, you fly your drone in a circular path around a fixed point while keeping your camera aimed at the center. This allows you to showcase things like statues, landmarks, or entire buildings from all angles. Orbiting takes practice but provides cinematic footage when mastered.


The aerial reveal shot starts with your camera aimed at the ground, then tilts or pans upward to unveil the broader landscape. Reveals dramatize your location by starting tight and zoomed in, then going wide. They work especially well when peering over skyscrapers or trees to showcase an impressive view.

Chase Shots

For chase shots, you follow a moving subject like a bike, car, boat, or person while maintaining a fixed distance. This keeps the subject framed in a consistent way as you capture action from above. Chase shots allow viewers to ride along with your subject.

Drone Camera Tips for Beginners

If you’re just getting started with aerial filming, keep these tips in mind:

Start slow and fly conservatively

Until you become comfortable controlling your drone camera, go slow with plenty of altitude and few obstacles. It takes practice!

Use a polarizing filter

This reduces reflections and glare from water, snow, or glass to improve aerial image quality.

Pay attention to lighting and weather

Early morning or golden hour provide ideal lighting. Avoid windy or wet conditions.

Consider composition

Aim for leading lines, symmetrical framing, rule of thirds, and other photographic best practices tailored to an aerial perspective.

Post process your footage

Color correction, horizon straightening, and stabilizing your footage in post will take it to the next level.

So don’t be intimidated by aerial filming. With a quality drone camera, patience, and the right techniques, you’ll be capturing stunning bird’s-eye footage in no time! Just take it slowly, follow drone regulations, and have fun with it. Happy flying!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By using this site, you agree to our Website Privacy Policy.