Drone 360 Imagery: Reach For The Skies

Aerial 360 video and film can take your results a step upward. 360 drone images and videos can be wonderful for displaying resorts, properties, action parks, large houses, construction areas or neighborhoods. They can be great for the tourism industry, for showcasing a destination. Or they can be just plain fun!

Tools of the Trade for 360 Drone Photography

Educate yourself – Learn from the wisdom of the crowd. There are lots of communities out there focused on all aspects of drone flying and photography, and you can really learn a lot from them.

Make sure the camera is at a proper height that prevents the propellers from entering the frame.

Polish up your panoramas – Take around 20-30 horizontal and vertical 360 photos with an overlap of about a third (at least 30%) to streamline the stitching that will take place later on. Edit your panorama photos in Photoshop and stitch them to create panorama photos using any one of the stitching software available online like AutostitchGigapan Stitch and more.

Watch the weather – Consider the lighting, and the shadows cast by the drone, propellers, or the objects you’re focusing on. When the sun is high in the sky you can suffer from prop shadow, a result of the sun rays blazing at a particular angle and causing a flicker effect in the footage. Avoid flying in the direction of the sun. Try to capture all the 360 photos with a similar exposure, at the same time, to ensure uniform lighting. Also, avoid taking pictures when the weather is windy to prevent your camera (and footage) from shaking.

Adjustments – Take your pictures using RAW or RAW & JPG formats, that enable adjustments in post-production. Experiment with color correction to enhance your 360 photos. Try playing with white balance, brightness, and contrast and saturation to make your shot really pop.

Stay on top – If you placed a camera or a rig of cameras only on the bottom of the drone, consider placing a camera on the top of the drone, facing upwards, so you can cut out the drone itself in post-production. Of course, you can also cut out the drone and its shadow using Photoshop or any editing software. If the sky is light and uniform, you can even shoot another photo from the ground and stick it in as the sky.

Audio marker – When you shoot a video with several cameras, there’s a chance they will miss a few frames and won’t be completely synchronized. In this case, you can use an audio marker that will aid synching, as described by Ryan Staake on Vimeo.

Superb stability – Creating a video using a drone requires stability. For ideal results, get a vibration dampener and gimbal for your 3D camera. But make sure your drone can actually carry the weight – check the limits beforehand and make adjustments if needed.

Down with distortion – When shooting video, many drone cameras utilize a fisheye view that generates some distortion. You can prevent this effect and make your imagery look more professional with the Lens Distortion option in Adobe Premiere – after you finish color editing your file.

Safety is top priority – In the rush of creativity and details, safety is often overlooked. Try to have another person around to monitor the surroundings for any hazards in the sky or the ground or people who are lurking around.

Special effects – To create a spherical panorama, take 4K video in concentric 360 rotations; or try creating a dronie – a drone selfie – in an unusual environment, and use it as a mini clip.

Get noticed – Share your artwork with the variety of platforms available online. Some professional platforms enable unlimited hosting and sharing of 360 files, of any format, including VR images and VR videos of any size. Get your work online where any potential client can see it. Share it, spread it, let it work for you.