Aerial cinematography is the art of obtaining footage from the air. It often involves shooting from helicopters, but drones have become a popular alternative over the last few years.

A wide range of productions use aerial cinematography to capture footage not possible from the ground.

Some of the most common applications for aerial cinematography include:

  • Real estate marketing,
  • Documentaries and news coverage,
  • Music videos,
  • Wedding films,
  • TV shows and movies.

The result is some truly breathtaking visuals.

What Is aerial cinematography

What Is aerial cinematography?

Aerial cinematography is the use of a drone (or even helicopter) to shoot aspects of a film or video.

Drones are becoming more and more popular because they are able to capture shots that people wouldn’t ordinarily be able to get. They can fly up high and shoot the footage looking straight down (bird’s eye view).

The camera is mounted on a gimbal so that it stays level no matter how the drone is flying.

Aerial cinematography is often used for creating sweeping landscape shots, tracking moving objects and people, and getting views from above. Many filmmakers also use aerial cinematography for establishing shots that help set up their scenes.

For example, if you’re shooting a scene in a large city, you could start from an aerial shot to give viewers a sense of where they are. Some filmmakers also use aerial camera movements to create unique transitions between scenes.



What Is Aerial Cinematography?

At its most basic level, aerial cinematography involves a camera mounted to an aircraft to record a scene.

The term usually refers to filming by mounting the camera to a helicopter.

Helicopters are used because they can maneuver in ways that ground vehicles cannot.

As such, they provide unique opportunities for capturing images from angles that are not possible from the ground.

Helicopters can hover in place, rotate around a central point, or fly in any direction at any speed.

The result is stunning video footage that would be impossible without aerial cinematography.

When Is Aerial Cinematography Used For?

Aerial cinematography is a term that applies to the use of a camera attached to an aerial or flying object, such as a plane or helicopter.


Tipping and spinning effects can be achieved using rotor blades. A gyroscope adds stability. A video camera attached to a quadcopter positions itself at different heights and angles, recording various points of view.

When Is Aerial Cinematography Used For? The most widespread use of aerial cinematography is in movie-making. It has been used for many movies, including Spiderman and Lord of the Rings. It can give scenes a spectacular look, as though the director had hired Superman to film the movie!

Cameras are also used during sporting events to provide on-field shots from above. During football games, cameras may hover over players’ heads or move around the field like a referee would during play.

Aerial cinematography is also used in disaster relief situations. For example, if there is some kind of disaster, such as an earthquake or hurricane, aerial cinematography can give us a bird’s eye view of the damage done and how it might be fixed in the future. Some people believe that this is why there are more natural disasters happening today than ever before – we can now see them better.

Aerial Filming Examples

Looking to learn more about aerial filming? Check out our video above and the blog below:

If you need footage that is not available by traditional means, you might want to consider hiring a camera crew to get some aerial shots. Aerial shots allow you to capture shots that would otherwise be impossible with traditional filming equipment, as they can easily capture high-quality footage from new angles while simultaneously capturing a wide array of surrounding scenery.

Tethered cameras and drones have greatly changed the way that aerial footage is captured. These modern pieces of technology allow for truly stunning videos to be taken, offering up perspectives that were once thought impossible without the use of a helicopter or other equipment.

Aerial videography is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after types of videography for commercial use. Businesses now can take their audience on a journey through their services or products using this type of camera work.

Aerial filming is an extremely powerful way to promote a business, country, or place. It allows you to show off something in a way that you can’t do with any other type of filming.

Description: The camera should be at least three feet away from the subject for good quality footage.

The viewpoint should be below the subject, which means that you will have to fly with the sun behind you and shoot the subject from above. Quality footage comes when the sun is behind you and your camera is closer than three feet from your subject.


Aerial Filming Examples In Cinema

The closest I’ve ever come to being in a war zone was while filming aerial shots over the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

The Lakota Sioux had just ended an armed standoff with federal agents at Wounded Knee. We were flying low over the rolling hills and grazing cattle when a sheriff’s deputy pulled up alongside our helicopter, pointed his rifle at us, and told us to get the f**k out of there. It was a moment of truth for my sense of invulnerability.

Titling or writing for commercial projects presents a different set of challenges than writing for television or movies.

In commercials, you have very little time to tell your story, so you must be very clear in your objectives. You must also be very flexible and able to change direction on a dime if you’re working with an art director who has great ideas that are not in line with what you’d originally written.

If you have an opportunity to write for commercials, I highly recommend it! It’s a very challenging but rewarding experience that will allow you to work with some great directors and actors (people like John Goodman and Antonio Banderas).

What Is Aerial Cinematography With Drones?

Aerial cinematography is the use of drones to capture footage from above. Drones are also called unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, and they’re a relatively new technology for both commercial and personal use.

The popularity of aerial cinematography has increased by leaps and bounds in a short period, largely because drone cameras are easy to operate and come at a lower cost than traditional camera equipment. They are also more versatile than their ground-based counterparts, allowing filmmakers to capture images that would have been impossible just a few years ago.

Today’s flying cameras can record high-resolution video, photos, and even still images in low-light conditions. Many of these devices have built-in GPS and motion sensors that allow them to capture smooth video while moving.


Here are some examples of uses that only drones could accomplish:

Recording from unique perspectives. Aerial cinematography allows filmmakers to get above their subjects without physically being there. This allows for unique shots that can’t be captured any other way. Filmmakers who want to shoot sweeping landscape shots, for example, no longer need to hike miles into the wilderness — they can simply fly above it with a drone camera in tow.

Aerial Shots During World War I

During WWI, they were the newest and most exciting weapons of the war. At first, people were skeptical about this new invention, but soon it became the main weapon in the war. They were used to spy on the enemy, attack them, and deliver messages all over the place. They played a vital role in the war.

How did they work?

An aerial was a small plane (about 10 feet long) with two propellers on it that were controlled by radio waves. The plane could carry explosive bombs and cameras. They worked by having a pilot flying it hundreds of yards away from his target, and he would send radio waves to fly the plane.

They could travel up to 14 miles away from their pilot, who was usually on a ship or an airplane. One advantage of aerial shots was that they could do things planes couldn’t do. Planes couldn’t land on ships since they didn’t have the arresting gear to stop them quickly enough (a device for bringing an airplane down safely on a ship). And planes wouldn’t be able to get into really tight spots where an aerial could go.

Aerial Shots During World War II

During World War II, airplanes were used for a variety of purposes, including surveillance and bombing. Aerial views were used to study the landscape during this era, as well as by military and government officials. In addition, aerial photography was also important in the development of cartography.

The use of aerial photography as an art form began in the early 1900s and became one of the most popular forms of art by the end of the century. While it took some time, people eventually recognized that aerial photography could capture images of places that cannot be seen using other types of cameras.

Toward the start of the 20th century, most commercial photos were shot using a “large-format camera with film usually measuring 4×5 inches” (Baldwin). Since these cameras were so large and heavy, only a few photographers used them at any given time. As photography became more advanced and accessible, people looked for ways to take pictures from above.

After World War I ended in 1918, many governments purchased airplanes because they wanted to study their landmasses from above. These countries wanted to know how to better serve their citizens and to make sure that their lands were not threatened by other countries.

Aerial Shots In Films

Have you ever seen a movie and thought, “Wow, that was a great aerial shot”? In this tutorial, I go over some of the best uses of aerial shots in films (and tv shows) and discuss how to use them in your film. Aerial shots are a great way to make your film more interesting, and more dynamic and give it a sense of wonderment.

–   Special Effects:

Aerial shots are great for special effects shots because they allow you to have the camera move through a scene or environment without having to build it on the ground. This allows you to have a moving camera that is not physically attached to anything. When done well this can create an awesome action sequence for your film.

–   Character Perspective:

Looking down from above gives us a perspective that we don’t get from looking at the world from eye level. It can create a sense of wonderment or danger in our films which is why we typically see it used in science fiction films where we want to show how small our characters are compared to their environment. This also gives us a chance to do things like show the scale of locations.

The Anatomy Of An Aerial Shot

When it comes to aerial images, it’s all about the angles. You want to keep the viewer in mind and make sure they’re able to see everything you want them to see. If you’re shooting a resort or golf course, for example, you want to showcase the entire area and all of its features, not just a small portion.

Tilting the camera down at a 30-degree angle is one way to achieve this. This angle gives you a nice wide-angle view of your subject without showing too much ground below. The viewer gets a good idea of what the property looks like from above and can see other areas in the background as well.


Another option is to shoot straight on and then tilt the camera up slightly. This works especially well for properties that have similar colors on top and bottom (like a roof and ground).

By tilting up slightly toward the sky, you get an even better view of where you are shooting and can add more depth to your image by including more sky in your shot. If there is no sky in the background or something else interesting in the background, then this isn’t a necessary step.

What Are Best Practices For Filming Aerials?

Filming aerials is a hugely popular hobby among drone enthusiasts, who often shoot the aircraft from above for stunning videos and photos.

Taken in isolation, aerial views of a cityscape or scenic countryside are interesting and eye-catching, but it takes a practiced eye to take the perfect shot.

The following are some key considerations to bear in mind when filming with a drone:

Flying height. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that drones fly below 400 feet, so shooting from higher than this could get you in trouble. Keep an eye on your drone’s altimeter, which will alert you when you’re approaching 400 feet. You can also set waypoints through an app or controller to fly at specific heights.

Shooting styles. Beginners should start by keeping the camera still while the drone moves around it. This classic shot gives viewers a sense of perspective as they look down on the subject from above—a technique that’s often used for sunrise or sunset shots. Shooting in this style also makes it easier to frame your subject because the camera isn’t moving relative to the subject itself.

As you get more comfortable with flying and controlling the camera, try moving and zooming with the drone to create dynamic shots that give viewers a sense of motion.

Drone Cinematography Tips

Nowadays, drones are a popular way for filmmakers to get unique aerial footage. Drones have been used in movies like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Man of Steel.

Trying to capture great aerial shots with a drone can be very challenging.

The following tips can help you get the most out of your drone to produce the cinematic footage you desire:


Get lots of practice with your drone

This is probably the most important tip. Taking off and landing can be tricky, so you must practice as much as possible before you take your drone into the air. Playing around with different angles will also give you an idea of what kind of shots you might like to use while you’re filming.

Drones are sensitive to sunlight, so you have to make sure they work in a variety of conditions. You don’t want to realize your drone isn’t working because it’s too bright or too cloudy when you’re already up in the air! Practice often so you’ll know what to do no matter what kind of weather you encounter.