Welcome Inspire Pilots!
Join our free DJI Inspire community today!
Sign up

Advice for Commercial Shoot

Jan 29, 2015
Reaction score
Eastern Seaboard
So I was contacted for a local shoot of some light rail and ferry footage. Hoping anyone with experience shooting for a client could suggest settings and best practices for the project? Planning to shoot on LOG to give best options in post. Anything else is greatly appreciated!
Knowing your background would be very helpful but since we do not I will keep it as simple as possible, figuring you know little about filming and flying.

DO fly at different heights, approach angles and closeness (base closeness to your "subject" on your comfort level)
DO fly smooth and straight
DO fly slower (speed can be ramped up based on knowledge of flying as well the understanding that with speed comes additional complexities of piloting as well as possibilities of ruining a shot due to erratic movements of the craft and/or gimbal.
DO avoid flying ->into<- direct sunlight. This is not as critical with the inspire but avoid flying directly towards the sun unless you want your subjects on the ground to be darker. If you truly understand filming/photography you CAN fly into the sun for a desired look on your footage.
DO Try to fly as much as you can during the hour or so immediately after sunrise or an hour immediately before sunset (Golden Hour)
DO try to fly around (and close) to other objects that will ultimately lead you to "revealing" your subjects. This extra motion in your shot even if it is not related to your subject will give extra dimension to your image and make it WAY more interesting!! I live in South Carolina and when I think of a ferry I think of boats that operate in/around rivers that have marshlands around them so try to envision that in this example... Fly close (10 - 15' above) the marshlands with the wispy grass/weeds coming up. Frame your shot to where the ferry is in the top half of the frame and the weeds are in the lower part. then fly over them towards the ferry. The extra motion of the weeds going by will add extreme dimension and interest to your shot!!! You could also angle your camera down and move it up (smoothly) as you are flying over the weeds. This would create a "reveal" without actually moving around an object.

KNOW that with experience and confidence you can achieve spectacular results even when not adhering to ANY of the above steps!
All the above is good advice. In my experience shooting for 2 reality shows on 2 different networks, be mindful of what the client or EP (executive producer) wants. On my last shoot I was told by both the EP and camera director that they rarely use panning footage and prefer straight shots at various heights. Keep the camera out of the sun. Up close and focus on an object as you fly up and away is always a plus. Maintain a constant smooth speed with both the craft and the gimbal.

Know your limits and DON'T compromise safety of people or your equipment. If you are asked to do a difficult and dangerous shot based on obstacles or weather, don't be afraid to say no. They may be in charge at the shoot, but you are responsible for your equipment and the safety of those around you.

More footage is better so get lots of it.

Let them know what resolutions are available.

Allow them to look over your shoulder to see what the camera is seeing. Often times the producer only gets to see the footage after the whole project is done, and they won't be happy if they don't see the shot they had in mind.

Remember that they may only use a few minutes of footage in the final project (usually less), but they may and often will sell the additional footage to other networks. In one of my recent shoots I filmed for 3 hours. The footage was used in 2 episodes and several other clips were sold by them to the Weather Channel. I forgot all about that a week ago when I was checking the Weather Channel and saw some of my footage. Caught me off guard. Remember once you license the footage to them they can do with it as they please.

Be on location early. Producers hate it when people are even a minute late for anything.

Be very mindful of room on your SD card. Usually professional film companies will provide SD cards. Check them, format them and don't fill them completely or you may miss the end of a beautiful run.

Good luck!

Members online

Forum statistics

Latest member