You may be an experienced video editor, but drone video editing presents some different challenges and may require adjustments and additions to your skill set. But the necessary work to master the skills involved in drone videography and drone video editing are worth the investment. While our emphasis is on drone video editing, let’s take a moment and start by examining a few important tips to keep in mind when you’re shooting your footage.
There are as many different cameras on drone platforms as there are drones. But these two tips will always serve you well when it comes to camera settings.
• Use a low ISO setting: The high-quality sensors employed in most drone cameras lend themselves towards the use of low ISO settings. Using these settings ensures that you avoid getting grainy footage during your shoot.
• Choose “standard” mode: It can be tempting to choose from the variety of presets available on many drone cameras. But by choosing the standard settings you’ll have more options in the post to work with the saturation, sharpness, and contrast controls available in your software editing program.
Get plenty of footage
Always allow yourself a cushion around your footage. The extra footage will allow you more flexibility in your transitions. And if you have time, getting some extra takes from different angles may provide some cool shots that you weren’t planning on.
In the editing suite
Choose the right tools
Good editing software is an absolute necessity for your drone video editing. Beyond simple cuts and transitions, you want to utilize software that gives you real capabilities to perform color correction and other picture adjustments, as well as manipulate the footage in whatever other ways may be necessary. Personally, I’ve always found the Adobe Premiere Pro gets the job done for me. It has excellent capabilities and also handles 4K footage with ease. And here’s a quick pro tip: shoot in 4K, but produce your films in 1080P. That gives you more flexibility in using only segments of the original picture while maintaining picture quality.
Pace your shots when you edit
High-quality drone video editing will have a good sense of pace, establishing a rhythm of cuts that avoid shots that are too long or rapid-fire cuts for no particular purpose. A middle road, balanced editing style will develop momentum and keep interest high throughout the video. One of the best ways to do this is to determine the music bed you’ll be using before you begin editing, and cut to the rhythm of the music.
Add variety to your edit
Repeated, similar shots can quickly lead to boredom on the part of the viewer. Mix things up by putting together shots from different directions and perspective. For example, if you’re moving forward in one shot, change directions to move sideways, up, or down in the next shot. While keeping the narrative flow is more challenging this way, the result is much more interesting to the viewer.
Don’t neglect your post-production work
Job one after you’ve completed your drone video editing is to color correct and grade your video footage. As a rule, I’ll choose one particular clip to serve as a reference and then correct all the footage to that. This non-linear approach will yield better results than simply starting at the beginning and proceeding to match one clip to the next, and then to the next, and so on. When color correcting, just drop a snippet of the reference footage onto the timeline where you can easily check it against the current clip.