Real estate photographers have been doing it for a while now, but using a drone indoors can be a challenge. Like flying a drone in general, there is definitely an art to capturing drone footage indoors. The stakes are high. One wrong move could leave you with damaged furniture, broken window, and unhappy clients. Am I speaking from experience? None of your business.
When a good friend and amazing singer asked me to shoot a music video for her, I jumped on the opportunity. After hearing her concept, I knew we were going to need drone footage.
Here’s the final product.
If you have a tight production budget, spending money on costly cranes and dollies can quickly kill the budget. There are some great DIY options (hint: a wagon can be your best friend), but a drone can be an excellent and very cost-effective solution.
- DJI Phantom 4: this one is bigger and louder than some of my other drones, but the main reason I went this route was for the quality of the video. I love the stabilization and the lens on this bad boy.
Now, here are the talking points for shooting.
- Remain calm
- Give yourself plenty of time; designate extra time because it can be pushed to secondary footage but can end up being the best footage you get.
- Work with a director, pilot, and spotter.
- Look for interiors that have high ceilings and at all costs, avoid fans and pipes!
- If you can get into the location before the shoot, get in some practice.
- Keep the movement very slow and one-directional.
The biggest advice I can give is making sure three specific people are involved; a director, pilot, and spotter. The spotter is probably the one person you are not thinking about but is so valuable. Find the person you know who worries about everything, that is your spotter. Their job is essentially to stress out about what could go wrong while you’re shooting.
Tip: If you are the director and the pilot, it is doable, but make sure you have a spotter.
Using the Phantom 4 let me keep the drone further back, not disrupting the dancer in the video.
Using a drone indoors does not have to be scary. Give yourself lots of time, try to practice in the space before the shoot, have a spotter, and don’t over complicate your shoots. If you adhere to these guidelines, it will greatly improve the quality of your shots.