Drone shots are a fantastic way to elevate your wedding film. Literally.
Having drone footage as part of a wedding film is all the craze currently, and it’s easy to see why. Drone’s allow cinematographers to capture video footage from an overhead perspective, creating cinematic and sweeping dramatic shots that add a unique storytelling element to your film. These aerial shots are especially great for creating establishing shots, such as showcasing the venue or for adding a dramatic shot during the bridal session.
While everyone loves a good drone shot, if you are planning your wedding day and are looking to incorporate a drone, it’s important to understand the logistics around how and where you can pilot a drone as well as the safety issues surrounding it.
In our experience, we’ve found that one of the first questions most couples ask us is “do you offer drone footage”. And for the ones that haven’t even considered the option, they fell in love with the idea after we showed them some examples of how a drone shot can really add to the story of their film. There’s just a certain magic to the right drone shot that you just can’t say ‘no’ to. We also try to make it clear that drone shots are meant to complement our more traditional shots rather than replace them.
We think that like most things in life, it’s all about balance. Over the years, we’ve found that a single well thought out drone shot can have a stronger impact than multiple drone shots scattered about. Basically, if there were awards for it, a drone shot would win best supporting actor.
As cinematographers, we see drone shots as something that not only enhances your films visuals, but can often be a critical storytelling element. Being able to view something from a less than common perspective really gives visuals that “wow” factor.
When it comes to planning for a drone shot, we always advise the couple to give enough time for us to film. Preflight preparation is crucial when it comes to the safety and handling of a drone. For us, we take safety seriously!
If you’re asking whether drone shots are still a ‘must have’ for weddings, our answer is “it depends”. There are so many factors that go into deciding whether a drone shot is a must have, but most of the time it comes down to more “can you have a drone shot” versus “should you have a drone shot”.
For example, we found that weather plays the biggest determining factor in whether a drone shot is feasible. Strong winds or heavy rain can make piloting dangerous, even if it would make for a unique shot.
Why Drone Shots?
Drones are perfect for capturing magnificent, sweeping views at wedding locations with large outdoor areas. These could be estates, outdoor wineries and other similar venue types for example.
There’s just so much you and your videographer can film if you’re having an outdoor wedding, especially if it’s at a beach or in a large open space. But with the help of a drone, your videographer can capture your wedding even from the perspective of being out at sea. Couples choose their venues for a reason, so there’s no reason why they wouldn’t want to show it off just a little bit.
Drones can also actually help to simplify the editing process for your videographer by capturing more footage, allowing them to choose from a variety of options for views and angles without having to physically mount a camera in an unconventional location.
Hiring a videographer that can also pilot a drone really shows off to your guests that you’re holding nothing back for your special day. While drones can be entertaining because of their novelty; it’s not every day that you get to watch a drone covering a major event either. Drones should be entertaining, but not so much that they become a distraction from your special day.
With a drone, you’ll be able to be a little creative with your wedding video thanks to the aerial versatility. For example, you can gather your guests to create a symbol like a heart, or organize them in more creative ways to add a unique moment to your film. Depending on your venue and location, you can even create stunning shots involving you and showcasing the surrounding area.
Getting creative with drones is half the fun. Thanks to the ability to fly nearly anywhere and everywhere, the possibility of getting creative shots with the bride and groom becomes almost endless. Capturing the more intimate moments from the air is often more difficult than filming close up, which is why these particular creative shots will require more planning.
Another great thing with utilizing a drone is that you can incorporate more of the natural surroundings in your shots. If your venue is by the water or hillside for example, your videographer can add the element of nature to further enhance your film’s visuals or add to the narrative.
Flying a Drone Legally and Safely
In Canada, drones are classified as aircrafts, which means that they must be flown by a registered pilot under most circumstances. Before flying a drone or having your videographer pilot a drone, you must first understand the rules revolving around where you can fly and how to do so safely. All drone pilots in Toronto (And all major Canadian cities) must follow the rules in the Canadian Aviation Regulations. It’s also important to note that each Canadian city, such as Toronto, may have specific rules regarding where pilots can fly their drones and how they use them.
In Canada, there are 3 main categories of drone operation: micro, basic and advanced. Each one has a different set of rules drone pilots must follow. The weight of your drone, distance from bystanders and airspace rules define these categories.
Drone pilots must carry a valid drone pilot certificate and only fly drones that are marked and registered. If you are flying a drone that is less than 250 grams, you do not need to register the drone or get a drone pilot certificate.
In most cases, wedding videographers will use drones that fall into the micro category, often for a variety of reasons. The most common is the portability and ease of use in time sensitive moments.
It should be noted that in Toronto and surrounding cities, there are designated zones where drones are prohibited from flying completely, or only under certain circumstances with permission from Transport Canada. Be sure to check on the Government of Canada website if your venue location falls under a restricted fly zone.
Designated No-Fly Zones – Source: Government of Canada
When it comes to venues themselves, before flying, you and your videographer will often need permission from the landowner or venue, depending on where your venue is located. Having a drone at a wedding needs a lot of planning and preparation, so give yourself plenty of time to talk about safety concerns with your videographer, planner and the venue. Remember that when it comes to piloting a drone, safety must always come first.
It should also be a given that areas such as inside the venue, tented areas or even open areas with lots of overhead cables/trees are not ideal places to be flying a drone.
Is It Worth It?
Most wedding industry experts would agree that the worth of drone shots strongly depends on your needs and the type of film you choose. There are definitely pros and cons to having a drone for your wedding that you will need to take into account.
However, if you want something more high-end for your wedding film that gives your final film more options, it’s probably more than worth the money. Because some wedding videographers charge by the hour, while others charge per day or per project, you should consider how you want to have drone footage incorporated. If you’re still unsure on the value of having drone footage, you can always speak with your videographer directly and get their opinion as they will be better able to advise you based on how your wedding day is planned out.
Remember, drone shots are there to add value and bring out the best to your wedding film, not take away from it.
If you’d like to learn more about having drone footage as part of your wedding, feel free to contact us for a consultation.
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