Drones at Your Wedding

by | Feb 12, 2018

Today we’re talking about Drones! They’re pretty cool, but they’re loud. So in the video, I went back to my studio to further explain how drones can be used at your wedding.

There is no denying that it looks really cool having a drone shot, but only if done correctly. So here are some “Shoulds and Shouldn’ts” of droning at your wedding!

SHOULD: So that drone shot that is awesome to have is the epic, grand wide shot of your venue. Everything is looking great, it’s up high in the air, you can see the horizon behind the venue. It’s so epic! Now there are a few things that depend on that. You have to make sure that the venue actually looks good from the air. Most people don’t know this, because they don’t check out the roof of a building, but some venues will actually have solar panels on the roof, and solar panels just don’t look good (See 0:57). But at least the venue may be saving a little bit of money on their electric bill! Another thing to consider when getting a drone shot of your venue is weather and airspace permitting. What do I mean by that? Well, if it’s a little too windy, it’s raining, snowing, etc.- That’s a “no go.” Airspace permitting is a little tricky, and most people don’t know about. So you can’t actually fly a drone anywhere near an airport, or certainly restricted areas that you can only see on a geographical (sectional) chart for pilots and anyone navigating airspace. Different airports have different airspace restrictions, but a general rule of thumb is that if your venue is near an airport, you might not be able to have a drone shot.

Something that I like to do when shooting a wedding is not actually shoot the drone shots on the day of the wedding. I’ll shoot on a different day so that I can plan the shot, and pick the ideal time of day so that it matches the tone of the wedding film. More importantly, I do drone shots on a different day most of the time, because I want to focus on the wedding couple (ground level), and spend as much time with them. I don’t want to take time away from that, just to get a quick drone shot. My moto is focus on the bride and groom on the wedding day, focus on the drone shot another day.

SHOULDN’T: This is a big should not! You should NOT have a drone flying during your outdoor ceremony. It sounds really nice though. You have that nice outdoor ceremony area, everything’s looking great, gorgeous scenery, epic landscapes- “You should stick a drone in the air, Kristian!” …No. Why would I not put a drone up during your beautiful ceremony? Because you would not hear your beautiful ceremony. Drones are super loud and noisy, and they sound like obnoxious weed wackers. See 2:59 in the video to hear a simulated example of what a drone would sound like at your wedding. If you need any more convincing, everyone will look like ants from that high perspective. And lastly, if I’m flying the drone at your ceremony, then who’s shooting your ceremony? Even with a second shooter, taking away someone from operating a grounded camera, getting that critical isle shot for the kiss, vows, etc. doesn’t make sense. I would never choose a drone shot with that high perspective over the proper angle from a grounded camera. In theory, the idea of having a drone at your ceremony is cool. But when it gets to the practicality aspect, it’s a disaster.

SHOULDN’T: Another “should not” is using the drone during the photo session, and having the drone hover over you to get a bird’s eye view. That’s not a good idea. Why? Well, because it’s actual illegal. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) mandates that you can’t fly over anyone with your UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) Drone. The reason why it’s illegal is because of Murphy’s Law, anything that can happen, will happen. The drone could malfunction, a gust of wind could come out of nowhere, the drone could fall, crash, and hit someone. Those drone propeller blades, even though they’re plastic, are still moving at very fast RPM’s and that is going to hurt. So we don’t need any of that on the wedding day! We can get plenty of great shots, on the ground with our camera, rather than a drone just zipping around. Drone are great for just one or two shots in the film, but that’s it. The rest is best captured on the ground.

SHOULD: This one might sound a little weird, and it’s not as common as an epic wide shot of your venue. But a “should,” if possible, is a “staged action of transportation.” As sexy as that sounds, it’s a really cool way to show off part of your wedding day. So if you’re renting a fancy Rolls Royce, limo, or custom car to get from your ceremony to the reception, a drone shot would be great to have if you’re in an open area. Having the drone follow the car as it’s driving down the road is a really cool shot! If you’re getting married on a lakeside property, and you go out on a boat, that’s a great drone shot to have! But those shots are planned, staged, and most importantly, they’re safe. Good ole’ Murphy’s Law- anything that can happen, will happen- and if something bad does happen, that’s going to put a damper on your day. So we just want to make sure that everything is safe, because overall, it’s the best move.

When it comes down to it, I’m not going to stick the drone in the air just for the sake of getting a drone shot. The wedding film is a story about you, the bride and groom. It’s not about a drone shot. They’re very cool, they offer a lot of production value, and they make the wedding film look great- if done right, and if there is a reason. Just like the drone, everything is a tool, and it has its purpose. And that purpose is to tell your love story.

That’s it for me today! I hope you learn a little bit about drones, and how you can use them to make your wedding film that much better!

If you’d like to learn more behind-the-scenes of making your wedding day amazing, check out my Facebook page, follow me on Instagram, and click on my other vlog posts and wedding films. See you next time!

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