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Drone Photography & Cinematography With The Airpeak S1

Flying a drone is a great way to capture beautiful imagery, and it’s something anyone can do. In this video, Sony Artisan Drew Geraci takes a look at how professional cinematographers and photographers can benefit from sending their full-sized cameras high into the sky. “This past year Sony announced and launched their Airpeak S1,” he says, “which finally gives full control to Sony camera operators to fly their Alpha cameras, including the FX3, and a whole array of lenses varying from ultra-wides like the 14mm f/1.8, all the way up to the 85mm f/1.8.” Watch as Geraci shows how you can leverage the power of the Sony Airpeak S1 with the Sony Alpha 1 so you too can make cinematic shots virtually anywhere you’re allowed to fly.

Timelapse & drone filmmaker Drew Geraci shows how to leverage the power of the Airpeak S1 & Alpha 1 to make cinematic video virtually anywhere.

If you’re going to create content to sell, you want to make sure you are properly licensed first. “One of the biggest things to know about flying in general,” explains Geraci, “is to make sure that you’re qualified and licensed first before you commercialize any of your content. You’ll need a Part 107 which allows you to sell the content that you create to commercial clients and it’s also helpful in understanding the plethora of flight regulations in air spaces that are spread out over the country.”

To maximize the performance of the Airpeak, the first thing you want to do is make sure your camera and gimbal are perfectly balanced. “It’s something that for, a lot of users, they may not be used to, and it’s incredibly important if you want to have the smoothest footage possible,” Geraci says.

Before launching the Airpeak S1 with the Alpha 1, Geraci makes sure the camera is set to film at its peak. He says it’s best to turn off the internal IBIS on your camera and in your lens to let the gimbal do the work. “For the majority of users, the best video settings to use is 4K60p,” he says. “The additional fps will help aid in extra stabilization that may be required after the flight. And you always reconform 4K60p down to a more cinematic 24p after the fact.”

Once you’re in the air, there are multiple ways to create cinematic compositions. “The first being a low-level, high-speed shot,” Geraci explains. “The closer the aircraft is to the floor or the ground, the more perspective movement and change we’ll be able to see in our frame. We can then rise as it’s traveling forward to go from a sweeping fast shot to a landscape reveal, which creates a two-part shot.”

Geraci says that one of his biggest tips when shooting footage with the Airpeak S1 is to only make smooth and concise movements, don’t jerk the camera around to change your composition while filming. “Use very small, subtle movements if you wish to change your trajectory mid-shot. This will be less jarring for viewers and make the frame much more professional-looking.”

Geraci also recommends having foreground elements in your footage to create more visual interest in your shots - which might mean flying lower to the ground. He also recommends the epic orbital reveal, doing a 24-40 foot rise while tracking around the subject. He says it’s best to do it with a dual operator, but it can be done by yourself with enough practice. 

“There are many incredible and wondrous advantages to using a drone,” Geraci concludes. “Just make sure you’re always aware of your surroundings and to properly ensure you’re in a safe, designated area to fly.”

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