Introduction to Drone Cinematography: Everything You Need to Know To Get Started

Hosted by Chris Tangey

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Chris Tangey

Webinar hosted by: Chris Tangey

Cinematographer

Chris Tangey is one of the most isolated cinematographers in the world. Based in the small town of Alice Springs, the de facto capital of the Australian outback, his nearest city in any direction is 1000 miles distant. He taught himself camera 30 years ago at a small regional TV station and only in the last 3 years has he expanded his skills into aerial images, currently with global success. He recently filmed all of the Australia vision for the Nathaniel Rateliff music video "Time Stands", shot on all 6 continents. Other aerial shoots include the 2 part finale of the U.S. 2020 season of THE BACHELOR for Warner Brothers, "Nomad: In the footsteps of Bruce Chatwin" under director and film legend Werner Herzog, a global TV commercial for Tourism Australia "Hemsworth", BBC's SEVEN WORLDS-ONE PLANET, and various other documentaries and TV commercials. So far in 2020 Chris has won 4 aerial imagery awards in New York, Amsterdam and Italy. He also has 2 Gold and 4 silver awards from the Australian Cinematographers Society (the ACS). Chris has quickly become a leader in the field of aerial imagery and is ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Aerial images go back to when hot air balloons first went up in the 1700s, but the use of aerial images has exploded in the 21st century with the now ubiquitous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, better known as drones. In very little time, drone photography has become widely—perhaps too widely—used in countless films, television shows, commercials, and other media projects. And along with this wide adoption of drones has come a demand for those who can successfully and artfully operate them. This presents a potentially lucrative and rewarding opportunity for cinematographers looking to expand their reach and build their skill set. Yet with the clear overuse of drone photography in media today, each to varying effects, it’s evident that not all drone shots are created equal, and standing out requires a deeper level of skills.

Adding drone cinematography to your film, tv or new media project can breathe new life into shots that may, in the past, have cost your budget heavily to rent the necessary equipment to get. In the same way, finding success with drones requires more than knowing simply how to pilot one; a cinematographer needs to have the eye and well-developed instincts and they need to understand how to work with clients and artists to get those perfect shots. It's important to know that the term ‘drone operator’ is often used for those that use these vehicles to capture video or images, but just as cinematographers are never simply referred to as ‘tripod operators’, neither should anyone simply be seen as a ‘drone operator’. A drone is just a new way to place the camera in incredibly exciting places, a tool in a tool belt. Better understanding the steps that can take you to this point can prove exciting and promising for a cinematographer’s career.

Chris Tangey is one of the most sought after drone cinematographers in the world. His impressive career as a cinematographer has him working for Netflix, Warner Bros. Columbia Tristar, BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Lonely Plant and more. He recently won "Best Aerial Cinematography" in the European Cinematography Awards, and both "Best Drone" and "Best Scenography" In the New York International Film Awards. He was also awarded a Jury Commendation in the World Drone Awards in Siena Italy. He has 2 Gold and 4 silver awards from the Australian Cinematographers Society. Chris has quickly become a leader in the field of aerial imagery and is ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community.

Chris will give you the knowledge and tools to get you started to becoming a successful aerial cinematographer. He’ll begin by giving a brief introduction on drone photography, offering a history and understanding of what exactly drones, as well as how they have affected the current state of helicopter-based cinematography. He’ll explain the benefits and exciting potential of drone cinematography and how that has come into play in media today. He’ll lay out how drones and drone photographers work within small and large productions and their crews. Next Chris will give a rundown of how drones work, what the main types of drones are, what the main drone manufacturers are, and what the notable parts of a drone are. He’ll explain what features are offered for different drones and what features are needed for different types of projects. He’ll also give tips on where to buy your own drone as well as how to obtain a licence to legally operate them. Chris will then outline the safety and legal aspects of operating drones. He will teach you the governmental rules and regulations in most countries, including vertical separation rules and how both controlled and uncontrolled aerodromes are treated. He’ll give you tips on how to navigate these rules while still working with your clients and how to understand what your licence gives you the right to do. He’ll also provide strategies to work within the confines and limits to still get the shots you need as well as strategies to keep yourself and your crew safe. Chris will go over how to break into the industry as an aerial cinematographer. He’ll explain the current marketplace and help outline what level of the marketplace you should be targeting. He’ll give you tips on how to build a reel and display your ability to find opportunities and will teach you how to find and stick to your rate, including ways to not undercut the market, manage value-added rates, and offset licence rights against day rates. Chris will even offer case studies from his own career to demonstrate how best to work with clients and get the shots you’re after. Expect to leave with the knowledge and confidence you need to kick start your own aerial cinematography career.

 

"My career as a cinematographer has been “elevated" greatly by incorporating drones and knowing how to use them properly to get the best possible shot. I'm so excited to share my experiences with the Stage 32 community and give everyone the knowledge to use this powerful tool to their creative and financial advantage"

-Chris Tangey

What You'll Learn

  • An Introduction to Drone Photography
    • A brief history and definition of drones
    • The current state of helicopter-based cinematography
    • The benefits and potential of drone photography
    • Where do we mostly see drones in media today
    • What it means to be a drone operator and why you should always be a cinematographer first
    • How both small and large productions use drones
    • How drone operators fit in with larger production crews
  • How Drones Work
    • The main types of drones
    • Notable drone manufacturers
    • The different parts of a drone
    • A rundown of drone features and what features you will need for different types of projects
    • Things to consider before purchasing your own drone
    • Where to buy a drone
    • Obtaining a license to operate a drone
    • Resources/websites/communities to learn from
  • Safety and Legal Aspects of Operating Drones
    • How do governmental rules and regulations of drones work in most countries?
      • FAA
      • CAA
      • CASA
    • 100 foot/400 foot rules
    • Vertical separation rules
    • Controlled vs. uncontrolled aerodromes
    • Navigating guidelines while working with your client (and learning how to say no)
    • Military bases, police, restricted areas, emergency events
    • Time of day
    • Flying at specific height
    • Working with people
    • Different levels of license
    • Ways to ‘cheat’ or work around the rules
    • What to do to stay safe and keep your crew safe
      • VLOS
      • Strobes
      • Audible alarm
  • Finding Jobs and Opportunities with Drones in the Industry
    • Understanding the marketplace
    • What level of the marketplace should you target?
    • How to build a reel and best display your ability
    • The tricky business of quoting and sticking to your rate.
      • Undercutting the market
      • Value-added rates
      • Offsetting license rights against day rates
    • Understanding clients’ needs and managing their expectations
    • Chris’s case study of working with a client in order to further your own career
  • Q&A with Chris

About Your Instructor

Chris Tangey is one of the most isolated cinematographers in the world. Based in the small town of Alice Springs, the de facto capital of the Australian outback, his nearest city in any direction is 1000 miles distant. He taught himself camera 30 years ago at a small regional TV station and only in the last 3 years has he expanded his skills into aerial images, currently with global success. He recently filmed all of the Australia vision for the Nathaniel Rateliff music video "Time Stands", shot on all 6 continents. Other aerial shoots include the 2 part finale of the U.S. 2020 season of THE BACHELOR for Warner Brothers, "Nomad: In the footsteps of Bruce Chatwin" under director and film legend Werner Herzog, a global TV commercial for Tourism Australia "Hemsworth", BBC's SEVEN WORLDS-ONE PLANET, and various other documentaries and TV commercials. So far in 2020 Chris has won 4 aerial imagery awards in New York, Amsterdam and Italy. He also has 2 Gold and 4 silver awards from the Australian Cinematographers Society (the ACS). Chris has quickly become a leader in the field of aerial imagery and is ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community.

FAQs

Q: What is the format of a webinar?
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A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

How to Operate a Drone as a Filmmaker and Use It to Get Noticed

In very little time, drone photography has become widely—perhaps too widely—used in countless films, television shows, commercials, and other media projects. And along with this wide adoption of drones has come a demand for those who can successfully and artfully operate them. This presents a potentially lucrative and rewarding opportunity for cinematographers looking to expand their reach and build their skill set. Yet with the clear overuse of drone photography in media today, each to varying effects, it’s evident that not all drone shots are created equal, and standing out requires a deeper level of skills. Adding drone cinematography to your film, TV or new media project can breathe new life into shots that may, in the past, have cost your budget heavily. But finding success with drones requires more than knowing simply how to pilot one; a cinematographer needs to understand how to properly use the tool and work with clients and artists to get those perfect shots. The truth is, for as often as drone camerawork is used in film, television and new media today, you can still stand out as a cinematographer in a big way by using drones smartly, artfully, and effectively. But what turns drone photography from mediocre to great? And how can you use this tool to stand out and not only enhance your current project but also help you get more work in the future? Chris Tangey is one of the most sought after drone cinematographers in the world. His impressive career as a cinematographer has him working for Netflix, Warner Bros. Columbia Tristar, BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Lonely Plant and more. He recently won "Best Aerial Cinematography" in the European Cinematography Awards, and both "Best Drone" and "Best Scenography" In the New York International Film Awards. He was also awarded a Jury Commendation in the World Drone Awards in Siena Italy and has 2 Gold and 4 silver awards from the Australian Cinematographers Society. Chris has quickly become a leader in the field of aerial imagery and is ready to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Chris will continue his drone cinematography education by expanding into the more intermediate and advanced elements of creating a great drone shot and using your work to help you get work. He will begin by going over the nuts and bolts of operating a drone, including preparation and safety checks, proper thumb and finger placement, and what the 180 degree shutter rule is. He’ll also explain how to maintain the shutter rule with ND and PL filters and teach you how to properly take off and land. He will also give you tips of how to eliminate variables and trip points when planning your flight and will show you how to continue to improve. Next Chris will break down the anatomy of a good drone shot. He will explain when drones are useful and when they should actually replace a jib or dolly shot. He’ll talk about the importance of getting the shot you’re after and how to tell if you’re overshooting. Next Chris will discuss different types of cinematic drone shots, including landscape shots, dolly shots, and lift shots. Then he’ll go more in depth of when you SHOULD use a drone and when you SHOULDN’T, including questions you should ask yourself before using the drone, how best to plan your shot, and what situations are most effective for drones. Finally, Chris will go over how drones work in the industry and how this particular skill set fits in. He’ll teach you the best ways to show off your talent and get noticed and give you tips on pathways to find work, including networks and communities, forums and drones for hire databases, and how that intersects with representation. Chris will leave you with a lot more context, skills, strategies, and knowledge to start using drones for your project and stand out from the pack while doing it.   This is Part 2 of Chris Tangey's Drone Cinematography Webinar Series. To check out Part 1, now available on demand, click here.     "My career as a cinematographer has been “elevated" greatly by incorporating drones and knowing how to use them properly to get the best possible shot. I'm so excited to share my experiences with the Stage 32 community and give everyone the knowledge to use this powerful tool to their creative and financial advantage" -Chris Tangey

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So where do you begin to look where others aren't, expand your prospects and give yourself a competitive advantage? Well, right here, of course!   For many, navigating the international market presents a black hole. Where can one find producers, financiers, representatives and development execs who serve these markets? How do you know what the trends are and how you may best serve them? How do you know the mandates of streamers, distributors and sales agents? Do you have a story already in hand that can be tweaked to serve an international audience? You may be surprised.   We could fill 20 paragraphs with what Alexia Melocchi has achieved in her 25 year career in the entertainment business. Alexia is an accomplished entertainment industry professional with a long proven track record of success within both the domestic and international arenas. A vital contributor to the LITTLE STUDIO FILMS brand, Alexia Melocchi's expertise and footing in the entertainment industry began in the international marketplace, as both a sales agent and buyer’s representative for eleven territories, giving her diverse exposure to all types of films and functions in the entertainment industry. As a consultant she currently uses her professional relationships and expertise by providing screenplay development, packaging films, securing co- productions and arranging for US and international distribution for her clients. A regular participant at most major film and television markets as well as festivals around the world, Alexia Melocchi still pursues international acquisitions and uses a global film marketing approach for the projects of her clients as well as the films she has and is producing under the Little Studio Films banner. During her tenure as a sales agent she sold more than 50 movies to profit on behalf of her producer clients, and acquired more than 100 major studio and independent films on behalf of the Distributors she has ongoing relationships with in Italy, Greece, Latin America, Spain, France, Germany, Japan and Scandinavia. She recently handled territorial sales for Unstaged, the Duran Duran live concert film directed by David Lynch, the Italian American film American Fango directed by Gabriele Altobelli and the Australian feature Bathing Frankie directed by Owen Elliott.   Alexia will teach you everything you need to know about the international marketplace and how to use your English speaking talents to get paid as a director, writer or author by international companies. She will give you an overview of the global film business including trends and how to tell global stories for a global audience. She will take away the fear and anxiety and the time suck of figuring out how to find, meet and engage international producers and financiers. She will explain the film markets and explain which ones to attend and which to skip. She will teach you the proper cultural etiquette when dealing with international decision makers. Of monumental importance, she will show you how to pitch yourself and your projects to the international marketplace and how your pitch may differ from U.S. targets.   Plus, you will get a handout of resources and links for foreign resources Alexia goes over in her webinar!     This is a comprehensive look at the international market and how to navigate the landscape toward opening up the world for new possibilities as a filmmaker, screenwriter, author or producer.       Praise for Alexia   "Great information. She covered a lot of ground and it was one of the most informative Stage 32 webinars I've attended. 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How to Create an "Investor Kit" to Raise Financing for Your Film or Project

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He has recently been tapped by Film Nation to adapt The Cabin at the End of the World, a Harper Collins title from author Paul Tremblay. The psychological horror and suspense novel centers on a vacationing family terrorized by four strangers who claim to be either attempting to bring about or trying to avert the apocalypse. His short film, Monsters, has played in over 100 film festivals worldwide, winning 43 awards including Best Short Film at the Comic-Con International Film Festival in San Diego and was a finalist at Stage 32's 3rd Annual Short Film Program. Steve filmed Monsters to serve as a proof of concept for his feature script, Twisted Avenue which is now in development. Needless to say, thrillers and suspense are in Steve's blood and the focus of all his writing. And now he's bringing all he's learned along the way to you. Steve will help you build your suspense from the ground up. He'll teach you the ultimate tool you need - the Hitchcock Ticking Clock Method which will help you on your way to setting the vital groundwork for your story. You'll learn how to create a compelling protagonist and an enticing villain. Steve will give you exercises you can use to craft your own characters and give you 5 must have tips on backstory and character confessions to give depth. You'll learn how to hook your reader in the first 5 pages and what the 3 different teasers you can write for your opening. You'll explore the power of murder in your script and the art of a twist ending. He will show you how to craft your script with producers in mind to give yourself the best chance to have your material attractive to the widest audience possible. Steve will go over how you can incorporate visuals into your story and break down case studies of Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs and Se7en. And, finally, Steve will share some advice on how to get your script on the screen by writing it in a producible budget.    You will have a fully immersive experience from a suspense expert that will leave you excited, inspired and confident to tackle your next psychological project.     This webinar was AWESOME!!! I just finished a thriller and now as a result of listening to Steve Desmond, I am ready to do a re-write which I believe will be one of the best screenplays I have ever written. Let's see what happens! - Michelle C.   What a thrilling and insightful webinar, excellent!!   - Kathleen W.     Super helpful information that you don't find in books! - Pamela C.     Very useful information - well structured and clearly presented! - Sara C.

How Conscious Creatives Can Use CHI Energy & Meditation to Stay Inspired, Motivated & Productive

We've all read the studies as to the benefits of meditation toward living a more calm and focused life. What you may not know is that many successful people from entrepreneurs to athletes to artists and film creatives use a combination of meditation and visualization to identify and prioritize what's important toward achieving their overall goals, concentrate on important tasks, cut out distractions and stay in the zone. If you find yourself lacking motivation or focus in your creative pursuits, if you're feeling beaten down by global events, if you feel as if you're unable to push through to higher plateaus, CHI energy might just provide the answer you're looking for. The idea behind CHI Energy is to help you free yourself of all mental obstructions by using state of the art techniques and mindset strategies that help elevate performance and results to the highest level of consciousness whether your work is behind or in front of the camera. Patricia Chica is a multiple award-winning director, producer, energy influencer and coach whose mission is to bridge the gap between storytelling, performance and Chi Energy within the film industry. She has been a go to teacher for hundreds of actors, crew members, and film industry professionals.  Through individual training and her global CHI Energy Workshops, Patricia has helped legions of people become aware of the power of the mind, body and spirit and how to use that energy to better create, get through blocks, overcome mental obstacles and generally find more happiness in all pursuits. Another goal of CHI Energy is to help you become a better collaborator, something that can serve you well throughout your career. Patricia will introduce you to the unique approach and application of conscious practices that she has not only taught around the world, but uses on with her cast and crew on her own projects as a filmmaker and a producer. She will cover how to boost your immune system so you have less down time and worries about missing your goals due to health issues. She'll teach you the art of zen, but more importantly, how to carry that zen with you in the day to day - especially important in these uncertain times. She will show you how to use your time at home to elevate your performance and creativity to a higher level. In a very key segment, Patricia will speak to the 5 levels of empathy and how to expand our emotional connection. Patricia will then take you through meditation and visualization exercises that you can begin practicing today! This webinar is open to all industry professionals, writers, directors, producers, financiers, sales agents, crew people and actors curious to learn simple techniques involving Chi Energy, visualization, and meditation and how to apply them for filmmaking, peak performance and creativity.   Praise for Patricia's Stage 32 Webinar:    Very positive and inspiring. Loved her five levels of empathy and how you work with each chakra. -JoAnne E.   Great content! -Maritere Y.   Awesome topic, Loved it! -Caroline B.        

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