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

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

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

What You'll Learn

  • The Nuts and Bolts of Operating a Drone
    • Preparation and safety checks
    • Proper thumb and finger placement
    • What is the 180 degree shutter rule?
    • How to maintain shutter rule with ND and PL filters
    • Taking off and landing
    • Ways to improve
  • Anatomy of a (Good) Drone Shot
    • Case Study: Chris’s “Top End” drone footage
    • When should drones replace a jib or dolly?
    • The Importance of GETTING the shot
    • Are you over shooting? Do you already have that shot or is this better?
    • Being opportunistic with shots
  • Different Uses for Cinematic Drones
    • Landscape shots
    • Dolly shots
    • Jib shots
    • Reveals
    • Backing up footage
  • When to Use a Drone, When NOT to Use a Drone
    • Questions to ask yourself before deciding to use a drone for a specific shot
    • How to best plan your shot, planned shots are often the best shots
    • How long does a shot “deserve”?
    • Mix up your shots
    • Situations when drone shots are the most effective
  • Drones and the Industry
    • Best ways to show off your talent and get noticed
    • Pathways to find work
      • Networks and communities
      • Forums and drone for hire databases
    • Entering awards
    • Is representation a thing?
  • 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.

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

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

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Today, more than ever, self tape auditions are an integral part of the casting process. This is even more true in the age of social distancing. Additionally, due to the convenience self tapes provide and tight deadlines casting directors often operate under, more roles are cast via self tape auditions than ever before. Understanding how to set up, craft, and shoot a self tape can be the difference between landing more roles or having your talents fall by the wayside.  When a casting director requests and accepts self tapes to assist in their casting process, they inevitably wind up with tapes of varying quality and content. Whether it's picture quality or sound quality fails, a bad self tape immediately gets bypassed. Actors often think that their talent will always win the day. In a room, that might be true. But on a self tape, quality matters. Fortunately, there are some very simple, but comprehensive steps you can take that will make a massive difference in what you present to a casting director. The goal is to keep the attention off cosmetic or sound flaws and on your acting, where it belongs! Marin Hope, CSA is a Los Angeles native and LA-based casting director, who won the 2020 Artios Award for Casting. Marin works alongside Heidi Levitt, casting film, television, commercial, theatre and New Media projects. Some casting credits include HBO's BESSIE starring Queen Latifah, Mo’Nique, Michael K. Williams and Mike Epps, AMERICAN MADE, starring Tom Cruise and Domhnall Gleeson, COMPLETE UNKNOWN, starring Michael Shannon and Rachel Weisz, HOMELAND, starring Claire Danes, THE LAST WORD, starring Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried, KINGS, starring Halle Berry and Daniel Craig, Bad Samaritan starring David Tennant and Robert Sheehan, WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY, starring Joan Allen and Adrien Brody, and most recently MOLLY, Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning, Chris Rock, Laura Linney and Salma Hayek, which is currently in post-production. Over her storied career she has seen thousands of auditions and hundreds of casting self-tapes and she's back here exclusively on Stage 32 to impart her wisdom on what can help you get a leg up on the competition when it comes to your self tape.  Marin will talk about the need for self-tapes and why they are an essential part of today's casting process. You'll get insight as to why some jobs rely on it vs. others who require in-person auditions. She will go over your question on whether or not you should use a self-tape facility or film from home. When it comes to shooting at home, you will learn background, lighting, angles, wardrobe choices and equipment you will need, as well as whether or not you should film horizontal or portrait. Finally, Karen will teach you the do's and don'ts of a self-tape and share with you examples of good and bad auditions. You will learn all of this from an esteemed casting director's perspective which will give you the unique insight into how your own self-tape is viewed. PLUS! Marin will share with you: Videos clips of do's and dont's for casting videos A resource sheet of tools and equipment that can help you with the look of your casting tape     Praise for Marin's Stage 32 Webinar:   "I thought I was just going to revisit what I already know about self-taping but Marin brought forth valuable new information." -Michele C.   "I think Marin's webinar is excellent and covered everything that an actor would want or need. I like her no nonsense approach. Takes a lot of the fear factor away." -Sondra C.   "The information was informative, Marin gave a lot information that is extremely invaluable to me in this industry and I look forward to many more webinars with Stage32 because of this." -Michael C.   "Well, done. I have made it into several movies and missed getting into others. There are several things I learned which I will incorporate in future auditions." -Kenneth W.

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