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.

FAQs

Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

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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!

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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.

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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. 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