Drone Cinematography Masterclass 2.0
From Drone Owner To Aerial Cinematographer
"Like so many before me have done, I just want to say a massive THANK YOU for an absolutely brilliant course. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned so much. Can't believe the Masterclass has finished but I am looking forward to more of your YT videos and will certainly rewatch a number of videos in this guide. Keep up the excellent work!"
- Annette Jummrich
Make the leap from drone owner to drone cinematographer!
I think we can all agree that drones can produce amazing footage that until a few years ago, was strictly the preserve of Hollywood. Shots we couldn't have imagined being possible are now accessible to all of us and as such, we must seize that opportunity with both hands, filmmakers and drone pilots alike. However, as cinema, TV, YouTube and social media flood our senses with aerial imagery, audiences have quickly become more discerning in differentiating between "just a drone shot" and stunning aerial cinematography. Building on our years of filmmaking experience going back long before drones appeared on the scene, in this 8 hour masterclass we give you a 5 step framework for creating stunning aerial cinematography. Whether you are new to this world or a seasoned pilot, in this masterclass we build your skills as a pilot and a filmmaker, calling upon our years of experience as drone cinematographers and years and years and years of experience as filmmakers. Containing hundreds of examples of not only our work from around the Scottish Highlands, Greece, Iceland and Spain, in the aerial film studies section of this course we look at dozens of Hollywood examples and relate the incredible work they produce to our own, identifying the repeatable strategies you can employ to emulate cinema-grade work with your drone. As the owners of a commercial production company ourselves, we have created not only an informative but visually stunning course that is both beautiful and inspiring in equal measure.
"My wife and I want to add our sincerest gratitude to you both for this outstanding course. It's not enough to say thanks, but you need to know that you are an excellent teacher! You are able to keep the audience engaged in a candid manner - all the while delivering serious jewels of information. I'm looking forward to having the mindset you've so aptly illustrated. We hope this isn't the last offering from you guys as we feel we have somehow gotten to know you both! :)"
- Paul Dawson
Differentiate yourself by flying like a filmmaker!
Whether you want to make money with your drone or just take your hobby to the next level, you NEED to know this stuff to differentiate yourself from the pack. Buying a drone is one thing...awesome, you have taken the first step and are a drone owner, welcome to the club! But you need to be so much more if you want to stand out. FIRSTLY, you need a degree of pilot skill and in the first section of this masterclass we teach everything you need in this respect. We take you from drone owner to drone pilot. SECONDLY however, and more importantly, you need to SEE the world like a filmmaker. In our experience, 99% of drone owners don't make it past the drone pilot stage. With this 8 hour masterclass, we will take you from drone pilot to drone cinematographer. We teach you to THINK like a filmmaker. By the end of this course, you will have the experience and guidance you need to stand on your own two feet as a cinematographer. Every drone shoot is different so a "painting by numbers" approach to filmmaking just doesn't cut it. Sure, at the end of the course we give you a shot list to practise as that is undoubtedly a great learning tool. However, it needs to be combined with an understanding of filmmaking principles if you really want to be noticed in the crowd.
One of our favourite parts of the course - learning from great Hollywood aerial cinematography
We teach you how to tell a story by creating SUSPENSE in your work. You'll learn how to layer your compositions to add DEPTH and interest to your imagery, drawing your audience's eye through the frame. We show you how to add MOTION to a shot to enhance the story you are trying to tell rather than just adding it because you can. We teach you everything you need to know about LIGHT and how that influences what it is you are trying to achieve on the day. Furthermore, we analyse COMPOSITION and how we can use basic principles to enhance the story you are telling with your work.
Whether you are filming for your own self-initiated projects, as a freelance drone operator, as part of a production company, directing another drone operator, or for any other reason, you NEED to know this stuff if you want to rise to the top of an ever expanding group of drone pilots.
"Thank you Stewart & Alina! I must admit I've been flying about 3 years now and I was thinking twice about watching this course but I'm really glad I did. I've managed to take some good shots across the years but probably more bad ones because I've never taken the time to sit back and try to understand WHY the good ones are good. So when I watched the section about the 5 step framework to creating stunning aerial cinematography things really clicked into place."
- Roger Allen
Is this the right course for me?
Originally launched in April 2018, the first incarnation of our Masterclass was a tremendous success both in terms of sales and feedback. Early in 2019 however, we set about rebuilding the Masterclass from the ground up and it is this we present to you today - Masterclass 2.0. The entire course was re-scripted and re-filmed, and building on the original, we launched Masterclass 2.0 mid-2019. This is an EPIC piece of work, filmed with the highest production value and structured with such diligence and precision that every minute of the content adds value to your journey as aerial filmmakers.
Furthermore, the course has been structured to make regular updates possible if required. 90% of this course concerns timeless concepts that are not drone or technology specific. However, if in a few years it is necessary to update this course, we will do so accordingly.
The course is suitable for beginners through to expert, licensed drone operators alike. To meet the needs of students of all abilities, this is a truly fast-paced, intensive education. Novices will undoubtedly need to rewatch sections of this course or pause and come back to the course as their skills develop.
"THANK YOU! This was a fantastic course and a good eye opener to thinking differently. Your movement through the material was excellent and even though I have a lot of experience, you revealed many new ideas and new, refreshing ways to think about drone flying and cinematography. I particularly like the idea of using 5 measurable elements (Suspense, Depth, Motion, Light and Composition) to stimulate a mindset that can be more creative and purposeful in planning a single flight."
- Russell D. Schundler
Do I need an expensive drone to benefit from this course?
Absolutely not! We'll let you into a secret...we are not that interested in drones! It's true! For us, the drone is a means of getting a perspective in the sky that was previously not available to us. As a consequence, we are not burdened with gear obsession - we are most certainly NOT gear freaks! Some of the best shots we have ever captured were done years ago on our Phantom 2 + GoPro 4 combo and many of them feature in this masterclass. If you have any drone that gives you a decent quality picture from a camera, preferably stabilized on a gimbal, then this course is for you.
The masterclass is a visual spectacle featuring huge amounts of our stunning drone footage from around the world
You see, with our background as filmmakers long before drones appeared, there is ALWAYS a 'better' camera out there. We shoot most of our commercial and wedding work on cameras that cost around $1,500. Oh, but if only we had the latest camera with amazing low light capability that costs $5,000! Absolutely not! Sure, our cameras are not the best in low light, so what did we do? Well we bought three, $100 lights and learnt everything we could about lighting. We learnt to shape an image with light, create separation between the subject and the background, tell a story and so on. By NOT buying the $5,000 camera we elevated our film production skills to a whole new level and on the back of this we built one of the most successful wedding film businesses in the UK, White Balloon Films.
Try not to get bogged down with obsessing over the latest and greatest drone. One thing that has become very apparent to us as we have built this course is that the vast majority of aerial cinematography to come out of Hollywood is incredibly simple. There is probably a little bit of motion from the drone and maybe a gimbal tilt or rotation but the beauty of the shot comes from the suspense created by not revealing the subject in the first frame, the creative decision to point the camera towards or away from the sun, the depth created by having layers in the composition between the camera and the subject and so on. We teach you all of this so you too can present yourself as not just a drone owner, but a drone cinematographer.
Screenshots from the masterclass
"Thanks Stewart & Alina! Anyone who has done editing will realise how much time and effort has gone into creating such a comprehensive course. It was structured very logically and is easy to follow with lots of real-world examples. Like others have said, I particularly liked the 5 element ranking methodology to improve each shot. As with photography, the more you practise a way of seeing, the more you tend to do it automatically."
- Mark Kelly
If drones fly themselves why do I need to pay for a course?
It is true that a drone "flies itself" in the loosest possible sense but does the drone do any of these things for you?
- Analyse the light to pick the best direction of flight or time of day for flying.
- Identify unwanted objects in the shot and position itself accordingly to exclude them from the frame.
- Tell you what the most cinematic composition is for the subject you are trying to film.
- Identify amazing locations for your drone shoots before you even leave the house.
- Build your scene by identifying ways of creating depth in your composition.
- Pick the appropriate camera motion that turns a basic shot into a story-telling masterpiece.
- Employ the story-telling device of creating suspense to engage your audience and wow your clients.
In this masterclass, we give you building blocks and a framework whereby all of the above becomes instinctive and second-nature. Also, if you are engaged in any non-drone film work then you will find our course of great value also as much of what we discuss is not drone-specific, rather an analysis of filmmaking concepts that date back to the early days of cinema.
"Thank you for this course! I'm struggling to write anything tangible because I'm still mind blown! Just incredible and your YouTube videos complement the course in so many ways. Having only owned a drone for about 3 weeks I'm excited to start putting my new mindset as a film maker into practise. What I love about this course is that it is well segmented and because of that I'm able to refer back to individual videos to help me progress my skills in bitesize chunks. It's not a one-off course, but material to refer to for life."
- Shaun Lewis
Tell Me About The Editing Workshop
Armed with the ability to create stunning aerial footage following Parts 1 and 2 of this masterclass, we want you to have the ability to present your work in an engaging and creative way in the form of a drone showreel. In Part 3 we give you all the tools you need to edit your footage like a professional filmmaker. We talk you through three editing concepts that we wish we knew when starting out: (1) key-wording, (2) favouriting, and (3) shortcuts. Embrace these concepts and your journey to becoming a great editor will shorten significantly! Following this, we take you through 5 cool editing techniques that are particularly applicable to drone footage:
- Speeding up footage
- Using speed ramps
- Reversing footage
- Zooming and repositioning
In order to help you along the way, we have provided you with a download pack of our drone clips. You can then work alongside us as we assemble a 60 second drone showreel made up of these clips. By the end of this workshop, you will be able to apply what you have learnt to your own showreel and show the world what you are capable of!
Isn't all this info available for free on YouTube?
Nope! We are not aware of anything that resembles our masterclass on YouTube. In fact, the closest you will find is our own YouTube channel, Drone Film Guide. The reason for this is that any drone "expert" we see on the internet is generally speaking a drone fanatic first, filmmaker distant second. The internet is saturated with drone reviews, best picture settings videos, drone comparisons videos and all that good stuff, often presented by individuals who are very good on the technical side of drones but fall short when it comes to what you should actually do with your drone once you've got it.
For Alina and I, the opposite is true. We love making films and getting the most out of our drone, but we have far less interest in the technical side of droning beyond, (a) how to get the highest quality cinematic picture, and (b) how to control the drone best for cinematic movement. Beyond that, it's all about the story and we believe it is this fresh approach to the world of drones that explains the success of our YouTube channel. Everything we say is supported by years of experience not only as drone operators but as filmmakers also and this gives us the credibility and confidence to create a course of value that we believe is worth paying for. In this masterclass we hold nothing back. We have put our heart and soul in to this course and we firmly believe the relatively small investment we ask of you will pay for itself many times over as you continue on your journey as a drone cinematographer. But, if for whatever reason you feel our masterclass was not worth the investment then we offer a 30 day money back guarantee as you can see in the FAQs below.
"Stewart & Alina, I wanted to thank you both for putting together this very well thought out, helpful course. I had been waiting anxiously ever since you first advised us of your plans to put this course together. The finished product did not disappoint. The idea of envisioning a result and using a drone as one of the tools to attain that result has made me think in a manner that will ultimately make my footage more cinematic and pleasing to watch. I used to fly with the camera on, hoping for great results. I now see that was my biggest problem. From now on I will fly to attain a desired result. Great job!"
- Stephen M. Woodburn
Start1. What's in the bag? (11:53)
Start2. Preparing your drone (11:15)
Start3. Thoughts on batteries (7:05)
Start4. Monitoring your flight (8:16)
Start5. How is your memory? (4:40)
Start6. The Application (8:24)
Start7. Failsafes (14:35)
Start8. Learning the sticks (6:50)
Start9. Control settings for cinematic flight (3:12)
Start10. Glencoe flight school (pt.1) (13:39)
Start11. Glencoe flight school (pt.2) (14:52)
Start12. Find amazing drone locations with Google Earth (9:54)
Start13. How to not fly over an airport... (18:04)
Start14. How are your map reading skills? (9:04)
Start15. Learning from the DJI flight recordings (9:50)
Filmmakers first, drone cinematographers second, as a husband and wife team, we have spent years refining our approach to filmmaking. Through our experience creating commercial films with Captain Cornelius and award winning wedding films with White Balloon Films, we find ourselves in a position to pass on the lessons we have learnt to you. You might also have seen us on our YouTube channel, Drone Film Guide!
Our advice and instruction is always founded on our personal experiences having flown hundreds of commercial drone flights filming landscapes, buildings, people, cars, rock bands and more! Combined with almost a decade of filmmaking experience, we are ideally positioned to apply filmmaking principles to drone cinematography and the results are clear to see in our work. Offering drone services in-house with our businesses, more often than not you will find that our drone gear is the same as yours. We fly accessible prosumer drones and produce outstanding results. You can too!
The masterclass is approximately 8 hours of intensive, aerial filmmaking education.
Yes, very much so. Our Masterclass is NOT preparation for a regulatory exam - far from it. Our course is as enjoyable as it is informative, taking you from drone owner to drone cinematographer. Take a look at the Curriculum above to see the table of contents. Our Masterclass is very popular with pilots who have passed the likes of the FAA exams in the US or the CAA exams in the UK because these courses do not give you filmmaking skills. As such, professional pilots looking to stand out from the pack have found tremendous value in our Masterclass.
Will this course go out of date as new drones come out?
Absolutely not. It will become quickly apparent that this course is NOT about the latest technology, camera settings and flight modes. Quite the opposite. It is about filmmaking principles that have existed for decades and that can now be applied to drone cinematography. The course is timeless, as are the skills you will learn.
Do I need a DJI drone for this course?
No. It is difficult to avoid DJI when talking about drones and certainly we have only ever owned DJI products. That being said, we have done our best to make this course drone agnostic although some of the discussion about settings and such like you will need translate to your own system if your drone is not DJI.
What is NOT included in this course?
This is not a business coaching course so whilst we build your skills to the point at which you can charge for your services, we do not tell you how to get clients and run a drone filming business.
Is this course suitable for complete beginners?
Certainly. The course goes back to basics and teaches you how to fly a drone for the first time so it is perfect for novices. That being said, the course is very fast-paced and quickly moves into more advanced topics. Novices will likely need some time to digest certain parts of the course before moving on.
Do I need special software for the editing section?
By definition, you will need editing software to edit your drone footage but you do not need to use Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) which is the software we use. Much like the filmmaking masterclass, when it comes to editing, it is what you do with it that counts! We teach you concepts and techniques that can be applied across any editing software so the workshop is relevant and applicable for anyone with an interest in improving their editing skills.
When does the course start and finish?
It's up to you! It is a completely self-paced online course so you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
After enrolling, you have access to this course for as long as you like, across any and all devices you own. Since all the videos are downloadable, we would recommend you download a copy to your hard drive for safe keeping.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.