NYC Drone Film Festival: Five Tips for Movie Creation with a Drone

Posted by Betsy Lillian on December 28, 2015 No Comments

Randy Scott Slavin, founder and director of The New York City Drone Film Festival, the world’s first film festival dedicated exclusively to movies filmed using drones, has compiled a list of five tips for new drone owners who are interested in making films.

“Drones are the most important cinematic tool since the tripod,” explains Slavin. “With a million new drone owners from this holiday season, we can expect creativity in aerial video and photography to explode.”

Step 1. Read the directions, know your local rules and register with the Federal Aviation Administration! Despite their appearance, drones are complex machines that have lots of flight modes, controls and fail-safes. Get to know your machine. You’ll enjoy your drone much more if you don’t crash and destroy it on your first flight.

Step 2. Practice, practice, practice. All drones have different flight characteristics, and the only way to get better, especially when shooting video, is to practice. In a big field and away from people, learn how to hover, and then practice all the controls. Once you’ve put in practice time, you’ll be able to focus on creativity.

Step 3. Shoot constantly, and develop your own style. Edit your footage, and put it online. Explore the power of drone movies by viewing the trailer for the 2016 NYC Drone Film Festival and by watching the winning entries from last year’s festival. In March, come to New York City and see what the best drone cinematographers are doing. Imitate and then one-up the shots that inspire you.

Step 4. Use your imagination, show something we’ve never seen before and tell a great story. Drones enable us to move cameras in a new way, but great stories will always be the cornerstone of an impactful film. Tell an incredible story and use the drone to push your film to the next level.

Step 5. Go to and submit your movie to the NYC Drone Film Festival. Submissions for the 2016 NYCDFF end on Dec. 31, but get started on your submission for 2017 now!

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