How is exposing for drone footage different than exposing for traditional shooting?
In short, it’s not.
The same principles apply to both formats, so what should be your primary focus when exposing for your drone shots? Here are a couple tips to keep in mind:
- Get enough LIGHT into your sensor— too much light is better than not enough. Underexposure results in loss of visual information, from the mid-range right to the bottom. Overexposure, while not ideal, still captures the entire image and can be adjusted more easily in post-production (note: the “hot spots” will mostly show in the brightest areas of your frame).
- Capture your drone footage on a SUNNY day— on top of providing more light for your sensor to consume, the bright sun will make the details leap out of your frame like a pop-up-book. The opposite is true if you’re shooting under the cover of clouds: the fluffy giants will create the dullest shades imaginable, ruining an otherwise perfect vista.
PRO TIP: Time your takeoff with cloud movements to conserve your battery.
Notice the vivid texture of the landscape— the shadows and shapes form a visually appealing surface. Notice the colony of clouds on the horizon as well, and consider this: clouds can be in your shot, just make sure they’re not over your shot, graying and darkening the image.