Drone Shots vs. Crane Shots: Which is Better?

Drones have become popular in the world of television and film, the use of drones has grown exponentially, and it seems like their applications have no limit. With a dynamic range of shots and the point of view angles to easy crane/jib shots, a drone has the technical ability to add some incredible production value to a program. Otherwise known as unmanned aerial vehicles, using a drone has many benefits both from the editorial side and the video production side when calculating the budget.



To shoot incredible dynamic shots, earlier photographers and videographers had to hire a helicopter or a crane/large jib. Now, there is a way to recreate these shots using a drone. Their size makes it possible for photographers to fly the drones in areas that would never have been possible with a crane. Shooting a low angle tracking shot, which is just a few inches from the ground and moving up to 400ft high in the air, which is not a possibility with a crane. Some shots that have never possible before are now possible after the drones have been created. Drones can also shoot indoors as it can be flown inside, through doors, arches, and windows or even flown automatically through pre-planned routes. Using a drone to capture an essence or environment of a place is highly effective. Unlike cranes that can only be used in outside locations.

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It takes a lot of time to use a crane and get shots, and people often consider the time vs. reward factor. If the shot you need is a 5-second shot, a drone is more accessible. A person handling the drone can set up the drone and make it air bound within 10 minutes to get the desired shot. The drone can screen multiple locations quickly, which gives the post video production and editors a range of smooth aerial and fake jib shots for them to use, while crane shots could never give you these results. There can be huge savings made across a production which can be calculated in thousands, which often saves hours in rigging, filming, and de-rigging.

If the weather isn't cooperating on the day you want to shoot, the drone can still be used entirely, while a crane would not be practical to garner results. The drone can quickly take off and capture the shot and land even if there is a time crunch of a couple of minutes.



When photographers and videographers intend to capture a photo or video, drones provide easy accessibility than the traditional crane to lessen the effort. Drones are smaller and more convenient rather than the crane which is attached on a platform on a mechanical arm, to capture images and videos. The only thing that a photographer needs to consider with a drone is that they can virtually operate their mobile device and attach it to the control system of the drone. The drones can be used for a longer durations because it does not tire the videographer or photographer out while navigating the environment and recording clips from the setting. The footage you collect is quite dynamic and useful in terms of a video's post-production or editing photographs.

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The 4K file not only records at a more excellent data rate and it also enables the editors to thrust into the frame with no reduction in quality if they plan to edit on an HD timeline during the video production phase. 

Drones are essentially mini helicopters which can carry and capture video footage from the sky. They allow the same effect as if capturing a film from a helicopter but without the hassle and expense. The downside of drones for aerial video footage is that they’re an expensive investment both in terms of time and money.

The creative freedom and location flexibility that you have with a drone cannot be compared.

There are the flight restrictions and required skills of piloting the drone itself but hiring a drone is a better way to get dynamic shots when compared to cranes. A professional video drone pilot essentially has all the expertise that is required to get the shots you desire, safely and effectively. Various video production agencies will have an option of drone shots for people who are looking to hire for all kinds of events.

Lucas Chu

Melty Cone is a full service video production company in NYC. We make commercials, corporate videos, branded content, brand videos and the best videos in New York!