Saturday, October 31, 2015

Book Review: Aerial Photography and Videography Using Drones

 If you've been involved in drones for any length of time, you're probably already familiar with Eric Cheng's Aerial Photography
work.

He's released a new book called "Aerial Photography and Videography Using Drones" which summarizes a lot of his experiences and is a great introduction to using a drone for aerial photography andvideography.

tl;dr: If you're a beginning drone pilot interested in aerial photography, you should buy this book immediately.  If you're an experienced drone pilot but would like some instruction on the photo/video side of things, it's got useful stuff for you as well.  If you like photo books with beautiful, thoughtfully composed material, ditto.




Contents

  • chapter 1: Equipment
  • chapter 2: Learning to Fly
  • chapter 3: Aerial Stills Photography
  • chapter 4: Aerial Videography
  • chapter 5: Getting the Shot: Real-World Stories
  • chapter 6: Flight, Policy, and Travel
  • appendix A: Resources
  • appendix B: Reference Material

Bonus Online Contents

You can access this material by registering your book on the website.  There's instructions in the book's introduction.

  • Chapter 1: Overview
  • Chapter 2: Exercises
  • Chapter 3: Dronie
  • Chapter 4: Toolkit (and Orbit)
  • Preflight Checklist
  • Resources

Beginning Pilots

Start with chapters 1 and 2.  That will get you into the air, with eight exercises that will quickly build your piloting skills. Be sure and follow along with the video exercises and you can watch Eric fly the moves.









Aerial Photographers

Chapters 3 and 4 are for you.  Eric talks a about the technical aspects, and then (what I found especially useful) lists some of the common camera moves, such as the crane, arc, and point of interest.  In the video supplement he give some hints on how to practice these so that you can use them smoothly and without councious thought, giving your maximum attention to the creative and storytelling aspect of what you're doing.

One excellent point of his presentation: you're telling a story, and the technical aspects of what you're doing are in support of the story you are telling.

Chapter 6 has some practical advice on travelling with and transporting your equipment, and some notes on flying legally.  This is a topic which is being continuously revised by various governments, so it's probably a good idea to check that the guidelines he mentions are still applicable in your location and time.

One interesting note:  he mentions that many people ask him about how high his aircraft will fly, but it's ironic that a lot of the best photography is from relatively low altitudes.

People who love beautiful photography

Chapter 5 is a collection of world-class drone photography.  Some of it's by Eric, and some of it by other photographers, both professional and amateur.  Stunning, Drop-dead gorgeous, etc., It's all splendid!

Note on reading the PDF version

It's obvious Eric has put a lot of effort into the layout of the book.  If you're reading the PDF version, be sure to

  • go into full-screen viewing mode
  • view pages as "side by side" or  as "two pages"
  • ensure that the right-hand page is odd numbered

Fixing your PDF version

Look at pages 142-143 of the ebook.  There should be one picture, with the beginning of chapter 5 .  If you see page 141 (with text) on the left, and page 142 on the right, you need to adjust your view of the pages.

With Adobe reader, this is easy (I'm told) to do... just move one page forward, and the left/right balance will be adjusted.

If you're on a Mac and using Preview, you'll need to do a bit more work.
  • In Preview, File / Save, save as "drone2.pdf".  Don't select "save as PDF" it will remove some of the imagery.
  • Open "drone2.pdf" in Preview
  • View /  Contact Sheet
  • Select the title page (not the cover) and delete it
  • Go back to "Two page" view and you should see the even numbered pages properly displayed on the left.

Book Link:

Aerial Photography and Videography Using Drones


Disclaimer

Eric's a longtime friend of EastBay RC, and provided a complimentary copy of the book for review.




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