All About Drones 'n' Dronies

Recently in the video world, we've seen an ever-heightening use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — also known as drones, quadcopters, or octocopters (depending on the number of blades!). And what with the recent invention of the “drone selfie" or "dronie," and elevation of that phenomenon into Internet stardom, we thought it would be a good time to sit you down for a little lesson on aerial videography.

In olden times, if you wanted an aerial shot, you’d have to rent an expensive helicopter or crane. But thanks to the compact size and affordability of UAVs, the sky is no longer a no-fly zone for low-budget filmmakers. In the past few years, UAVs of all shapes and sizes, makes, and models have become available on the market. Even a handful of relatively small and inexpensive models have their own onboard camera, such as the popular DJI Phantom 2. Or, if you purchase a gimbal, you can strap your GoPro right onto that bad boy. If you have a higher budget, DIY-knowhow, and extensive UAV flying experience, you can even mod out an octocopter to take your higher-end DSLR or RED Epic for a spin!

Drone Pros

To get your creativity soaring, we suggest you take a spin around Robert McIntosh’s account. Watch how he flies through structures and rock formations in "Santa Monica Airlines" and "Dry Run."

You may also want to check out this epic ninja fight video, shot by the people at omstudios entirely on a drone.

Even documentary filmmakers are using drones! Check out the fabulous short “Street Angel” by Stella Scott and all the aerial shots she used to capture the celestial, transcendent nature of the narrative.

Drone + Selfies = Dronies

Now you can take your selfies to new heights with the help of a drone. "Dronies" – a selfie taken from a drone – are the latest trend in aerial videography. Photojojo's Amit Gupta launched the fad when he posted this breathtaking video:

The key to a good dronie is a dramatic reveal as the drone zooms out to show your full surroundings.

You'll also want to make sure you're flying your drone on a not too windy day in an open space that doesn't have too many obstacles or people around.

Photojojo's got some more pointers that will help you master the art of the dronie. If you're looking for additional inspiration, peep my Dronies Channel.

Drone Safety

Ready to take your drone for a spin? Woah, not so fast there, friend. This is the part where we have to remind you that drones aren't all fun and games. If you've never flown a drone before, it's a good idea to find a local RC Club that can teach you how, or to learn from a friend with more experience.

It's also important to check your drone before taking to the skies. Quadrocopter's got a handy pre-flight checklist to get you started.

So what are you waiting for? Take flight and let your creativity soar!



Antony Lewis

Antony Lewis PRO

Cool guys, thanks for sharing! Love the whole Dronie concept - such an awesome idea!!


KamsaiTV Plus

fun concept. well done. charging batteries stat!!

Alex Dao

Alex Dao Staff

Fully charged batteries are key. Have fun!

Skip Bettencourt

Skip Bettencourt

Great to see we're having fun with these new tools, there is always room for an upgrade!
Keep flying.

Frank L. Mendonca

Frank L. Mendonca PRO

Nice were lucky to escape from the national parks without a hefty fine. Many follow the rules and have asked for permission to fly in Arches and Canyonlands. As far as I know, all have been refused.

Frank L. Mendonca

Frank L. Mendonca PRO

Just saw a news report where mindless jerks with drones were harassing wildlife in Zion Nat. Park, separating young bighorns from their mothers. DO NOT take drones into the parks...they do not belong there. Arches Rangers are chasing down multiple reports each week. Penalty: 6 months in jail AND $5000 fine.

marc mendoza

marc mendoza Plus

Made one over Easter.
Too bad it's still gross and wintery looking. Will have to redo when trees are in bloom and the river isn't muddy.

pier pictures

pier pictures Plus

glad to see the community embracing UAVs and encouraging that the learning process / steps to get to understand all of what it can do - can be done safety. great write-up! here's another recent project utilizing drone skill-age -


jodaddy23 Plus

not drone , not uav (since they can not be man-d ) i like amatuer areal photo platform



Awesome article! Thanks for posting. We cant' wait to get our first drone shots going!

Kevin White

Kevin White

It's good to see safety being discussed re: Drones/UAV's etc.

Too many amateurs are taking big risks flying over crowds of people, roads/motorways etc. or flying in areas without official permission & then posting the video(s) on public forums, not smart!.

Darryl Smith

Darryl Smith Plus

I'm glad to see others that are enthused as I am with this wonderful hobby. I try to shoot in remote areas so as not to disturb anyone. Here is one filmed near my home in western Colorado if you're interested: Cheers!

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Lesson Summary

What with the ever-heightening popularity of drones in the videosphere, along with the recent birth of the “drone selfie,” it seems high time, indeed, for a fly-by lesson on aerial videography.

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