How much planning do you put into your videos prior to actually flying?

This is something that has been on my mind for a little while now, not sure if there is a real point to asking the question or if it is just a general musing, but bare with me…

Although I have only been doing this a couple of months I am already finding myself a little bored by my own videos. I mean, I enjoy being out there flying, I am actually enjoying the editing process and learning more techniques to try, and I enjoy watching the videos back. But only in as much as they are pleasant videos of scenic locations that I have been too, but other than looking nice they don’t really say or do anything, though I am not entirely sure what that even mean.

I have been thinking about how much though got into each one, and the answer is not a lot. Sometimes I have a particular location that I think may may a good subject and plan a trip out. Other times I am already heading somewhere and think I may just take the drone in case there is something worth while. But at the very most the planning only extends at looking to see the sun position, checking sunrise/sunset times and a quick look on google maps to see what is around.

I am starting to think that what lets my videos down is a lack of a story. While I do this for my own enjoyment first and foremost, I do keep an eye on how they perform on youtube to try and gauge peoples reaction to them, and reading into it I think most people think the same. Though where as I still get some enjoyment from them, that is because I made them, they are locations local and familiar to me, the relevance is tiny to most other people so they generate little interest.

So this got me thinking that if I really want to improve, I need to put more planning into each video, and tell some kind of a story. One idea I have had and have started planning is to take my drone along with me on a bike ride along a the sea wall of a tidal river from the point inland where it starts to have any sort of significance, and travel some 20 miles out tot he estuary where it meets the sea. I plan to stop off along the way at various places of interest or where there are notable changes in the scenery and build up a video showing the journey.

Calling that a story might still be a bit of a stretch, but that’s my one and only idea and all that I’ve got. Past that I have no other ideas, probably go back to as I was before. :laughing:

I am starting to think that the flying and the editing is the easy bit. Coming up with a good solid purpose for creating a video in the first place is the hard part.

What do you do? Do you put a lot of thought and planning into your videos, or do you just get out there and see what you can get?


Generally I will have a plan of where I am filming, although am not adverse to filming targets of opportunity…

As to a plan, I tend to look for a natural ‘in’ to my video, some form of shot that brings the focus where I want it, a reveal, or a pan, or some sort of flight in, and also something to exit the video too - a pull away, or fly over…

For the main aspects of the video a combination of diferent shots, dolly shots, pans, top down, raise ups, whatever fits the subject, then when I get home I can play with it to put it all together…

A lot of my flying includes dual movement, sideways flight with some form of height change or orbiting something…

If you find yourself feeling groundhog day with your video’s then stop and take a look at what others are doing, get some inspiration and then try doing diferent things… Not everything wilkl work, but what does you will be happy with…


Thank you for taking the time to reply. But I think you may have missed the purpose of my original post, probably too much rambling from me for it to make much sense!

But rather than focusing on the technical aspects of creating videos, I am thinking more about the purpose of my videos, what is the reason for making them in the first place?

Turning up at a location and just shooting away and trying/practicing movements is all good practice of the technical skills, but I am still left feeling like something is missing. At the moment all I keep coming back to is should a good video be telling some kind of story, or revealing information in some way?

Ah, ok, got you now…

TBH we each have to find our own answers as to why we create what we create, if you need to find a
story then thats fine, whether you are presenting history, a travelogue of your journey or a doumentary of the scenery, it all comes down to what you want to do and what you are happy with…

in my case I try to make the sort of video’s I would like to watch, my tag line is Relaxing 4K, so I like to make something inspiring, epic beauty, relaxed or rousing music and to document what is there in a way that pleases me and that others may find entertaining or relaxing… I coiuld do how to video’s om how I do what I do, but there are myriad folks already doing it, so why would anyone l8isten to me above others who have been doing it a lot longer?

Do what works for you,what makes you happy, and enjoy what you do…


Firstly, I got my drone just to fly, inspired by the very videos you refer too and as I’ve yet to fully master the drones full potential I still enjoy learning new things.

Secondly there are many YT videos dedicated to cinematic video and “telling a story” with your footage that I’m sure will help you find what your after. The subjects depend on what your into.

Personally, I follow a similar routine as Suzanne does but add ground related footage and narration in order to entertain and/or educate.

I"m into history so I research the subject matter (from an historic perspective) before I go to film, and then look for footage that relates to what I’ve learnt when I get to the location. Take way more clips than I need, but better to have too much than not enough. Match the footage to my narration with some suitable backing music in order that makes sense.

One video takes a week or so to plan, research, write a narrative and edit into a 7 to 15 min ‘docuvid’. Hopefully someone will like them and I certainly don’t get bored.


@Doginabag I like you “River Crouch at Battlesbridge” video. This is an area I planned to fly but haven’t got around to it yet.
Finding something “interesting” to film is a problem I am having too. I have spent a lot of time on google maps searching for somewhere that might be worth going to. I think the area we live in is a bit devoid of interesting things. As I can’t walk very far finding something interesting with a suitable TOAL place is even harder.


Have you tried Drone Scene? I know you live in/close to a FRZs but there are a few entries in your area and if you contact the ATC or POC of the temporary FLZ you might get clearance to fly?

Finding interesting places does get harder as you use them up and travelling or revisiting is often your only solition I guess.

You could maybe take inspiration and ideas from other areas. For example music. Not every song has to be about an interesting, new topic, for example. But they do typically follow a structure (verse/chorus in the case of music) and have a rise and fall of intensity/excitement, leading to a climax. Books have a similar sort of flow. Indeed, feature films do.

So it may not be about finding specific subjects, but thinking of the high point to reveal near the end of the video and structuring the film to work up to that, with suitable highlights along the way.

(And no, I’m not an expert proponent of this :smile:)

I normally use google maps to try and spot a place that might be worth visiting as the zoom is better than Drone Scene. As places to TOAL need to be relatively close to somewhere to park as I can not walk too far. I then use Drone Scene for FRZs etc.

I use a combination of both too, but DS would possibly give you both the TOAL place, reason to fly and the parking in one hit. Then go to Gmaps for directions.

I film from ground/street level and add drone shots to give a different perspective. I use music as an intro-outro but theres non over the main footage. I reaserch the history of a location first and talk over the edited footage.


If I’m going to a specific place, I usually arrive and have a good look round first ( noting any potential dangers, trees, power lines etc ) Then usually fly around taking short clips , pan out, zoom in, circle, flying over looking straight down etc, ( many don’t even get into the final edited version ) Still learning how to use DaVinci Resolve, but know the basics. I’ve made many mistakes might be one day I’ll get round to doing a blooper video :joy::joy::joy::joy:

Just a quick point which you may wish to consider. In my search for information, as a new drone pilot, I found that almost everyone was saying the same things but, I levitated to a particular Youtuber because I liked his style and the way he taught the things which I needed explained.

You shouldn’t be put off just because many others do it. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the encouragement Colin, I have a face for radio and a lack of confidence at times, but am pushing myself beyond my boundaries, so once I get some form of decent gimbal camera - Pocket 2 or 3 perhaps - then I have a few ideas, travelogue of our drone holidays to Scotland and perhapos sharing how we get the results we get, but in the main I would rather be behind the camera than in front of it :slight_smile:


I do like your videos, the way you present information about the subjects and locations alongside the footage is something a bit different.
While it is not a direction I would want to go in myself, it is a good niche and I am sure there are plenty more people enjoying your videos too.

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Thank you.

While it it nice to get to some great locations, I think the test of a truly good video is keeping viewers interested in an otherwise less than idyllic location.

For example, the video I made at Tower Bridge is nothing special, but it has received more than ten times as many views as my Battlesbridge video, despite the fact that the latter is a much better video. In neither case are either anywhere close to being amazing videos, but the Tower Bridge one is much more popular simply for being a well recognised landmark.

And that Is what I want to avoid, I don’t want to travel here there and everywhere to get to popular locations and landmarks in order to make a video that people like purely for the subject. I want to be able to make amazing videos of mediocre locations that get people interested.

This is a good call actually.
“telling a story” might have been a bit simplistic of me, but building up interest throughout the course of a video is probably more what I have in mind. Finding half a dozen ways to get a drone to orbit a land mark on its own isn’t going to do that.

Music videos are a good idea for inspiration. Is MTV still a thing?

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This is something that I want to add in. Looking at the DJI action 4 and a gimbal at some point, though that is probably going to have to wait until the new year.

Glad it’s not just me!

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DJI Pocket 2 is great for content and narrating. It has a built in gimbal and an optional version which has a mic.
Action 4 is similar but more of an action cam.

Pocket 2 is probably going to be replaced soon with the Pocket 3

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