Best Drone for Paddleboarding
In this article we discuss what we have found to be the best drone for filming paddleboarding. But first let’s look at filming while paddleboarding in general. Filming and paddleboarding at the same time is a pretty tricky business. As we’ve discussed in a previous post there are a number of different ways to capture your SUP adventures whether it is on your smart phone or a sports camera such as a gopro hero. There are also a number of different attachments for your camera that can make paddle boarding videography easier which we talk about here. This is an ongoing and evolving list and if you’d like to see our full equipment list check out this page here.
Some of the limitations of only using a phone or action camera can include:
- It’s really hard to hold a steady shot while on a paddleboard
- You can’t easily film and paddle at the same time which means
- A lot of your shots can end up looking the same
- To film yourself paddling you can end up with some pretty unflattering shots
Why do you need a drone for paddleboarding
Having a drone to add to your filming equipment can open up a whole lot of different options. You can vary your shots with different vantage points. The best reasons to get a drone to film your paddleboarding adventures is:
- You can get wider angle shots
- The filming is a lot more stable as the drone has an inbuilt gimbal
- Drone shots tend to bring the EPIC to your film if done well
- The drone clips add the sense of floating on water which conveys what it’s like to be on a paddleboard
The not so good aspects of filming with a drone that we haven’t found a good work around for yet are:
- Concern for the drone falling in the water never to be seen again
- Are yet to find a foolproof way of filming both of us at the same time
What is the best drone for filming paddleboarding
Filming with a drone takes your Paddleboarding adventure to a whole new level. We found that the best drone for paddleboarding is the DJI Mavic Mini Drone for two main reasons:
- Price – it is one of the most reasonably priced and yet still good quality drones out there
- Size – it is just under the minimum weight of 250g (above this weight requires extra licensing in many countries). See this site for more information on individual country requirements.
What is the best way use a drone when paddleboarding
When using a drone to film your paddleboarding adventures there are some things to consider to get the best results. Using a drone can take some time to master. Clocking up some flying time with your feet on solid ground first is a great way to start. This way you can familiarise yourself with your drones nuances. The following are some of our best recommendations to consider when using a drone to film your paddleboaridng session.
The first thing we did with our drone was try to do a whole lot of tricky shots. We tried flying up and down, zooming in and out, spinning etc. While it was a lot of fun, we noticed that speed is really important. Part of the feeling we want to convey with our films is a sense of calm, floating, relaxed escapism. Now this might not be what you are trying to achieve, but for us it meant ensuring that the speed that the drone was flying at wasn’t too fast.
The thing with speed is that in the edit you can always increase it but if you try to slow it down you lose clarity or resolution. BUT you can’t speed up in the edit too much as it will also speed up the paddle strokes of the person you are filming making it appear more comical than serene.
Our Advice – play with different speeds to find what works well for the style you want to create but err on the side of slow.
A FLYING CAMERA
Some good advice we have found through some of the courses we’ve done is to think of the drone as a flying camera. Instead of filming as you aremanouvreing the drone, fly the drone to a location and set up your shot then press record and leave it in position. This method creates the sensation that you have a really big tripod. The background is static and the only thing moving is the paddle boarder.
Remember that you can move your drone anywhere within 3 dimensions (unless there is a tree or mountain in the way of course). Often we can get stuck thinking that there is only one perspective that we can shoot from and that is the perspective we have from where we are standing. Look around you and see what features speak to you. You might find that the best shot is behind you but the paddle boarder is in front of you. This sounds like a simple concept but in practice we’ve found that you really have to teach yourself to think outside the box.
VARY YOUR SHOTS
To make your film interesting use a combination of close in detailed shots and wide angle shots and everything in between. As you get more experience with filming you will see more opportunities to create different shots with different perspectives. A really great way to ensure variety is to
CREATE A STORY BOARD
One of the practices that I am working with at the moment is working with a story board of potential shots to film on location. It is so easy to get caught up in the moment when you are out on your board and go for the simple and easy shots such as nose of board. But if you have a layout of which shots you’d like to film it can make the process a lot easier. One of the best ways to work with a story board is to
TAKE YOUR TIME
Filming is something that you really don’t want to rush. I really love Scotland and had the absolute best time ever filming our SUP SAFARI SCOTLAND series but I have to say…. Often the conditions were such that I had to cut my paddle session short due to wind, rain, waves, temperature and more. I found that I often got a small window of decent filming conditions and then suddenly they would change and the paddle became considerably less enjoyable. To get the best shots allow yourself plenty of time and be prepared to wait until you can get the conditions you want. This is also a good idea for your own safety. One of the best days filming we had was on Jura. The weather was great, the conditions were still and calm and we had all day to enjoy the paddle then sit in the sun with a cheeky Lussa Gin back at our camper van afterwards. Paddleboarding and Vanlife is a match made in heaven!
BE PREPARED TO KEEP LEARING
One of the things I have loved about our drone and filming adventures with our paddleboarding and van life trip around Scotland is just how much room there is for growth and learning. While some of our early films are quite basic I think that just the practice of getting out there and starting is the best thing you can do if you want to improve. I also love the creativity of film making. You could have 2 different people filming the same subject matter and get 2 totally different films.
To see what a DJI Mavic Mini drone filming paddleboarding is like check out this video
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If you haven’t yet watched part one of our SUP Safari Scotland Travel Video Series check it out here.