To drone or not to drone? That is the question. Drones are really cool and can add a unique perspective to your wedding day memories. . .but are they worth the added cost? Wedding day drone coverage costs can vary and are typically charged as an add-on to a video package—meaning you are paying a videographer’s package price (typically between $1400 to $2500) PLUS requesting drone services for an additional fee (starting at $200+). Below you’ll find some pros and cons of drone wedding video.
Pros of Wedding Day Drone Video:
1) Establishing the location and setting of your wedding day can be a big factor in deciding on drone video services. Selecting the perfect location was super important and no doubt, one of your largest wedding expenses--you’ll likely want to have it well documented in your wedding day memories. Aerial drone footage of the location helps tell the story of your wedding day by introducing the setting just like in any movie you’ve seen. Drone shots can be dramatic and set the mood for your day depending on the angles and movement they capture(slow reveals, sweeping views that zoom in or pass over the venue and surrounding area, dark to light fading in or out as transiting shots, etc). Other fun drone footage could include tracking and following the couple, backing away from the couple (like in a parting shot), or providing a 360 degree view of a ceremony site or reception. Venues that would benefit from drone footage include those with picturesque natural features such as lakes, those in close proximity to the ocean/beach, and vineyards or ranches. Wide open areas are preferable for drone operators and it may be a good idea to ask if your selected venue has any regulations against drone use.
2) A unique perspective that only drones can capture is another reason to opt for this extra wedding video service. Drones can be beneficial in adding a sense of size and scope to your wedding day memories. If you rented an expansive estate or are getting married at a luxurious resort you’ll want to see the luxuriousness and surrounding natural beauty you are paying for. Even intimate weddings can benefit from aerial shots providing a glimpse into the exclusivity and tucked-away jewel-like charm of a small celebration. The unique aerial perspective can also provide the sensation of loved ones who have passed away watching your special day. Talk to your videographer and see what types of shots they can do/describe to capture a certain mood you are after if you have a specific vision like this.
3) Drones can capture interesting group shots of all your guests too. One of our favorite wedding shots began over the ocean and went across the shore and waves breaking on the beach to the wedding party standing and waving on the sand dunes in front of a popular coastal wedding venue. It was amazing footage and showed the appealing qualities of the venue for guests. Aerial group shots are great for capturing the celebratory mood and also for observing your guests interacting with the environment.
Cons of Wedding Drone Video
1) Drones are noisy and can be very distracting, so most videographers will recommend against using them during your wedding ceremony(all eyes on me please! Making a life-long commitment here!). Some areas may even prohibit the use of drones all together. There have even been instances of drones causing injury and it is typically not recommended for drones to fly over groups of people. If your heart is set on a wedding day drone, inquire about the experience of the drone operator and what they feel comfortable with. It may benefit you to find out in advance if the videographer will take responsibility for the damages in case of a drone crash.
2) Inexperienced drone operators might not provide the best footage. There are a wide variety of drones on the market ranging from tiny toys to professional quality. Make sure your drone video will be captured in high definition quality and with a steady skilled hand. The drone should have a gimbal that automatically stabilizes the camera shot, and a professional videographer should strive for as smooth a movement as possible(not darting left then right in a distracting way or providing shaky footage). As stated above, inexperienced drone operators could also be at greater risk of crashing and injuring people or property.
3) Setting up drone shots takes time and planning. Allowing your videographer the extra time needed to coordinate shots and to set up the drone is important. Cinematic wedding video requires artful story-telling and an experienced videographer is worth his weight in gold for drone and regular wedding day coverage. Videographers are likely determining the best angles, necessary shots, meaningful moments, and most picturesque viewpoints as the day unfolds. This requires an artful eye, skill, attention to detail, and a degree of spontaneity—you will greatly benefit by hiring someone with experience.