Aerial Filming in Melbourne: Tips for Stunning Drone Shots

6 Minute Read
Filming in Melbourne: Drone flying over beach at sunset, hands operating controller
June 24, 2024

In the past few years, drone cameras have totally rocked the videography scene. 

And why wouldn’t they? They offer these incredible angles you just can’t get any other way. 

After all, there is nothing better than a bird’ s-eye view to capture the essence of a city. Filming in Melbourne with a drone can help you create a unique and dramatic video. And this, in turn, will allow you to attract potential clients and leave a mark in your industry. 

But here’s the thing: purchasing a brand-new drone is only part of what you need to make stunning and engaging videos. 

That’s right. 

There are several rules to adhere to when flying your drone in Victoria and other parts of Australia. 

And there are also a number of tips to keep in mind before chasing that perfect footage. 

In this step-by-step guide, we’ll share our best tips on filming in Melbourne with a drone. 

1. Research Iconic Locations:

You want to shoot a video to promote your business. That’s great. But before you start filming in Melbourne, do your research. Spend time in different suburbs to get a feel for the atmosphere. Explore different landmarks and scenic spots and identify the best filming locations to support and enhance your story.

Some iconic sites include: 

  • Federation Square
  • Brighton Beach
  • The Royal Botanic Gardens
  • St Kilda Pier
  • Westgate Park

2. Understand Regulatory Requirements

The drone industry is highly regulated. That’s why it’s important to familiarise yourself with Melbourne’s drone regulations and airspace restrictions. Before filming in Melbourne with your drone, you need to ensure compliance and safety.

This means obtaining necessary permits and permissions for commercial drone operations and adhering to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)  laws and regulations.

Here are some rules when it comes to filming in Melbourne with a drone:

  • The City of Melbourne requires a permit before any drone activity is permitted to take place within or above the municipality’s Public Open Space. 
  • The following documents are required to be submitted in support of your application:  
  1. Remote Pilot License (RePL)  
  2. RPA Operator’s Certificate (ReOC) 
  3. Aeronautical Radio Operator Certificate (AROC) (for all locations within controlled airspace)  
  4. Operators Public Liability Insurance for a minimum sum of $20 million   
  5. Detailed aircraft operations plan 
  6.  Risk Management Plan – to reference compliance with HLS restrictions where relevant and risks specific to the operation of the RPA.  

You can submit your application via the city’s Filming Portal.

And for more information, here’s the exhaustive RPA/Drone guidelines page.

3. Consider Weather and Lighting

Filming in Melbourne outside is always riskier than shooting inside because you can’t control weather conditions. That’s why we recommend monitoring weather forecasts and planning filming sessions during optimal conditions. Avoid rain, strong winds, and harsh sunlight at all costs. 

Another thing to consider is the golden hour. Leveraging this time of the day can make for stunning aerial shots, maximising the warmth and softness of natural light.

4. Essential Gear and Equipment

Purchase the Right Drone

Choose a drone equipped with a high-resolution camera and advanced stabilisation features. This will allow you to capture crisp, stable footage.

When shopping for a drone, you should also consider important factors like: 

  • Flight time
  • Range
  • Obstacle avoidance capabilities 

Purchase Accessories For Enhanced Footage

You’ve just purchased a drone, so that’s happening. You’re going to be filming in Melbourne—great news! But before taking it for its first flight, you might want to consider buying a few drone accessories:

  • ND filters
  • Polarising filters
  • A landing pad
  • Propeller guards to enhance image quality and mitigate environmental factors
  • Additional batteries and storage solutions to extend filming sessions. This way, you’ll be able to capture ample footage without interruption.

Have a Pre-flight Checklist

A pre-flight checklist will help you make the most of your filming session. After all, there’s nothing more frustrating than planning to film a beautiful site at the right time of day and finding out you didn’t pack enough batteries!  

So, create a comprehensive pre-flight checklist including: 

  • Drone inspection
  • Battery health checks
  • Storage
  • Flight path planning

And you should also conduct a thorough site survey. This will allow you to identify potential hazards and obstacles that could affect flight safety and filming quality.

5. Mastering Aerial Filming Techniques

Experimenting with Camera Settings

Before filming in Melbourne outside, it might be a good idea to adjust your camera settings first. 

Here are some of the settings to look at:

  • Exposure
  • White balance
  • Frame rate 

Considering these factors will help you achieve optimal image quality and cinematic effects.

Also, we’d recommend experimenting with different shooting modes before the actual shooting day. These include manual mode and intelligent flight modes. This will allow you to capture different perspectives and movements.

Composition and Framing

Filming in Melbourne with a drone isn’t just about buying the right drone, accessories and adjusting your settings. To create a bold and innovative video that’s visually appealing you’ll need to apply principles of composition. These include leading lines, symmetry, and the rule of thirds.

Also, don’t hesitate to experiment with framing techniques to highlight focal points and add depth and dimension to your footage.

Dynamic Movement and Cinematic Shots

Because we want you to plan your filming session as best as possible, here’s a bonus tip when it comes to filming in Melbourne with a drone. Try to incorporate dynamic movements in your footage like:

  • Orbits
  • Flyovers
  • Reveals 

These will be sure to add cinematic flair and visual interest to your aerial sequences.

6. Post-Production Enhancement

This part is one of the most critical because this is when the magic happens. Once you’ve got your footage, you’ll need to edit it so it tells an engaging visual story. 

We recommend using professional editing software to refine and enhance your aerial footage. This will allow you to adjust colours, contrast, and saturation for cinematic impact.

Another way to create a compelling story is to incorporate sound effects and background music. These should complement your aerial footage so that viewers feel immersed in the video.

A high-quality drone video always creates a seamless audio-visual experience for the audience.

Use The Help of An Experienced Drone Videographer

At DreamCube, we’re always looking for innovative techniques. 

Our mission is to create videos that help our clients stand out. And we believe this can only be achieved by keeping our fingers on the pulse. Drone videography is one of the most powerful tools we have in our marketing arsenal to help our clients achieve their goals. Not only do we have all the permits and equipment required, but we also know where and how to film for maximum impact. 

Sounds like what you need? Don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to help!

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