How To Make a Movie with That Christmas Drone

New York City Drone Film Festival poster

Got a Drone for Christmas this year?  Yep.  You and one million other people this holiday season according to the FAA. What to do? What to do with that high tech toy…Here’s an idea:  Make a Movie!

You might not realize how easily it can be done. But Drones have been icapturing some of the most iconic cinematography in recent memory, from the Oscar-winning opening sequence of Skyfall to the infamous Hamptons party scene in The Wolf of Wall Street.

In fact, “Drones are the most important cinematic tool since the tripod. With a million new drone owners from this holiday season we can expect creativity in aerial video and photography to explode,”  said Randy Scott Slavin, founder and director of The New York City Drone Film Festival, the world’s first film festival dedicated exclusively to movies filmed using drones.

Slavin has compiled a list of five easy steps to use your new drone to create a cinematic masterpiece. If you’d like to submit your film to the New York City Drone Film Festival, you have until 11:59pm on December 31, 2015 to enter.

5 Easy Steps to Make a Movie with Your New Drone

Step 1. Read the directions, know your local rules and register with the FAA! Despite their appearance, drones are complex machines that have lots of flight modes, controls and fail-safes. Get to know your machine. You’ll enjoy your drone much more if you don’t crash and destroy it on your first flight.

Step 2. Practice, Practice, Practice. All drones have different flight characteristics and the only way to get better, especially when shooting video, is to practice. In a big field and away from people, learn how to hover and then practice all the controls. Once you’ve put in practice time, you’ll be able to focus on creativity.

Step 3. Shoot constantly and develop your style. Shoot constantly! Edit your footage and put it online. Explore the power of drone movies by viewing the mind-bending trailer for the 2016 NYC Drone Film Festival and by watching past festival winners. In March, come to NYC and see what the best drone cinematographers are doing. Imitate and then one-up the shots that inspire you.

Step 4. Use your imagination, show something we’ve never seen before and tell a great story. Drones enable us to move cameras in a new way, but great stories will always be the cornerstone of an impactful film. Tell an incredible story and use the drone to push your film to the next level.

Step 5. Go to and submit your movie to the NYC Drone Film Festival. Submissions for the 2016 NYCDFF end on December 31, 2015, but get started on your submission for 2017 now!

filmdroneThe NYC Drone Film Festival is the world’s first event exclusively dedicated to celebrating the art of drone cinematography. The festival provides a platform for aerial filmmakers to showcase their work, shot anywhere in the world, emphasizing innovative flight technique and aesthetic beauty. The festival offers an international platform for filmmakers from every corner of the globe to exhibit their work in front of industry professionals and the drone cinema fan community.

In its inaugural year in 2015, NBC News was the presenting sponsor of the festival. The festival was also the focus of a 90-minute TV special on AXS TV hosted by Slavin. The festival has been featured on VICE, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Le Monde, NPR, New York Magazine and AdWeek as well as dozens of other media outlets.

Tickets for the festival will go on sale in January 2016.



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