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Shots That Benefit From Aerial Filming

If you are looking to enhance the quality of your next project by adding elements of aerial helicopter filming, first you should determine what kind of shots will best benefit your film. As with standard filming techniques, the way your aerial footage is shot tells a story and we at Rotor Head Film understand that completely.

What is Aerial Cinematography?

Aerial cinematography is the process of taking photos of video from an aircraft or other flying object, the main tools used to achieve aerial filmography these days are helicopters and drones. This form of capturing footage is largely used in film for the purpose of providing a sense of scale, but it has many other uses as well.

Aerial cinematography provides a very high vantage point and is perfect for being able to show more in frame, or for being able to give a completely different perspective on the story unfolding. These shots can always be used to create emotions within the audience, depending on just how the shots are used. There are several types of shots that aerial filming is typically used for where it can provide additional depth to the scene, some of these include:

Establishing Shots

Because aerial shots in movies are taken from so high up, they are perfect for establishing shots that show off the scenery of a film or scene. These wide shots are the best way to capture landscapes and give audiences a perfective on where the story is taking place. They are perfect for any stories that might resolve heavily around the geography or location of a film. Using an establishing shot to provide a glimpse of what the location around the protagonists looks like can be used to inspire wonder or excitement, but can also be used in a horror or thriller setting, perhaps to show just how isolated the characters are from the rest of society.

Chase Scenes

Aerial shots in movies are perfect for chase scenes that move far and fast. It means that you are able to more accurately capture just how much distance the vehicles are covering in such a short time. Providing extra action to the scene while also establishing just where the characters are headed. It can also be a beneficial way to keep better track of the characters from above while things on the ground may be quite tense and difficult to parse.

You can also provide some foreshadowing, by showing possible roadblocks or obstacles from the air that the characters haven't noticed yet. This can be a great way to raise the tension of the scene and make it feel like time is running out.

War Scenes

Aerial cinematography of a helicopter fleet has become iconic within the war film genre. While aerial shots in movies typically capture the ground below, they are perfect for shooting the epic helicopter fleets of war scenes. It can also be useful for adding some realism to a CGI scene, filming the open air where the effects will be superimposed can add more depth than just using post production for the whole scene.

God’s Eye View

Cinematography can create perspectives in film that most people do not experience in their life. The extremely elevated vantage point of what is called the ‘god’s eye view’ is an example of giving audiences a glimpse of a perspective they usually aren’t privy to. This is a shot that is extremely high up peering down on action happening on the ground. While it can be used as a way to establish a location, by showing the blocks of a suburb from up on high, the disconnected nature of these shots is also used in thriller or horror movies to create a sense of unease and of being watched from on high.

While aerial helicopter filming is mostly associated with movies and TV, it can also be used to benefit other projects such as:

Real Estate Marketing

○ Real estate agents, sellers, and buyers can benefit from providing overhead video of their property for sale. Although photos and videos can be captured from the ground, aerial filming gives more depth and information to the scene. It would be particularly useful for those selling a larger property, that way one video can be used to show the full scale of what is on offer, instead of potential buyers needing to scroll through multiple images.


○ These days documentaries are a much more visual affair, and one of the real tricks to mastering this style of genre documentary is to have careful control of what narrative you are presenting and how the scene is set. Providing aerial b-roll as supplementary footage is a great way to keep audiences engaged and offer a more expansive look at the area the documentary is based in.

So if you are now certain on what kind of shots you are looking to capture with aerial cinematography, the next step is to hire a professional. Get in contact with the friendly team at Rotor Head Film today so we can help you realize your dream project.


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