Drone Shots

By Bart Weiss

As a film festival goer and programmer, I see lots and lots of films, and lately, I have seen a trend that just drives me crazy. Drone shots. Now don’t get me wrong, filmmakers having access to what would have been a complicated and really expensive shot is an amazing thing. These shots look great, but there is a problem.

Most of the shots have nothing to do with the film they are being made for. It’s like the filmmaker is saying, look what I got, and I am going to make you look at these shots over and over and over again, because you see, I have this drone, and it looks cool.

This trend started with the series “The Making of a Murderer,” the 2015 series on Netflix. They had a great story, but they did not have enough visual material to stench out the series to the ten shows that appeared on the first season.  So, over and over again, we saw 2 drone shots.


I would have rather they made five visually interesting episodes.  Since then, I have noticed that any time you see one drone shot, it will usually be repeated, and usually there will be more.

Please fight the urge to keep putting these in your cinematic expressions. If you want to show off, make a drone reel, and put that on Vimeo, and show it to your buddies, but please stop overusing drone shots just because you have this new toy. As with every new piece of technology, having an aesthetic reason to use it and apply in your film and for the purpose of helping to better serve your story will add value and elevate your production.

I am not saying, don’t use drone shots. I recommend that you use drone shots when they are called for and listen to your editor who will tell you to take some of the them out. If your editor doesn’t tell you that, you should look for a new editor.

This programmer thanks you and so do programmers around the world.


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