Types of aerial cinematography shots by Aerial Whidbey

While it's fine to let Aerial Whidbey choose the types of scenes in your video, why not participate more in the creative process? Take a look at the examples below, so when you get in touch you've had some time to think about which scenes you want recorded from the air. These are just a few of the many possibilities. (Unlike most of the "drones" sold today, Aerial Whidbey drones have an additional computer that produces remarkably smooth video clips without jerky or uneven camera movements from hands-on use of control sticks by an operator/pilot.)

Multi-Point Cable Cam (MPCC)

This type of shot is used most often by Aerial Whidbey because of its versatility, control and re-usability in many field situations. Imagine the drone and its camera are moving gracefully through the air from one point in airspace to another, recording just the right video scenes at each point. Like the drone and camera are sliding along a virtual cable in the air. An example is Aerial Whidbey's Four Corners Overview shot (below) where a MPCC program was created by manually guiding the drone to one corner of the property, aiming the camera, then repeating those two steps at the other three corners. The result is a smooth overview of the property and the surrounding area. Any MPCC program can be reused as often as desired that day, in another season or in another year to accurately monitor for changes in, on or near the property. An MPCC shot can include as many points as desired, with the drone aimed in any compass direction horizontally, while the camera is aimed at any vertical angle from horizontal to straight down (nadir view). Many creative possibilities!


Imagine the drone and its camera are steadily moving along a straightened cable in the air.

Two things can be done while the drone is automatically flying along the virtual cable:

(1) rotate the drone/camera to look in any horizontal direction, or/and

(2) aim the camera down or up at any vertical angle from horizontal to straight down (nadir view).

The "cable" can be programmed to start and end anywhere in airspace (level, or tilted down, or tilted up).

For a flyby effect, the drone and camera can be programmed to aim at an object or point-of-interest while moving along the cable.

The "line" (virtual straight cable) of a Zipline can be saved as a reusable program.

The example below illustrates a few of the options.

Horizontal pan

At any altitude (up to 400 feet, per FAA rules), the drone/camera can be slowly rotated horizontally (a panning motion) to record the surrounding area.

While panning, the camera can be aimed at any vertical angle from horizontal to straight down (nadir view).

The example below is from above a Glendale Beach property, one of several beach areas protected by the Whidbey Camano Land Trust.


At any altitude (up to 400 feet, per FAA rules), the drone can smoothly follow a circle in the air around an object of interest below, while the camera records a video of the object.

The diameter of the circle above the object can be adjusted from small to very wide.

For an expanding corkscrew effect, the drone can be flown up while increasing the diameter of the circle. 

Other types of shots

  • Spot Mode. While the drone is in the air, aim the camera at the base of an object of interest, turn on Spot Mode, then fly the drone anywhere around the object (even directly over the object). The camera will continue to point at the object.

  • Follow/Optical or Follow/Remote or Follow/Me. While the drone is in the air, aim the drone/camera toward a person, car or other moving object. The drone will follow it.

  • Time-lapse. While the drone is holding a position in the air and the camera is framing the desired scene, set the camera to record images at a time interval.

  • Inception. The drone flies up and away from its start location, pausing to take pictures at points in the air. (similar to scenes in the movie Inception.) 

  • Horizontal, Oblique or Vertical Scanning Missions. The drone flies a "lawnmower" pattern while many overlapping images are recorded. Excellent for developing highly-detailed composite images of large areas (for example: a bluff, a home, a community park). The collection of images can also be used to develop 3D digital models.

  • Manually-guided. Your experienced Aerial Whidbey operator uses a hand-held controller to directly guide the drone and aim the camera to perform:

    • slow, smooth ascents to reveal scenes behind buildings, trees, hills, people.

    • gradual descents, shifting from wide scenes to narrow, focused scenes

    • unlimited combinations of programmed, partially-programmed, and manually-guided shots.

More examples on the Blog and Gallery of this website.​

What about infrared videos and images?

  • Aerial Whidbey also has a 16 megapixel NIR+Red NDVI camera that is excellent for identifying dying, dead or missing vegetation on a bluff, and for other purposes.

  • Visit Aerial infrared video and images under Gallery on this website for more information.

  • The following image is of Glendale Beach Park, managed by the Whidbey Camano Land Trust.