Tags archives: dji inspire

Monterey from the Sky


We had the chance to go to Monterey twice this month and were able to film some pretty cool stuff. Check out this clip we shot at a world-famous golf course on Pebble Beach. We experimented (in post-production) with 2:35.1 ratio (cinema style) for the first time and we’re pretty happy with the results. We are on the eve of wedding season insanity. Excited for what lies ahead.


Eight years ago, this lovely couple got married and started their amazing family. Now a family of 6, the couple decided to renew their vows in an intimate ceremony among friends and family at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, CA. Most couples wait many years to renew their vows, but there was something special about the freshness of the couple’s ceremony and their love that was so evident. The ceremony The March vow renewal was followed by a beautiful dinner reception at Postino restaurant in Lafayette. Hopefully they do something like this every 8 years so we can be a part of it!

Details:
Shot/Edited: Dan Bowen
2nd shooter: Travis Bell
Reception Site: Postino http://postinorestaurant.com/
Location: St. Mary’s, Moraga
Music: “Dwell” – Tony Anderson (licensed through The Music Bed)
Camera/equipment specs: Canon 5D Mark iii, Sony A7S, Canon 6D, 70-200 2.8, 50mm 1.2, 16-35 2.8, 24-105 f/4, Rhino Steadycam, DJI Inspire 1, Rhino 4ft Slider Pro

We were recently contacted by TheDroneInfo.com requesting an interview on drone videographer. Naturally, we obliged. It was a lot of fun discussing the current state of drone videography and how we apply it in our work. The interview can be found here. You can also read it below:

Q. Daniel, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Could you tell us a bit about your business?

I officially started Matter Video in 2011 and have been doing it full time since then. We create wedding videos as well as projects for non-profits and businesses. We love telling people’s stories through a visual medium. We primarily work in the San Francisco Bay Area, but we also on projects around the world.

Q. How did you get started in using drones for your business?

In 2013 we shot a wedding in Santa Cruz with a photographer named Philip Lima. Philip happens to be one of the best drone “pilots” that I know. He brought his drone to the wedding and captured some video for me. It was the first time I saw a drone used at a wedding. I knew I had to get one. We purchased a DJI Phantom 2 and a GoPro, and used it for about a year (20+ weddings and various other projects). It completely changed the way we approached videography. It sounds cliche, but suddenly every type of shot was possible. The drone was a dolly, jib and provided perspectives we had only previously dreamed about. We sold our Phantom 2 at the beginning of the year and bought the DJI Inspire 1. The Inspire is yet another game changer. Its functionality is insane. The fact that you can completely control the video controls in the air is amazing. It is so smooth and fluid. We used it on a wedding last week and it provided some of my favorite drone footage to date. It is insane.

Q. How have your customers reacted to the use of drones?

Customers love the drone footage. I have several wedding clients who have booked us based solely on our drone footage. To be honest, only a small percentage of the footage in a given wedding video is of the aerial variety. I primarily use it for establishing shots and unique accents. I try not to overuse it. That being said, it gives our videos a unique look that our customers have raved about.

Q. Do many other videographers that you know use drones in their work today?

I wouldn’t say there are many, but there are a handful whose work I love. Philip Lima, as I previously mentioned, is one of the best drone pilots I’ve seen. Vinny Minton from Imperial Productions (Bay Area), White in Revery (Florida/Colorado), and Aqua Vivus (San Diego) are some of my favorite videographers using drones today. They push the limits on what is possible, without over-saturating their videos with aerial footage. It’s easy to go overboard, but they have great balance and creativity.

Q. Do you have any tips for others trying to use drones for photography or videography?

My 2 basic tips would be to practice a ton and don’t go overboard in the amount of drone footage you include in your projects. Because the drones (especially of the DJI variety) are essentially ready-to-fly when you buy them, it’s easy to get a false sense of confidence. It’s vital that videographers practice flying their drones in open spaces a ton before using them on projects. Learn how to fly without GPS and FPV aide. Learn how to safely follow subjects and how to pan smoothly. Practice is essential, not only for safety reasons, but to ensure that you are creating the best video content possible. When I edit, I try not to over use the drone footage. It’s easy to get carried away with sweeping landscape shots and captivating skyscapes, but I think that the cliche “less is more” is quite apt when editing. Use drone footage as a a creative accent in your videos, but focus your content of the video’s subject (a wedding couple, business, etc) rather than the cool aerial footage you captured. People value story over sweeping drone footage.

Q. How does the accessibility of drones to the average consumer affect professionals?

I think that talent and creativity will always rise to the top. That’s why practice is essential. Learn how to fly safely, while capturing content in the most creative way you can. Look at other people’s work online. Allow others to inspire you (excuse the pun). I think competition is great. I welcome it. It makes me better.

Thanks to some amazing voters, we were named as the Bay Area A-List’s Best Wedding Videographer. Over 30,000 people voted in the annual Bay Area competition and we were honored to win. Thank you to everyone who voted. We are excited to work with all of our amazing couples in 2015. It’s going to be a great wedding season!

Here are some of the nice things people had to say.

The DJI Inspire 1 Review

We have been using the DJI Inspire for a month now and it has completely changed the way we approach aerial videography and cinematography. I used the Phantom 2 for almost a year. It allowed me (us) to be creative in a way that we were previously unable to imagine. That being said, the P2 had its limitations. The HD-3D gimbal was steady, but our FPV setup left something to be desired. It was a pain (and a bit of a gamble) using the GoPro as well. Having to press record prior to taking off often resulted in a mixed bag of footage. In my experience, the Inspire is much smoother for panning shots and is much more steady in the air (you can even pull of timelapse clips and long-exposure photos). For me, the biggest advantage of the Inspire is the ability to adjust video exposure and recording settings while the device is in the air. The iOS app is fairly intuitive and helpful (I’ve only experienced a bit of lag). With the TB48 battery I am able to get around 20 minutes of flight time (the standard TB47 battery gets around 15 minutes). That means I can switch between photo and video, adjust frame rates and exposure settings, shoot in multiple locations without bringing the “bird” down. It’s a game changer. I have read on multiple forums about fly-away issues (I had a fly away with my P2) and software errors, but I haven’t had any major issues. I use the GPS and Attitude mode often, but have yet to use many of the auto functions (auto-takeoff, “return to home,” etc). I think the best way to avoid major issues is to read DJI forums regularly (ie learn from other’s mistakes), practice in open spaces, and be in control of the craft manually as often as possible. I feel like my creativity has been taken to the next level with the Inspire and I’m excited to incorporate it into our 2015 projects. Here are some recent samples.


Aerial Videography Highlights

In the Spring of 2014, we purchased a DJI Phantom 2 and have since incorporated it into most of the videos we produce. Needless to say it has added a unique element to our wedding and corporate videos and has become a staple feature for our clients. One of the producers we often work with asked us to put together some highlights from this year.