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Drone Moves Glossary (With Examples)

It’s no secret that we love our drone here at PEG. She even has a name. We’ve nicknamed her Pegasus, or Peggy for short. And as we've said many times before, drone shots bring a dynamic feeling to your piece, allowing your audience to experience a point of view they seldom see. If you find yourself utilizing our drone expertise, you may find it helpful to speak the lingo! Fortunately for you, our team has put together a list of terms that we ourselves use internally to communicate the type of shot we’d like to execute. Using these terms may help you better communicate the type of shot you’re looking for with our team. *Disclaimer: These are the terms our team uses internally. You might know these moves by a slightly different name or hear others call them something else, which is totally fine. This is meant to be a general guide to help you start visualizing drone shots and how they can be used to create a wide variety of looks!

Pan / Panorama / Tilt

Drone Motion: Hovering in-position.

Camera Motion: Panning or tilting as-needed, as if operating a hovering tripod. This is the most simple of all the movements. Here, the drone stays stationary (essentially a big tripod in the sky) and the camera moves in a simple pan or tilt function.

Approach

Drone Motion: Towards target in a straight line, typically maintaining altitude.

Camera Motion: Focused on target. Another simple, but powerful move is an approach. In this movement, the drone flies straight at the subject while the camera is focused on the subject. 

Reveal

Drone Motion: Towards target in a straight line, typically maintaining altitude.

Camera Motion: Starting on landscape or non-target, slowly re-frame to reveal the target.

Pull-Away / Retreat

Drone Motion: Away from target in a straight line, typically maintaining altitude.

Camera Motion: Focused on target.

Zipline

Drone Motion: Toward target in a straight line, ascending or descending as if the drone and camera are “on a zipline.”

Camera Motion: Focused on target.

Gentle Rise / Look Down

Drone Motion: Raising or lowering altitude in a straight line, typically no side-to-side motion.

Camera Motion: Locked 90-degrees downward.

Pedestal Up / Pedestal Down / Accent / Descent

Drone Motion: Raising or lowering altitude in a straight line, typically no side-to-side motion.

Camera Motion: Slowly tilting to keep common target centered in frame.

Fly-By

Drone Motion: Flying in a straight line perpendicular to the target, as if the target had a “T” on top of it (from top-down perspective). The drone flies the upper horizontal crossbar of the T, maintaining altitude.

Camera Motion: Positioned 90-degrees left or right of drone flight direction, locked in place.

Strafe

Drone Motion: Flying in a straight line perpendicular to the target, as if the target had a “T” on top of it (from top-down perspective). The drone flies the upper horizontal crossbar of the T, maintaining altitude.

Camera Motion: Tracking target throughout move.

Weave

Drone Motion: Flying generally straight, but altering the flight path to “weave” through a landscape. Altitude varies.

Camera Motion: Generally focused forward, tweaking framing as-desired.

Follow / Chase

Drone Motion: Flying at a fixed distance in relation to the target, in an established offset, i.e. “Staying 150ft to the rear left of the advancing helicopter.” Generally maintaining altitude.

Camera Motion: Focused on target.

Orbit

Drone Motion: Rotating around the target at a constant distance, maintaining altitude.

Camera Motion: Focused on target.

Fly-Through / Shoot-The-Gap

Drone Motion: Towards target in a straight line, typically maintaining altitude. The drone flies through a separation in the trees/landscape or a natural hole to fly through. Altitude varies as-needed.

Camera Motion: Focused on target. Keeping these terms in your back pocket may help you understand our flight jargon, and could ultimately help you better convey the types of shots you want to our crew (and maybe impress your friends). But, you can rest assured that we will always get you the best drone shots on every flight no matter what terms you use.   

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