Sound Effects to Make Drone Shots Feel "Alive"

In editing, you have a lot of tools and tricks at your fingertips to improve the shots that you’ve captured. Whether you’re looking for a certain ambiance or just want a little more action in the feeling of the shot, sound effects are a great choice that are often overlooked by many that are new to drone filming. “Good” drone footage is that which fits the content, creates a professional look, tells a narrative, and emphasizes the feeling and emotion in the video. For that final element, sound effects can make a big impact. 

Atmosphere/Ambiance

Because drones are airborne, they make a lot of noise when they are in use. As such, the sound footage that you get when recording is rarely usable to any real extent. There may be pieces of the footage that can be salvaged, but you won’t get much. That’s why it’s critical to add sounds to fill the space and fit the atmosphere, environment, and ambiance of your scenes. 

For example, you can use the sounds of nature, trees, animals, and other related sound effects when you are editing footage from a forest or trail walk. On the other hand, if you have a film shot in the city, you can add in car horns, traffic noise, and other types of sounds that you would hear in the city. Think about the mood you want to convey and use that to create your soundtrack and effects. 

Practical Sounds and Events

Of course, there are always going to be practical events going on in some drone footage. For example, if you’re filming near train tracks, you may hear a train in the background. Also, there are things that happen that make plenty of sound that you may have to compensate for, such as explosions and breakdowns. These essential sounds are required for viewers to understand the message. 

Emphasizing Movements

Although movements don’t typically make noise on their own, adding sounds to movement can increase the intensity of the shot or add action to something that was otherwise relatively uninteresting. For example, when flying past a wall, you can add a “woosh” noise to make it seem like there was a near-miss. It’s all about adding intensity and conveying the cinematography, and there are a lot of great ways that you can employ sound effects to do just that. You can even use this with bigger movements, such as slowing down or accelerating your drone for an even bigger effect. 

Using Music

Music is easy, and you probably already have some that you use or intend to use for your video. However, you have to make sure that the music that you choose is cohesive and fits with the footage. Make sure that you utilize music with multiple drone shots to assist with cuts and transitions. This will make cuts more natural and less awkward. 

The Final Word

Adding sound effects to your drone footage can help make videos feel more alive, increase their intensity, and even help to integrate and incorporate the footage to the overall video for a cohesive end product. After all, videos need more than good imagery to be a success, and when you use sound effects accordingly, they can change the entire piece for the better. Do keep in mind to keep the volume of the sound effect to a minimum, you want to keep it subtle. Start with these tips and do some experimenting to see how you can put sound effects to work to improve the end product of your drone footage.