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Drone Aerial Videography Udemy Course Review

BY Alan Perlman
26 March 2015

udemy drone video training courseA couple of months ago, I stumbled upon Mark Richardson’s Udemy course, Drones: Become a Pro Aerial Photographer and Videographer.

It was the first Udemy course I had purchased.

If you’re looking to learn more about drones and aerial photography / videography, Mark has put together a strong curriculum that covers everything from choosing the right UAV and gear to post-processing Lightroom and Adobe settings for your photographs and video clips.

Below are my honest thoughts about Mark’s course.

I hope you find them helpful!

How an Udemy course works

Udemy provides a platform for experts of any kind to create courses which can be offered to the public, either at no charge or for a tuition fee. Udemy provides tools which enable users to create a course, promote it and earn money from student tuition charges.

All Udemy courses are entirely on-demand.

Once you enroll, you can go ahead and start learning completely on your own time. Also, even when you finish the course, it never expires. You can view it for as long (and as often) as you like.

As far as online learning communities go, Udemy is one of the big players. They’ve reportedly served over 5 million students!

About the course trainer, Mark Richardson

mark richardson udemy course

Mark Richardson and his DJI Phantom 2

Punch a shark (I’m scuba certified), climb a mountain, travel the four corners, fly a drone, I’ll do anything to get the shot.

Mark is a full-time professional photographer, videographer, and author of the Camera Stupid website. His job has taken him to several different countries where he has used quadcopters to capture stunning aerial imagery for use in corporate and commercial productions.

Mark has scratch built several quadcopters and hexacopters but now prefers the DJI Phantom platform for its ease of use and compact size for travel.

scott drone course review“Mark covers all the aerial photography topics in this course. Very interesting course over all, and great production quality. If you’ve ever wanted to get a quadcopter and use it to take cool videos and photos, you must take this course.” Scott Duffy

While this is his first Udemy course, Mark is a natural teacher.

UAV Drone Training Course

Who this course is for

Camera drones are incredibly fun to fly and will add a whole new dimension to your work. If you are a videographer, this course will help videographers and photographers gain the skills and knowledge you’ll need to confidently add epic aerial shots to your video projects. Learn the best GoPro settings and post-processing techniques to achieve the best video quality.

Still photographers can have just as much fun taking still photos from a multirotor drone. We’ll cover taking and processing still photos with a GoPro, as well as stitching aerial panoramas into breathtaking masterpieces.

Real estate agents, farmers, miners, law enforcement officers, sheer hobbyists… the possible uses for aerial imaging are many. Cutting edge technology is making aerial photography and videography more accessible than ever.

At the same time, it’s important to know the laws, rules, and best practices to ensure your success.

What’s in the course?

The course is broken up into 11 different sections.

In total, you’re getting 43 lectures (video + text), or about 1.5 hours of content.

drone course curriculum

Here’s a list of all 11 sections in Drones: Become a Pro Aerial Photographer and Videographer:

  • Safety and Common Sense
  • Flight Training
  • Choosing an Aerial Platform
  • First Person View (FPV)
  • Phantom Firmware and Settings
  • Recommended GoPro Settings
  • Preflight Checklist, Takeoff and Landing
  • Aerial Video & Photo Processing and Editing
  • Using Aerial Imaging to Tell a Story
  • Traveling with your Quadcopter
  • Final Thoughts, Resources and Inspiration

john drone course review“Short of actual hands on training, Mark does a great job of covering the soup to nuts in getting started. He clearly knows what he’s talking about when you watch him walk through the paces of how to pick a drone, not only for eventually shooting your drone photos or video but also for getting the hang of flying these gadgets. His bite sized lessons are perfect for watching on the go or when you have time to sit down through a series. As he is a professional photographer and videographer, I would expect nothing less than high production value in Mark’s lesson videos, and he does not disappoint.” John Chang

UAV Drone Training Course

Key Takeaways

As I went through each learning module, I took copious amounts of notes and often re-watched videos more than once. Below are a few of the notes that stood out to me as key takeaways:

  • Maintaining and Regaining Orientation (Lecture 7) – the only way to get good at inverse flying is to practice; becomes a lot more important as you graduate from an indoor training drone to something more robust; good to start practicing this early!
  • Buy or Build? (Lecture 9) – something we’ve been hearing about a lot here at UAV Coach; really comes down to goals; these days, buying ready-to-fly (RTF) is easy and cheap, but if you like DIY projects and want to learn more about how quadcopters are built, hunting down drone parts and building one yourself can be a fun process.
  • DJI Phantom Versions Comparison (Lecture 12) – why Mark recommends the cheapest of the three DJI Phantom 2 options.
  • First Person View (Section 4) – which FPV system Mark recommends; considerations around using goggles vs. a battery-powered LCD monitor on your transmitter; considerations around your FPV system connecting over WiFi vs. radio frequency.
  • Preflight Checklist PDF (Lecture 22) – super helpful to print this out!
  • Situations Fail-Safe will Fail (Lecture 28) – important to know how these automated programs work, and how to turn them on/off.
  • Aerial Video & Photo Processing and Editing (Section 8) – how to get rid of the GoPro fish eye curve, how to straighten photos, how to apply the right filters / colors, etc.

Final Thoughts (Pros & Cons)

At the end of the day, I was really happy with how this course turned out, so much so that I became an affiliate and am actively promoting this online drone training course on UAV Coach as one of our top resources for new drone pilots.

Cons

  • If you don’t have a DJI Phantom, you may think that it’s OK to skip a few lectures. That’s because some of the content is particularly focused around DJI’s line of quadcopters. I wouldn’t skip anything! Lots of helpful nuggets in these lectures, even if you don’t own a DJI product.
  • You may want to watch certain videos more than once. In Section 5 – Phantom Firmware and Settings, some of the videos are pretty technical, and I wanted to make sure I fully understood what Mark was doing, in what order, and why.
  • At the end of the day, this is just an informational course. To really gain value from it, you have to put serious effort into practicing what Mark teaches. It takes time to develop these skills. But if you can do that, you’ll be shooting Lec Park-type aerial videography in no time.

Pros

  • For only 1.5 hours of content, there’s sure a lot packed in. It’s the perfect introductory course for the new UAV owner, covering a broad range of topics without sacrificing too many details.
  • Short videos! Makes it easy to stop and start, to focus on one content module at a time, and to go back and re-learn certain topics more effectively.
  • When you buy the course, you get access to Mark Richardson for 30 days. You also get access to a course-specific message board and the ability to communicate with the 1100+ other students who have already gone through his training.

If you have any questions about Mark’s course, I’m happy to answer in the comments below.

Here’s a link to access the course!

Let us know how it goes.

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