Aerial Drone vs Jib. What’s the Difference?

Jib being used on a video shoot. (Photo Courtesy Lex at Waterfront Station)
Jib being used on a video shoot. (Photo Courtesy Lex at Waterfront Station)

Unless you’re a director, producer or extra enthusiastic hobbyist, you may have heard about drones, but you may not know the differences between aerial drone footage and jib footage. However, if you’re looking to have the best footage for your business or event video – you need to understand the types of shots you want.

Here’s a brief overview of the difference between aerial drone and jib footage:

What Is a Jib?

Jib footage is shot from the ground. Well, almost. A jib is a boom device (or arm, sometimes even a crane) that has a camera attached to one end and a counterweight attached to the other, along with camera controls. The jib arm operates almost like a see-saw. This allows the camera end of the arm to move throughout an extended arc, allowing a wide range of shots that give the viewer a sense that they are flying through the area. These shots give a cinematographer the ability to move the camera vertically, horizontally and a combination of the two.

Until recently, using a jib was more common than aerial drone shots, due to the ease of use and the fact that jibs have been around a lot longer than aerial drones, so many videographers already have them and are comfortable using then. A jib is a nice way to get beautiful high shots without needing a drone. However, you will not get a true aerial view with a jib (unless you’re already on top of a building).

Here is an example of a video with jib footage:

What Is Aerial Drone Footage?

Using an aerial drone, or an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), is a great way create incredible commercial aerial videos. The drone, including camera, goes up into the sky  and an aerial videographer is below viewing the shot on a monitor to get the shots from the sky that he or she wants.

Drones can capture breathtaking views (if the wind is cooperating) and can fly through/under objects at lower altitude than a helicopter, but higher than a jib or tripod.

Here is an example of a video with aerial drone footage:VideoPlayerWS

What to Know About Drone:

Before sending a drone up, be sure you know the facts. These days, the FAA is cracking down on drone use, so some areas no longer allow drones at all and even those that do, have highly stringent restrictions which can mean higher costs and liability for everyone involved.  This article is a great resource to keep you up to date on the current drone rules, including the number of miles away (usually 5) from an airport you need to be, which cities (like Washington D.C.) are no fly zones, getting a Section 333 Exemption to legally operate a commercial drone, safety guidelines, etc.

The Difference

There can be a big difference in shots between aerial drone and jib footage. However, both of these methods can produce stunning  fly-through style shots for your video project. Aerial drone footage is going to fly above your shot and can look down on a building or area. A jib shot will often look up at a building or area, but may still look down on people and shorter objects.

 What Type Of Footage Is Better For Your Video?

The best type of footage for your video ultimately comes down to what you want, what is allowed in your area, and your budget. If you like the aerial views, you’ll likely want a cinematographer who can use an aerial drone for your video. If aerial drones are restricted in your area, or if you your building or area doesn’t look so great from the sky, you can still use a jib and get some beautiful shots for your video.

If you are interested in using jib or aerial footage in your next video, or if you would like more information, please contact your CTM Representative.