Once drone technology entered the scene, it came with endless predictions and hype regarding it’s potential for virtually every conceivable purpose one could imagine. As you probably know, much of this drone hype has not panned out as “game changing” as advertised.
There is one area where drones have had an enormous impact however – Aerial Cinematography. This was foretold several decades ago when a little company from Belgium called Flying Cam started flying film cameras on custom built radio controlled helicopters. Getting low altitude shots from a manned helicopter is both expensive and often risky. Drones provided a welcome alternative. Slowly Flying Cam’s dynamic, close-range aerial shots began making their way into the biggest Hollywood films and due to their pioneering efforts, they enjoyed a bit of a monopoly for quite some time.
Today this has all changed. Later this summer there will be over 100,000 FAA certified commercial drone pilots in the U.S. Drones really are making a difference in many business sectors, but none more prevalent than in aerial cinematography and video production. There are several reasons why drones are showing up more and more on movie and even video production sets, even those with modest budgets.
Drones Are A Time Saver
If you have ever been on a movie or large video production set you know that much of the time spent is in set up. Camera kits need built, set’s need dressing, costume/make-up/props all need time to get sorted out. The beauty of drones in this setting is they can be unpacked and in the air in just minutes which is huge.
Drones Can Replace Other Tools
Drones are being used to replace everything from jibs, cranes, man-lifts, dollies and sliders. Avoiding the rental costs and set up time for a large Technocrane is a huge savings for a production. There is one caveat here however, an excellent drone/camera operator team is needed to safely replicate the super smooth shots they need to replace with these other production tools. This is particularly true when flying inside a large building where the drone can’t obtain a good GPS lock. This is where the experience of seasoned drone crew is well worth the extra day rate. Quite often as a time saver, we even use our drones with follow-focus for a quick and dirty hand-held shot in place of pulling out our MOVI stabilizer which adds value on set.
Recently Perfect Perspectives was hire to fly a small drone equipped with a custom built grappling hook underneath for a local casino TV commercial. Later day and night exterior drone shots where also captured. This is one of many examples of how the versatility of drones adds value to video productions.
If you pay attention you will notice that drone shots are making there way into all forms of multimedia these days and we predict this trend will only continue to grow as more and more creative uses are found in cinematography, video production and advertising.