If the word drone conjures up visuals from Star Wars or futuristic scenes from an action movie, then this is going to blow your mind: The future is here… at least in the video world.
We jumped on the drone bandwagon in 2016 while shooting a video for a client at a clay mine in Paris, Tennessee. As you can imagine, the land was expansive with rough terrain that varied from rocky cliffs to a pristine crystal blue lake. Using a drone was the only way to capture it all efficiently while allowing us to get a variety of really engaging dynamic shots that added a high level of production value to the overall piece.
So, here’s how it worked. A drone operator and drone camera operator met us at the clay mine (you didn’t actually think they’d let us fly it ourselves? Yeah right, those pilots are licensed by the FAA). The drone team worked with our director to make sure they got the shots we were counting on. The operator flies the drone via a high tech remote control and works in tandem with the camera operator who is able to zoom, pause recording, etcetera from an iPad. Our director was able to dictate exactly what he wanted right to the team. The drone’s 4K camera allowed us to get breathtaking landscape shots, smooth (almost floating) pushes, turns and tilts. Video that was so beautiful, it made editing difficult because there were so many amazing shots to choose from.
So how was the video different? The drone allowed us to show the mine from a perspective that would never have been possible using only conventional or lower budget video techniques. Imagine if a camera crew is getting shots of an excavator shoveling clay and rock out of the ground. The drone could be hovering just above to show the load being lifted from the ground and spilled into a dump truck, resulting in a beautiful, flawless sequence. Pretty neat, right? Of course aerial photography has long been available using a helicopter or plane, but they are loud (disturbing natural settings) and can only get so close.
“Using the drone opened up a whole new world of creative options. I could literally capture angles I once thought impossible. One of my favorite shots was of a locomotive as it was passing over a bridge in the Tennessee mountains,” said Executive Producer, Craig Ciali. “We were able to fly 75-feet above the train as it crossed the bridge, giving us a shot that looked like it could have come straight out of Hollywood.”
Using a drone allows you to show the full action in real-time as opposed to a sequence of shots edited to mimic the action, it’s basically like adding a third dimension. This alone makes it a great way for a business to showcase their products; particularly in industries like agriculture, construction, real estate, sports and any other situation that can be enhanced by taking advantage of this new and increasingly popular way to capture video.
Sounds cool, right? Check it out for yourself: