Drones and drones in cinematography and film production | 2021
Unmanned aerial vehicles have certainly made many of our daily tasks easier. Nowadays we have Amazon Prime Air, an air delivery service powered by drones, and CyberHawk, a live inspection service operated by drones. Both are evidence of how drones have evolved. Although drones are used in many industries, their contribution has not yet reached its optimum potential. However, this may not have been the case in cinematography and film production, an industry in which drones have become a steady production pillar in recent years.
In the age of blockbuster movies worth billions of dollars and computer-generated images, getting great shots while making movies has become a must. Drones help film directors do just that. It’s fair to say that they changed the way directors shoot movies. With the help of drones, nowadays filmmakers can shoot impossible shots. Modern drones are easy to operate. It’s simple enough for cinematographers who are familiar with remote controls and joysticks to capture excellent shots. Drones have made technologies like aerial shots and the crane easy to implement if you are a good drone pilot. Especially since the cameras attached to the drones are equipped with 3-axis stabilization, which almost guarantees a perfect shot, even if you are not very good as a pilot.
The cinematic possibilities are vast and the sky is limitless. Recently in a clip in Good Morning America, a company called DJI that makes drones for the movie industry showed drone-captured footage of an erupting volcano in Iceland. Prior to the introduction of drones, it was nearly impossible to capture such footage. It was too risky for humans and too far away for satellites, which don’t have the lens or angle to take such unique shots. The footage looked like a piece from a natural science documentary. They were of the same quality as the ground shots filmed by the camera men.
DJI, which is owned by Chinese drone Frank Wang, announced on April 17 the launch of the most powerful drone ever, the Matris 600. A short video has been released online showing how powerful this new drone is. The video featured a filmmaker filming a martial arts scene using a drone in Beijing. The new Matrice 600 is compatible with a wide range of attachable cameras. It allows professional photographers to use small DSLRs such as Canon, Panasonic, Black Magic, Sony, Nikon and large RED cameras as if they were handheld. The footage shown was amazing, to say the least.
The Matrice 600 is just the beginning of a new series of powerful camera-bearing drones that are changing the nature of filmmaking as we know it. Previously, big movie franchises like James Bond’s Skyfall and the Harry Potter series have used drones to film some famous scenes. With the success of these photographic techniques, one can only expect at some point that drones and unmanned aerial vehicles will take over the entirety of cinematography, rendering the average photographer obsolete and reducing their role to the remote control stand. Fortunately for the film industry, directors are reformers by nature and learning new tricks is always in the public’s best interest.