In a recent documentary series on BBC (Seven Worlds, One Planet) the programme dedicates a short segment at the end of the programme to show how the footage is captured. In this segment it regularly features the crew firing up a drone to scout the location of wild animals and capture stunning aerial footage. By using the drone, the crew are able to cover a greater field a vision than they could on foot or in a truck, finally capturing animals they had been searching for.
Hollywood and the film industry have also adopted drones in their production process. In the popular remake of Jurassic Park, drones were used frequently to mimic the flight of birds and create dynamic aerial footage. In the past, aerial footage in films and on the television would require a large crew, big cameras and a helicopter. Now it can be done by a one or two-person crew, stood firmly on the ground and at a fraction of the cost. With the advancements in drone cameras, there is no compromise to the quality that they produce and is a fundamental reason as to why they are so popular.
3 of the main benefits of using drones to capture aerial footage are: cost, angles and fluid transitions.
With big blockbuster films and TV series, a production budget is generally not the be all and end all. But for smaller films, independent films and television programmes that want to use amazing aerial footage, drones have transformed the way they capture content. Before the mainstream use of drones, hiring a helicopter and crew, rigging expensive equipment and filming were all a time consuming and expensive practice. Although high quality drones are not exactly cheap enough for anyone to buy and make a programme for the BBC, it is considerably cheaper to use a company for all aerial filming.
The small profile that drones make up enable them to create angles that were previously impossible to achieve by helicopter production crews. With permission of course, drones can reach those hard to access areas in cities that helicopters would simply not be able to fit in. Take the chase scene in James Bond Skyfall, drones were used to track the bikes from a bird’s eye view and a side angle. As a result, it creates a very engaging, memorable and exciting scene in the movie.
Referring to the Jurassic World example previously, the flight pattern of a drone is extremely versatile, and this allows for fluid transitions high up in the sky. With a high-quality camera attached to a gimble, the effect of the drone can appear just like the flight of a bird, dropping and gaining altitude seamlessly. Drones also have the capability of hovering motionless, allowing it to capture moving objects surrounding it, or they can be set to orbit a certain object. The possibilities are endless with the use of drone technology in filming content that is engaging for viewers and capable of creating that wow factor.
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