Drones have found their place in several commercial sectors, but none so much as the TV and film industry. Why? It’s simple: drone technology allows productions to become more innovative, creative, interesting, and deliver additional ‘wow’ factor for their audiences.
Films still need permissions for every drone flight taken during their production, but regulators such as the FAA and CAA are becoming increasingly accepting of the commercial use of drones so there permits are more readily accessible than previously. Remember, if your production wants to use a drone for some stunning aerial footage, you need to have a qualified drone pilot on the team!
Let’s look at four of the ways drones are pioneering innovation in film…
The flexibility of drones makes them ideal for creating never-before-possible shots. Imagine swooping from an inside shot, through to outside, and maybe even inside again into another building. A skilled drone pilot would easily be able to do this: drones usually rely on GPS which doesn’t always work indoors, but a drone pilot is able to handle a drone manually without GPS, enabling smooth indoor-to-outdoor views.
Drones can also reach places never previously accessible: they can swoop into small spaces, from close to the ground all the way up a skyscraper – without the need for helicopters. The 360 degree panoramic view available on some models delivers original stunning landscapes without the need for a (very expensive) helicopter pilot… and chopper.
Drones As Narrative Devices in Film
Pierce Brosnan’s November Man film wasn’t initially supposed to have quite so many aerial shots: after the footage was taken for the ‘spy drone’ element of the film, the director liked it so much he asked the team to stay on and create more dramatic aerial footage.
The latest film to use drones as a narrative device as well as a film tool is Eye In The Sky, a real-time military thriller that uses drone footage throughout while posing questions about the use of drones in the military.
Both of these examples demonstrate that drones are changing the way people think about surveillance as well as the technical development of unmanned aerial vehicles for the creative industries.
Drones And CGI
Innovation in technology is nothing new in the film industry – and there are some great ways to have fun with it, too.
A great example of using drone aerial footage combined with CGI is the fun Superman With A GoPro video – more proof that drone technology makes everything more affordable and accessible for smaller production companies who can now compete with the huge international studios.
Affordable Aerial Filming (No More Helicopters!)
Helicopters, the traditional route for any aerial photography, are damn expensive – not to mention environmentally heinous. Drones solve so many problems previously faced by production companies: where once helicopters were the only answer, now UAVs deliver the shots – and more.
Cheaper, safer, more accessible: drones can fit into smaller spaces, with a tiny shadow footprint, and can sneak into urban environments where helicopters aren’t able to go. What previously could take days now takes mere hours, with a much smaller crew who remain safely on the ground.
Want to know more about how drones are changing the landscape of the film industry? Take a look at our information pages for the industry here.