Since 2014 the use of drones in video and filmmaking has dramatically reduced the cost associated with gathering action or aerial footage that up until then would require expensive equipment like booms, dollies, and even helicopters or other manned aircraft. So what is the role of drones in media and entertainment?
In the last decade, drones and other quadcopters have inspired cinematographers to create a whole new world perspective that could not have been possible with aerial filming until recently. Furthermore, such recent shots were possible at a fraction of the cost. In fact, in many cases, only one drone is needed. It is no wonder that unmanned aerial vehicles have been used in most big-budget films in recent years.
Unlike camera cranes, Steadicams and camera tracks, which have specific physical constraints, unmanned aerial vehicles offer flexibility (including a first-person view) that no other camera device can.
Drones have extended the horizon for filmmakers and cinematographers. It is no wonder today that drones and filmmaking go hand in hand. Shots filmed with drones enable filmmakers to see the location before they get a close-up so that the audience feels that they are part of the narrative. This brings them immediately into the story. SkyVision is known for producing aerial videography and photography content in this market.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being used to gather footage in sporting events because of their ability to maneuver into locations that cable-suspended cameras cannot reach. Most recently, drones were used to gather footage of the skiing and snowboarding events in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Drones are also used to shoot commercials and can be useful in capturing footage for news broadcasts. It has also become very popular to use drones in shooting private events and photography companies are offering to capture footage of special occasions.
UAVs have been especially appreciated by filmmakers making sci-fi and action movies because they require aerial shots. Aerial perspective – the bird’s eye view – is always impressive to the audience when it comes to a visual experience and helicopters are limited in the kind of angles they can provide. In addition, because helicopters have often been used in directing aerial scenes in their movies, hiring a helicopter and shooting it for movies could be difficult, complex and very expensive.
Unmanned aerial vehicles have virtually rendered helicopters obsolete because they are so cost-effective. Filmmakers no longer need to spend a fortune in producing stunning videos or films since we have drones which have the ability to create unique perspectives and expand the viewers’ line of sight.
Because of the miniaturization of technology, this enables drones to place high-definition cameras on drones that can improve the quality of photos and films. Drones are also able to get shots of the subjects very close since they are relatively quiet. Their versatility makes it possible for them to take photos or videos at unique angles since they are able to operate at greater height than a crane but lower than a helicopter. Because of their agility, they can capture shots that would otherwise be impossible in any other way.
What can be done with drones is limited only by one’s imagination. The technology is relatively new, but even in the initial stage, drones have provided better shots than ground cameras.
The agility and flexibility of drones enables them to break through the clouds and zoom in to landscapes, gliding over a lake, chasing fast motorcycles and cars, narrowing down focus to one subject like a straight-down view of the earth below like never before. All the equipment needed was nothing more than a flying device and a camera perched on top.
In the last decade, drones have inspired cinematographers to create awe-inspiring scenes and amazing action scenes at a fraction of the cost. This is why such big-budget films could not have been possible without aerial filming in recent years.
The possibilities of the technology in cinematography are continually emerging. Therefore the creativity in filmmaking in the future is only limited by our lack of imagination.