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May 3, 2018 | Insights

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Doing More with Drones in Cinematography

The following was featured in our e-newsletter, the M2 Aerials Report. To be included in future newsletters, subscribe at the bottom of this page.

Want that breathtaking overhead view of a skyline or landscape? Call in the drones. Overhead view of a car chase? Drones. Need to shoot some film at the top of a mountain? Drones for the win.

But what about other scenes where you need a little creative help to accomplish your vision?

What if you need an overhead spotlight on your set to replicate the lights from a search helicopter…but you don’t have a helicopter. Or what if you’re a famous fashion photographer who’s simply looking for a new way to capture the essence of a model with limited overhead. Or what if. . .your shot is indoors?

For every problem, there are 100 ways to solve it. But in these scenarios, a drone – coupled with an Emmy award-winning aerial cinematographer – were the solution.

Here are a few examples of how Aerial Cinematographer Eric Austin has done more with drones using creative aerial cinematography.

Use the Drone as Part of the Scene

When shooting for The Long Road Home – a documentary about U.S. soldiers who were trapped in Sadr City, Iraq in 2004 – the production company wanted to replicate helicopters flying overhead looking for the lost soldiers.

So we attached an MDS 410 Light to the drone and flew it over the set, illuminating the actors and the scene and replicating the light from a search helicopter.

Then in after-affects, the Visual Affects team tied the spotlight to a computer-generated helicopter to complete the shot.

As a result of this, the Executive Producer of The Long Road Home said he would have a drone camera on every set.

The Long Road Home – Behind the Scenes from M2 Aerials on Vimeo.

“It took about 3 days for me to hear anything after that project with all the fire and pyrotechnics going on on set,” Eric said with a chuckle. “But it was a really cool experience to be part of.”

Get Unique Angles with Limited Equipment

When talking to fashion photographer Billy Kidd about an upcoming fashion week, Billy wanted to bring out a drone to complement his own photography. “Show me what you can do with a girl in the street with a drone,” he said. And that’s just what we did.
No set. No props. No cast. Just one model, one drone, and the streets of New York.

What was cool about this project was there was a lot of creative license given. We were able to “do whatever” as Eric simply put it. We incorporated the high zoom and landscaping abilities of the drone with direct, face-on shots of the model, moving through the shots seamlessly without having to “cut” from one angle to the next.

Billy Kidd, Directors Cut from M2 Aerials on Vimeo.

“Everyone can take great pictures of a model, but we were able to give them something just a little different,” Eric explains.

Use the Drone Indoors, Too

We’ve gotten accustomed to attending New York Fashion week these days.  After filming Fashion Week for Coach in 2017, we were invited back to provide drone footage that set the stage for Coach’s 2018 Fashion Week video.

And that was just the beginning.

M2 Aerials worked with MATTE to create videos of the Tom Ford Men’s and Women’s shows during New York Fashion Week 2018.  On a busy show day, the Men’s show was a particular challenge – we had less than 30 seconds to land the perfect shot.

And, finally, we had the opportunity to provide indoor aerial footage for Rihanna’s NY Fashion Week event video, capturing the unique ‘pink dunes’ set and establishing an immersive scene for the heart-pumping motocross riders.

FENTY X PUMA SS 2018 from M2 Aerials on Vimeo.

What challenging shots are you facing in your project? What old angles could use a new perspective? Let’s chat about your vision and see where drones can be used to creatively put your vision in motion.

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