Increased use of drones for movie footage

Whether it’s TV shows, news reports or blockbuster movies, the rise of the commercial drone in film production has been dramatic. Flyers worldwide now offer media companies exciting new options to deliver content, and the viewing public are reaping the benefits…

Special effects for movies have improved exponentially over the years, but the arrival of technology that can put the camera operator and director at the heart of the action has been a real game changer. Enter the drone!

UAVs can now fly in most weather conditions; they have extended battery life; they can transmit footage real-time and also record on robust digital storage devices. The hi-res cameras suitable for mounting have also improved significantly in just a few years.

Drone flying regulations

Regulations have needed to be reviewed and changed, but in the UK and USA, where many of the biggest productions take place, the aviation authorities have issued flying permissions providing that proper planning has taken place, due care taken and fully trained and properly insured operators used during filming.

With the legal angles covered, exciting filming techniques can be explored.

Think lead characters jumping through the air, leaping from buildings or swinging between the trees (I think we all know who we’re referring to), a drone makes that footage relatively easy. Previously, an awkward camera – quite literally mounted to the head or body of a stunt person – would have taken hours to coordinate. It was dangerous and risky.

Now drones can be that bird’s eye view! They can reach parts that people never will. Car chases, cliff falls and views from the top of skyscrapers become viable and affordable.

When you also consider sweeping panoramic shots of cities, vast oceans or rambling countryside, all previously captured using small aircraft or helicopters, the costs involved are a tiny fraction when remotely piloted drones are utilised.

Getting the best shots

Keeping the camera at ground level is fine for most footage, but to lift standards of cinematography above the norm innovative ideas must be employed. What drones offer is a unique perspective. Movies have used cranes and platforms across the years to get elevated shots for many scenes. Now the sky is the limit!

Sometimes, professionally controlled drones hovering a few feet above the ground can deliver the perfect angle. Then, to wrap up the shot, the operator lets the UAV soar upwards to capture a sensational sequence of frames. Quick, dramatic and cost-effective. It can make the difference between a good and truly great film.

Each month Coverdrone speaks to new and existing operators of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) who are looking to move into feature films. It makes sense for them; commercial operators who have gained considerable experience flying drones in varied situations have much to offer.

Coverdrone takes great pride supporting film industry professionals. Knowing that operators are fully covered and properly trained gives everyone peace of mind. We all enjoy seeing advances in technology, and for movie lovers those sequences brought to life using drones makes the cinematic experience all the more enjoyable.

For existing commercial drone operators there are endless possibilities. If providing high-quality film footage to small and big-screen companies is something you are considering, get in touch and we’ll make sure that you have the right policy in place to take on any assignment.

And remember, Coverdrone policies are flexible. If you need additional insurance for a specific commission we can help. We get the documentation sorted so you can get creative…