Film and Television
The utilization of drones for cinematography, film and television is a natural evolution from the use of manned aircraft particularly in a closed set environment. To be sure, there will always be a need for helicopters and fixed wing aircraft in the film industry.
Modern drones have no real limitations obtaining high and ultra high quality imagery. Drone manufacturers and camera manufacturers have collaborated to allow the utilization of their respective products in a mutually beneficial way. In the past there were not many drone platforms that could be described as “heavy lift” drones capable of carrying the heavier modern cinema cameras. Most heavy lift drones were custom builds. Now mainstream drone manufacturers have entered the market. Camera manufacturers such Arri and Red have designed popular smaller and lighter cameras without sacrificing the quality they are known for and these cameras can easily be carried on drone platforms that have already been tried and tested.
A large portion of productions targeting television and the internet do not necessarily need to put expensive cameras in the air. There are cinema grade drones with manufacturer integrated 4K and higher Super 35 cameras that have interchangeable lenses. These drones are dual operated with a pilot and camera operator. The camera operator can pull focus and exposure with separate controls. The Sony A7 series is popular in low light conditions and can be carried by different drones. For television, news and live entertainment feeds, the drone’s operating system can simply be plugged into the transmission vans or set camera feed. Internet live streams are accomplished in a similar manner except that encoding equipment is independent and brought to the location or set.
Most aerial drone shots are static, reveals or follows but drones can simulate camera jibs and much more. Drones are a budget friendly method to obtain footage that adds different visual edits to keep the audience engaged.