So, who is Cloud 12?
Cloud 12 was founded by Ben Keene who has a history of producing content for film and television. In his spare time, Ben enjoyed flying radio controlled helicopters, and was amongst the first to start flying multi-rotors (drones). He soon realised that his profession and his hobby had crossover!
It was time to get serious about drones in the film and television markets; so he set about looking for some expert help to join him in this new venture.
In 2012, Ben teamed up with Graham Tolhurst, who has many years in the science and engineering industries, as well as being an excellent radio controlled helicopter and drone pilot. Graham is a flight examiner for the BMFA (British Model Flying Association) and now also the Chief Flight Examiner for UAVairways.
Building their first octocopter proved to be a steep learning curve! The intricacies and the level of detail that they went to was astonishing. Eventually, 'Betty' was born - an octocopter worthy of flying large format cameras and giving unrivalled stabilised shots.
Later in 2012, Cloud 12 took their first job. It was high profile with a lot riding on its success. Ben, Graham and Betty were flown to Manila in the Philippines to supply aerial shots to Atlantic Records for a new music video for the band 'Rudimental' and their new single 'Not Giving In'. It was a huge success. The team and the equipment worked flawlessly and the final video is still a big hit and a winner at the UK Music Video Awards!
Following this success, and subsequent high profile work that solidified our position in the market, it was time to give Betty a bigger sister! Olivia was born in 2013 - an Aeronavics SkyJib 8 V2 (Hollywood Heavy Lift) with Mikrokopter avionics and a MoVI camera head.
By making the right partnerships, and engaging with motivated, and energetic people, Cloud 12 have gone from strength to strength. In 2014, they won a bid to provide aerial shots to a major feature film starring Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman and Ryan Reynolds called 'Criminal'. The script required some technical flying through the busy streets of central London - a place that no drone operator had been allowed to fly before!
Cloud 12 were able to secure the support from many different stakeholders, including the Civil Aviation Authority, the Diplomatic Protection Group, the Police, the Film Office, Tower Hamlets office and the local government. Such an impact was made, that the flights were monitored in person by many of the stakeholders, including the CAA who had the authority to ground Olivia at any time - no pressure!
Of course, the project was a resounding success, and Olivia flew flawlessly. Actually, the processes Cloud 12 put in place and how the safety of the area was handled is now cited as the standard model by which any future flights in congested UK areas must take place - Cloud 12 blazed the trail for future flight operations!
Ben, Graham and Olivia can still be found on some of the biggest sets in the movie world. Recently completing filming on the blockbuster - 'London Has Fallen' (the sequel to 'Olympus Has Fallen') starring Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart.