Reckless drone flying

Early in July a certain individual decided that he would capture footage of planes landing at Tel Aviv Airport. Not only was this a danger to the plane but also the below below it. Had there been a collision between the UAV and the plane in question then the resulting consequences could have been disastrous.

DJI, who are the world’s leading company in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology publicly came out to adress this case in particular "... DJI condemns in the strongest possible terms a video posted by a drone user that records landing of aircraft at Tel Aviv’s Sde Dov airport. The user, Niv Stubenski, claims to have filmed the landings with a DJI Mavic Pro quadrocopter."

Sadly for DJI and the rest of the UAV community this case in particular, while extreme in nature, is not an isolated event. DJI have pledged to assist national aviation authorities as they investigate a recent wave of photos and videos showing clear and intentional lawbreaking in ways that pose real danger to manned air traffic.

Recently there have been media reports of "Russian hackers" being able to implement flight control parameter modifications that enable DJI drones to circumvent built-in safety features, including geofencing restrictions.

Sadly, this will only help to further stricter regulations from governing bodies. These governing bodies are now considering not only going after rogue uav pilots but also those that hire them.


The Circle. The First Film Shot Entirely By Drone

The Circle, first film shot entirely on DJI’s Inspire 2 Drone.
filmed by Oscar-winning cinematographer Claudio Miranda. 

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Claudio Miranda who hails from Chile was the director of photography on David Fincher’s film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Academy Award-winning Director of Photography on Ang Lee’s film Life of Pi. 

Claudio is the first cinematographer involved with DJI in a series of short films shot entirely with the Inspire 2. 

This series, which is run and developed by DJI, hopes to showcase more and more the companies technical potential in filmmaking, especially in regards to UAVs. The inspire 2 was used as the prime product to produce this film.

In The Circle a father (Ryan Phillippe) reunites with his estranged son (Noah Schnapp) in Depression-era America.

Every single one of the shots has been captured through one of their drones (mainly the inspire 1 and X5R), even if the drone wasn’t flying all the time. For some shots, it was both handheld and locked down.

Aside from the artistic value this film merits, another great reason to watch this movie is because you can see how a UAV's camera is now able to produce an image with a cinematic quality to really rival that of a regular film camera, whether in the air or on the ground.

Check out the behind the scenes of this epic film here:


The rise of drones in film production

Unmanned aerial vehicles are now part and parcel of film production

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Back in May at the 68th Cannes Film Festival, Jacques Audiard’s awesome refugee drama Dheepan became the first winner to include a scene captured from an unmanned drone. In a film industry where drones are replacing helicopters on sets around the world, winning the most prestigious prize in cinema is enough of a milestone to signal the emergence of a new filmmaking trend. Drone cinematography is taking off in a big way.

There is only a single drone aerial in Dheepan, but it is used to fantastic effect, the sequence begins with the camera situated at a normal height, the camera is horizontally tracking the main character (a Sri Lankan civil war refugee) while he walks to his day job. The frame suddenly unhinges from its grounded axis and takes off at a 45-degree angle, pushing past foliage and flying over the apartment block that lead character looks after. From above the audience are able to take in the dilapidation, and the vantage point puts a dramatic end to a relatively sleepy first act of the film. 

Things may change as filmmakers continue to scope out the use of drones in narrative cinema, for now they are still very much a novelty. As they reach mass adoption in film and television it may well become a scenario in which every day camera operators begin adding aerial filming capabilities to their arsenal. While there will always be a call for specialist skill sets, aerial filming could very well become an every day norm for production houses.

We are nearing a better idea of what drones are good for in a documentary by Brian D. Johnson called Al Purdy Was Here, his debut in the documentary narrative, it uses beautifully shot drone cinematography to capture the land surrounding Al Purdy’s infamous A-frame cottage in Ontario’s Prince Edward County—a helicopter crew could not get this close for safety and legal reasons. These shots help Johnson’s film break free from a documentary mode rife with talking heads and ground-based filming.

At this point, drones as narrative film-making tools are still in their infancy. A drone can replicate the functions of a helicopter or a crane or a jib at a fraction of the price, but if drone shots don’t move beyond niche then they risk the chance of become pigeon holed as a directors flight of fancy. 


Transformers 5: The Last Knight Trailer

We are very proud to say that we supplied the aerial filming and consultancy work on Micheal Bay's latest take on the Transformers franchise, we spent several weeks working on his epic production of Transformers 5: The Last Knight.

While on set supplying our aerial services we also acted as consultants to the production team, helping them liase with local authorities and the CAA to make sure that all of the production's drone work was in keeping with the rules and regulations.