Drones have become the “go-to” device when trying to capture that right shot for the film industry in recent years. A sizable number of feature films are being shot using drones. When we look at the history of film, there have been moments where technology has genuinely transformed things (i.e. Technicolor, Dolby Digital, THX, High Definition, etc.). Drones are essentially the next evolution in a series of technological innovations that have enabled cameras to move seamlessly and with grace. Over the past five years or so, drones used for cinematography have pushed forward into the public consciousness, allowing filmmakers to do things that just simply were not possible before.
In the film industry, drones have revolutionized the game, wherein filmmakers all over the world use them to capture breathtaking footage and images without having to get a cameraman on an actual helicopter and shoot the video from there. Even with these airframes portable size, it can shoot high-resolution videos that are theater worthy.
Drone technology for film is groundbreaking, and the things that make drones so amazing is that they have unprecedented flexibility. They can move anywhere in 3D space if the operators are good enough to put them there. With a helicopter, you can get great establishing aerial shots, but it’s harder to get close to what’s going on to really giving you that sense of being in on the action. The way that the motion of the drone moves in the Jurassic World scene where it’s the point of view of the pterodactyl looking down on the people as they’re scattering, the drone is able to move in this kind of nimble way, mimicking the flight of an actual dinosaur. It almost makes you feel as though you’re one of the dinosaurs that are getting in on the action.
Drones are resulting in fewer operators, assistants & pilots having to be in helicopters, often in dangerous situations, just to “get the shot”. As a result of carbon fiber lightweight airframe materials, an aerodynamic body makes a drone ideal for smooth aerial shots. Most animals experience the jungle from the canopy. They don’t experience it the way humans do from the ground. Shooting high-quality aerial video isn’t as simple as hitting the record button, sending your drone up and flying around for a few minutes. The expertise acquired from hundreds of hours of practice, planning and time is required to put together a beautiful, professional standard film.
Did you know not too long ago, drones were largely associated with military strikes in foreign lands. Today though drones have become as ubiquitous in cinematography as gimbals, cranes & remote heads, for the right shot, drones can be extraordinary tools. The emergence of drones has raised the bar for cinematic quality and visual storytelling.
Let’s look at the important difference between 4K and 1080p. The 4K designation refers to almost 4000 horizontal pixels and 2160 pixels vertically. 4K is known in the industry as Ultra-High Definition (UHD), while 1080P is simply labeled High Definition (HD). There are several reasons why 4K has pulled ahead of 1080P in terms of picture quality. Resolving Detail, 4K technology reproduces the most intricate detail in noticeably higher contrast, thanks to quadrupling the number of pixels in comparison to 1080P.
Thanks to the large increase in resolution that 4K has compared with 1080P, 4K allows the viewer to be much closer to a large screen while enjoying a clearer picture. Often, a recording will need to be scaled down to a lower resolution. When comparing the final video quality of 4K video downscaled to 2K, the picture quality is noticeably more detailed than if originally creating the recording in 2K.
All of this adds up. 4K technology is no longer only in the hands of big production companies. But can be in the hands of everyday videographers and those who simply love to view video in the most highly detailed format possible. A drone is a tool… It’s an instrument… Your imagination can drive that tool…