Drones and RC’s themselves have been around for while. They are used in the military, security agencies, and by hobbyist’s. However over the last five years drones have been introduced to the film industry and drastically changed the way production companies capture aerials. Not only is it much more inexpensive, you are able to obtain shots that weren’t possible before without “disturbing the peace.” For instance let’s say you want a long follow shot of a couple riding horse along the beach. The shot will start at palm tree A and end at palm tree B. Palm tree B is 100 meters away. You also want the shot to hover around existing palm trees in between palm tree A and B while maintaining a shot height of roughly 4 meters. Now how will we capture this shot? Maybe a camera crane? But how will a camera crane extend a massive 100 meters and weave in and out of trees…well that options out. Hmm perhaps a dolly? But hauling in the amount of dolly track and gathering the specific angled tracks would take ages. You might as well build the Union Pacific railroad across the US. Then there is pushing the dolly to keep up with the running horses. Well this is just too complicated. Wait a minute…I think there is a solution. A drone!
So we have determined that it is easier to perform difficult camera movements with a drone in certain scenarios. Let’s take a look at cost now. The average cost for a small helicopter for example the Robinson R44 is about $800/hr. Most productions go for the larger helicopter(Astar) which runs about $2,000/hr. That’s from the moment the helicopter starts up to moment it shuts down. The gimbal that mounts to the front of the helicopter costs about $5,000 per day. That’s for the industry standard Cineflex. For a full day of filming we are looking at about $22,000 dollars! And that doesn’t even include the camera rental!
The cost of a drone is significantly less. For example one of the leading manufacturers of consumer drones, DJI offers a drone called the Phantom 4 Professional. It records up to 4K ultra HD resolution at 60fps and costs only $1,400. That’s cinema quality for an amazingly affordable price. DJI offers a top of the line drone the inspire 2 with the cinema package that costs about $20,000 with insurance(covers 2 drone replacements). The inspire 2 has interchangeable lenses and the ability to shoot in RAW. So one day of filming in a helicopter costs around $22,000. Or you could just buy the top of the line cinema drone for $20,000 that will last you years down the road.
Drones can be used for a wide variety of productions, not just your feature film or commercial production. Drones have been having a huge impact on the real estate market. Real estate agents can hire a drone pilot with a Phantom 4 Professional to film/take photos of a property for as little as $200. Aerial images of properties allow potential buyers to see the vast acreage of land and the areas that surround the property. This is a huge sale tool for real estate.
Drones have also had a big impact of social media, making already popular instagramers even more “instafamous”. Many instagrammers are popular from the their travel and landscape photos. Adding a small drone like the DJI Mavic Pro($900) to your arsenal can elevate your media content to the next level. Take a look at the picture below:
This perspective would not have been possible before to the average consumer without renting a helicopter for an hour. A hefty price for an Instagram photo. When folded the Mavic drone can fit in your back pocket, literally. It’s so easy to travel with.
The list can go on and on about how drones are changing the film industry. This is just a short overview. Now go out and get creative!
Frodiga is a full-service video production company based between Denver, San Antonio, and Gothenburg, Sweden. In combination with the latest high-end technology—we specialized in commercial video productions for start-ups, corporate, brands and more.