Fifth Color Films, New York City based production company, has chosen PhotoFlight Aerial Media as their drone service provider/operator for the Winter Driving Clinic video, produced for Car and Driver magazine and Genesis. After the initial discussions it was decided that since close proximity tracking of fast moving objects was required, a two operator team was necessary to deliver desired shots safely. In two operator setup, a skilled pilot operates the drone, while the camera operator focuses solely on working with the camera- exposure, focus, framing, and camera movement. Communication, coordination, and cooperation between the drone pilot and camera operator are crucial to properly executing the shots and producing desired results. We chose DJI Inspire Pro drone platform for its speed and a great 4/3 SLR camera.
Source: Fifth Color Films
The filming took place at the legendary Lime Rock Park Track in Connecticut, and the setting could not have been better. In its usual unpredictable manner, New England weather has blessed us with a steady snowfall throughout the day of the shoot, creating ideal setting for winter driving clinic, but a bit of challenge for the production and the drone crew. Withstanding the cold, windy, and snowy conditions, PhotoFlight’s two operator drone team was more then up to the task, delivering dramatic dynamic tracking shots impossible or prohibitively expensive to get using any other tool or camera technique.
So, can you fly drones in the snow? Flying in winter conditions requires a bit of an extra preparation to protect the drone operators from the elements, and keep the drone batteries at desired operating temperature. With all the sensitive electronics relatively shielded from the elements, the DJI Inspire Pro can withstand flying in the snow with no problems, however we only operate the drones in conditions cold enough to produce light, “frozen solid” snow flakes – once the snow gets wet, heavy, and “sticky”, it will begin to stick to the lens and compromise the image quality. Prolonged exposure to wet snow may even compromise the drone electronics. A professional drone operator will have enough experience to assess the situation properly by examining actual and forecasted weather conditions – temperature, wind speed, type of snow, and determine what steps to take to mitigate the challenges presented by the winter conditions in order to accomplish the objectives of the shoot without compromising the safety or quality. For this particular project, we were lucky to have the day begin with light, frozen snow, constantly adding a fresh cover to our test track and a great “wintery” look to our footage. The temperature has slightly risen in the afternoon, which turned the snow to sleet, and the pilot made an a decision to halt the operations.
The access and perspective offered by drone technology, combined with our skilled professional drone pilot & camera operator team has added high production value to this short video, leaving the clients extremely satisfied with the results.
Our Production clients enjoy many advantages of hiring professional drone operators: legal compliance, operational safety, equipment redundancy and expertise, skilled pilots and camera operators who fly drones often and in many different settings and conditions, understand production workflow and roles, and are capable of delivering high production value dynamic tracking shots.
Check out a short reel of dynamic tracking drone clips used in this video:
PhotoFlight Aerial Media is a professional drone service provider, offering high quality aerial drone photography and video services to clients in tv and film production nationwide. Our specialty are complex, fast, dynamic tracking shots that can only be delivered by highly skilled and experienced two operator team.
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