Project: Flying Boat Film
Location: Long Island, Bahamas
Deliverables: Aerial Drone Video footage and Photographs of the Flying Boat – Grumman Albatross in flight, and on water.
Crew/Equipment: professional two operator drone team (pilot and camera operator) with DJI Inspire 2, Super35 DJI X7 camera, full cinema lens set. Secondary/drone light unit: DJI Inspire 2 with X5S micro 4/3 camera, equipped with high powered LED drone light.
Lower, Closer, Faster! Enjoy an Epic Drone Video of Flying Boat Airplane Surfing in Bahamas...
Mike Gearin and Petr Hejl, PhotoFlight's two operator drone camera team had an amazing opportunity to accompany a production crew of the Flying Boat Film on an amazing shoot in Long Island, Bahamas.
Flying Boat Film is a documentary film about human aspirations and the most amazing flying machines created by humans. The entire film revolves around Flying Boats, amazing machines that first enabled the long distance air travel, and dedicated people who invest countless hours and resources to keep the last few of these great airplanes flying today.
The Subject of the Bahamian chapter of the Flying Boat Film shoot was quite stunning. This 1954 Grumman Albatross G-111 is described by many aviation enthusiasts and professionals alike to be the nicest flying example of this extraordinary aircraft. This wasabi colored beauty has not only been perfectly restored, but also fitted with a beautifully designed and executed passenger cabin and state of the art modern avionics. Award winning travel in style, and a beautiful subject to a documentary.
Grumman Albatross was produced from 1949-1961 as a search and rescue aircraft, designed to land and take off in difficult open ocean conditions. They were built as an extremely tough military aircraft. Only a handful of the 466 built remain flying today in the hands of private owners. This particular example is also an extremely rare G-111 model, one of 13 such aircraft selected by Florida based Chalk's Airline from military surplus, converted to accommodate for civilian use, restored to zero hour airframe, and fitted with new engines in late 70ties and early 80ties. The airline has only operated a few of them and mothballed the rest in Arizona. Here is where the current owner found it in terrible condition over 30 years later and painstakingly restored and upgraded this aircraft well beyond its original beauty.
The Location was a beautiful bay near Columbus Monument at Cape Santa Maria, Long Island, Bahamas. The setting was surreal, amazingly blue ocean surrounded by pristine beaches with the finest white sand we have ever seen (and had to painstakingly clean out of our equipment at the end of every day). Long Island has a few great resorts, but it is only accessible by private or chartered planes or boats, so the beaches are mostly deserted. It's difficult to imagine a better place to be for a two operator drone team, eager to take some professional drone video gear through some challenging rounds.
The Crew: some of the most professional and dedicated people we have had an honor to work with, left to right: Chris Eckrich (Production Manager), Dirk Braun (Producer, Stunt Man), Will Atherton (Director of Photography), Petr Hejl (Drone Camera Operator), Mike Gearin (Drone Pilot), Nick Pascarella (Aviation Photographer), Mike Cook (Camera Operator, Diver, DIT), Connor Cassidy (Camera Operator).
The Shanty: Spending a full first day working on the beach and baking in merciless Caribbean Sun with no shade to cool ourselves our our equipment was a harsh lesson. To make it through the rest of the shoot, we decided to use our castaway skills and build a shelter out of some older resort sheets and branches we dragged out of the bush. Our production shanty did a great job keeping us and the gear cool.
Airplane Surfing was definitely the most epic and challenging shoot of the entire trip. It is a great combination of magnificent, awesome, and thrilling. Both the drone crew and Director of Photography with his camera were on the chase boat.
The Drone you see in the picture is our DJI Inspire 2 Drone with DJI X7 Stabilized Drone Camera, the best tool for this shoot and a complete delight to work with. We believe that expertise is largely about choosing the right tool for the job, and as drone videographers who like to chase things lower, closer and faster we look at the entire package - both drone and the camera need to be the right fit. DJI Inspire 2 is capable of flying upwards of 60Mph, it is extremely nimble drone with great endurance. We coupled it with DJIs X7 Super35 camera with admirable 14 stops of dynamic range and DJI CineCore - using a solid state drive to store media makes it capable of writing in ProRes RAW, 4444, 422 codecs, leaving plenty for colorists to work with. Our kit also includes a DJI lens set - 16mm, 24mm, 35mm and 50mm (full frame crop factor approximately 1.4x).
The Chase Boat was also a great choice for the job, nothing makes a drone cameraman's day better than a really fast oversized dingy to chase things around with. Mike Gearin, PhotoFlight's drone pilot, is keeping an eye on the drone, while Petr Hejl, drone camera operator is focused on framing the shot and working the camera right behind him. The success and results of two operator drone team depend on their ability to quickly communicate and coordinate in a rapidly changing and challenging conditions. From planning and plotting of the shot, to on-the-spot adjustments while executing it, the two must be able to seamlessly work as a team to place the camera exactly where it needs to be, when it needs to be there, and come back with a shot that adds production value to the project at hand.
Drone Light: we attached a powerful LED light kit to our spare DJI Inspire 2 drone, and coordinated the two drones for some amazing night photography.
Night Drone Photography using a drone light and DJI Inspire 2 with DJI X7 camera was a hit with these surreal stunning drone photos and some great drone videos of the Flying Boat at night.
Flying Boat Film will be a must see for any aviation, technology, or travel fan. Following the adventure is easy, just look for @flyingboatfilm on Instagram or visit https://flyingboatfilm.com.
We would love to work with you - our two operator drone camera crew would be delighted to be a part of your team and help you add great high production value content to your project. We have years of experience in flying drones, camera work, and being part of many different production crews and projects. Please, contact us to discuss our professional drone cinematography services and drone camera equipment options.