Drones have been used for some time for capturing coverage of sporting events and news stories, but they are now increasingly being used in the making of films. Using drones to capture aerial footage for movies can give audiences spectacular views of the action of a kind they have never seen before. Today, the makers of blockbuster movies and ground-breaking TV series are using drones to capture footage that is adding a whole new dimension films and TV shows.
Hollywood had been aware of the potential of drones for some time, but up until the FAA passed Section 333 in 2012, there was a total ban on drones being used for any type of commercial purpose in the US. This meant that drones couldn’t be used in the making of movies and TV shows until relatively recently.
It’s been some years now since the Federal Aviation Administration cleared the path for movie makers to use drone technology to shoot films and drones are now being used widely in the industry to take exciting aerial footage that simply wasn’t possible before. While the use of drones in filmmaking is still relatively new, the demand for drone footage is increasing rapidly, because drones provide movie makers with so many exciting camerawork opportunities.
While still adhering to safety standards, the FAA has since further relaxed the rules on the commercial use of drones, making it easier for movie and TV directors to use drones for filming. The industry is still in the early stages of capitalizing on the full potential of drones, but there has already been some fantastic movie footage captured since filmmakers got the go-ahead to start using drones.
Prior to the FAA relaxing the rules on the commercial use of drones, the makers of films such as Harry Potter and Skyfall had already been using drones to film aerial shots, but the footage had been taken in other countries where less rigorous regulations applied than in the US. However, once the FAA approved the commercial use of drones on film and TV sets, the first use of drones in film footage that was taken in the US was for the TV series The Mentalist. Movie makers soon caught on to the idea and other USA projects that followed quickly behind The Mentalist with the use of drones were HBO’s The Leftovers and the blockbuster movie Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Examples of the innovative use of drones in movie making include the Transformers: Dark of the Moon, where the producers of the film worked closely with the FAA to find ways that use drones effectively and in a cost effective way that also abided by all the current regulations. During the production of that movie, a drone was used to shoot a spectacular scene when a drone was flown through the archway of a government building in Hong Kong. It was a shot that simply could not have been achieved with the use of manned aircraft.
In the 2016 Oscar-nominated film, Lion, which starred Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman, drones were used to great effect to capture images of the vast landscapes of Australia and India. The use of drones in this movie dramatically cut the cost of what would otherwise have been very expensive scenes to shoot. Drones were also used in this film to capture some stunning aerial footage of Bruny Island in Tasmania, a beautiful location with abundant wildlife and some amazing clifftop views.
While drone footage in moves is still in its infancy, there is no doubt that we will see more and more film footage taken from the unique perspective of unmanned airborne vehicles. Movie audiences can look forward to lots more breath taking film sequences shot from a drone. What you have seen so far is only the start.