If you read part one of our blog on Drone Filming in London, you may be wondering what actually happened on the day….
Drone Filming in London
Moving from the pre-tactical (or planning) phase to the tactical (i.e. flying) stage really demonstrates the differences in strengths between UAViate & Cloud 12 and why we form a great partnership delivering more than the sum of our parts. Upon arrival at ‘tech base’ (a multi storey car park) we transferred the drones and all the kit on to the street that was to be the setting for the first take and got everything set up. This is where the pilot undertakes a pre-flight inspection to ensure nothing has been damaged in transit, the camera operator liaises with the camera department to ensure the right lenses are fixed and all settings (ISO, Colour Temperature etc) are as required for aerial video. An in-depth site assessment is then undertaken ensuring all hazards are noted, all pedestrian marshals are aware of their responsibilities and take-off, landing and emergency landing areas are identified. Due to the nature of this location we also undertook RF (radio frequency) analysis to understand how congested the airwaves were and determine whether any further mitigations needed to be considered.
Prior to ‘action’ there is a discussion with the director and director of photography to discuss the requirements for each take. It is at this point it often necessary to reiterate the legal and technical limitations of the aircraft and moderate what might be requested offering alternatives, after all this is the reason they use aerial filming specialists.
We were very confident in our safety procedures, planning and the capabilities of the Cloud 12 drone and team that in order to convince the CAA to issue a landmark permission we actually invited a representative to regulate us in real-time. We agreed that should they think we were not operating safely they could shut us down at a moments notice. To facilitate this we asked ARPAS to host the CAA on our behalf, and communicate to them the finer points of what was happening, so we could concentrate on the flights in hand. Needless to say, the CAA later commented that it was ‘the safest they could ever expect it to be’.
On the first of the London streets we filmed using the camera drone we were only permitted to close the road to the public and traffic for 2 minutes, known as dynamic traffic management. Operating under these condition certainly makes things more exciting but it is imperative we never allow safety to be compromised. In those two minutes we had to close the road, clear the traffic and pedestrians, launch the drone, start the action, film the scene, ‘cut’ and then return to land before we could allow the public access again. We have found it is also necessary to safeguard the landing areas as once the action is cut we still have an aircraft to land, a point which is very often forgotten by the film crew but with safety specialists embedded within the team we are always one step ahead.
In total the aircraft was flown flawlessly from 3 areas around the Spitalfields area, each one requiring it’s own individual assessments and surveys and the results should be impressive to watch on the big screen when Criminal is released in summer 2015.
Not only did Criminal utilise Cloud 12’s camera drone for aerial filming but UAViate pilot Paul Rigby also flew the ‘hero drone’, a modified F550 in the City of London. More on that next time……