I have been looking to get into aerial cinematography for quite a while and after learning to fly on two less expensive quad-copters, I finally took the plunge and bought a DJI Phantom 3. Unlike other cinematographers, I don’t not plan on using the Phantom to get huge epic opening shots for a movie or scene (though I will not be opposed to doing that ever now and then) I see the Phantom solving a different problem on the Independent film set. Expensive dolly track shots and large crane shots. The phantom 3 is rock solid when flying. So much so that it looks like the camera is on a crane or a dolly and track.
Dolly – Track – Crane – Simulation
Smooth tracking and a great picture
The cost to rent a basic Chapman Hybrid dolly is about $200.00 a day. Add to that any accessories you might need and you are looking at upwards of $300 a day. This is why you don’t see a lot of dolly/track shots or crane shots in independent films. And while you may not be able to duplicate all dolly and crane footage with a drone, you can take your movie to that next level for a fraction of the cost of renting equipment. Here are a few examples of shots where we replaced an expensive crane or dolly shot with the Phantom 3.
Notice how steady the Phantom is when it is frozen in space. And the smoothness when simulating a crane or dolly track shot. Imagine getting some of these shots for your next independent film. In this next set of clips (coming soon) I speed things up a little and put a little tension and action into the shots.
And a final note:
I think it is very important to note that I follow all FAA rules and regulations. So if what you want to shoot goes against that, then I can offer other options or will have to politely pull myself from the project.