Pro Moviemaker Spring 2019


changer that allowed much more stable footage. Since that time, the technology has rapidly evolved and, with the release of the Freefly Alta 6, Alta 8 and then the MoVI Pro, reliability and results have kept getting better.” The Freefly ALTA 8 is Sessler’s workhorse and, although he does fly the Inspire 2 and Mavic 2 Pro, he sees them as very different tools. “To me, a drone doesn’t replace traditional helicopter aerial cinematography,” he says. “Where they shine is in low altitude, close proximity flights in places where a helicopter and Shotover could not get. “I don’t like to use the large drones for ‘high and wide’ shots. The small DJI drones on the other hand come into their own when it comes to long-range flights, as well as faster and higher moves, more akin to traditional helicopter work. The Mavic 2 Pro is also a great tool to scout, and I’ve even used it to pre-viz dolly shots in rugged terrain or to shoot references for a low-altitude helicopter shot.” Pushing the boundaries Sessler first visited New York in 2010. He fell in love with the city and moved there

“The beauty of the business I’m in is that there are so many tools available for me to use these days, whether it be a Twinstar with Shotover or a Freefly ALTA 8 with MoVI Pro. They are all amazing and each has its own strengths.” Tim first started flying drones back in 2012, after being inspired by fellow filmmaker, Nick Wolcott, who had started his own aerial production company the year before. To Tim’s amazement, Nick was flying a Cinestar 8 capable of carrying a Canon 5D Mark III and, although he’d encountered hexacopters and octocopters before, his experience up to that point had been that they never seemed to fly particularly well and results were poor. “Heavy lift drones of that period were far from ‘out of the box ready to fly’,” Sessler recalls. “You had to get involved and solder boards, programme and tune the flight controller before you could think of flying. It seemed super sketchy to fly $100,000-plus camera packages on home-built drones and RC electronics that were meant for hobbyist usage instead of high-end professional use. “The release of the Freefly MoVI M10 in 2013 was, in my opinion, the real game

IMAGES Everything changed for Sessler when changes in the law meant it became legal to fly drones after sunset

with his wife three years later. While he found it an exciting and exhilarating place to be an aerial filmmaker, it came with its own set of challenges, particularly since drones have been banned from flying there completely. Equally difficult to manage was his growing desire to fly beyond sunset, something that was likewise illegal anywhere in the US for many years. Finally, on the back of the new FAA 107 regulations that were brought in during 2017, the law was changed, but there were still a lot of hurdles to clear before flying at night could become a commercial reality. “Flying UAVs at night has always been an issue,” Sessler explains. “For the longest time it was not legal to fly

“Tome, a drone is not there to replace traditional helicopter aerial cinematography”



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