Pro Moviemaker Summer 2018


crowd and the horizon with a cityscape composited in,” he says. “So I’ll shoot a main hero dronemove from the close-up of the actor all the way back. This will be an automatedmove between two waypoints with the camera tilted down slightly at first and tilting up a bit over the course of themove. The 100 extras will have green screen around them, and I’ll then shoot plates for the rest of the crowd. “Traditionally you would get the crowd tomove to different positions and shoot them. However, the advantage of a drone is that you can keep the extras in the same position and simply shoot fromdifferent angles. So currently I’m setting up amission in a grid formation whereby the drone moves to positions on a grid and stops at each one and films for ten seconds. This way I’ll get the crowd frommultiple different angles, ready to be tracked in to the final shot.” With somuch already going on in the here and now it’s not surprising that Rufus hasn’t really had a chance to look up to see what’s coming over the horizon next. But whatever it is he’s sure that it’s going to be exciting and demanding in equal measure. “What’s here already in terms of technology blows me away,” he says. “As a time-lapse photographer and filmmaker I’ve been stuck on the ground for the last ten years and the Inspire has changed all of that. There are somany creative ways to apply this technology and I can’t wait to see where it leads me.”

time warps - a distortion of space/time - and a really beautiful colour grade, making it look like a really nice finished project.” The beauty of drones is that they have not somuch replaced helicopter footage, which would have been out of the reach of all but themost well-funded of filmmakers in the first place, but they actually offer the chance to film sequences that would have been out of the scope of larger craft. Swooping above the city and over the heads of Olympic kitesurfing qualifiers, which Rufus did recently in Thailand, would simply have not been allowed and in any case could only have been done froma great elevation due to downdraught, but is well within the capabilities of a drone. “For the kitesurfers I set up a flight plan that followed the riders for the whole course around the buoys, over the jumps and right in to the finish,” says Rufus. “Then, once you have it set up, as a pilot you simply control the speed at which the dronemoves through the course, allowing you to cover a whole race, something that was not really possible before.” As his prowess and innovative drone filmmaking becomes more established, Rufus is attractingmore work of this kind, and he’s particularly enjoying the commissions that set him challenges. One of his latest jobs, for example, sees him taking on a classic crowd replication shot, where the requirement is tomake 100 look like an army of 10,000. “The camera needs to start on a close- up shot and pull back to reveal the whole

BELOW From planning his drone’s flight path to adding the finishing touches to footage in post-production, Rufus Blackwell pilots his productions from start to finish.

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