Definition November 2020 - Web

TECHNOLOGY | AER I AL

Our annual aerial special includes plenty of innovation and determination from key players GETTING OFF THE GROUND

WORDS CHELSEA FEARNLEY / P I CTURES VAR I OUS

RIGHT Flying Picture’s Ultra drone stands proud with the Libra L7 remote head attached

n our industry, it seems aerial companies have

been the first to get productions off the

ground. Due to the very nature of their operations, whereby they take to the skies to capture images, they are socially distanced from the production crew below. When things took a downward turn in the UK and, like most businesses, aerial companies were reduced to staying indoors, their efforts were heavily focused on R&D, preparing for the future and fine-tuning gear. BIGGER DEMANDS, BIGGER DRONES Flying Pictures unveiled its powerful new drone, the Ultra, back in July, though, unbeknown to most, this drone was actually ready in February. “Lockdown gave us additional time to refine it,” says the company’s chief pilot, Daniel Rose. “The CAA requires a technical assessment of all drones capable of flying anything over 20kg, and the Ultra has a payload of up to 60kg, so it took quite some time to assess! We also didn’t want to launch the drone without officially being able to use it, which is what we often see when companies bring out new gear.”

The Ultra is capable of carrying some of the heaviest camera and lens packages around, such as a three- camera Alexa Mini multi-array, with Zeiss CP.3 lenses and a full RTMotion Lens Control System, or an Arriflex 435 film camera, fitted with a 400ft mag and the Cooke 35-140mm Anamorphic/i zoom. It’s also the only drone capable and approved to fly the industry standard Libra L7 remote head. Rose says: “We wanted to create a drone that’s future-proof, one that’s able to do multicamera arrays to match the industry’s increasing demands for visual effects, and that can also accommodate heavy film cameras, because they’ve started to come back into vogue.”

Multi-arrays provide an extremely wide field of view at a remarkable resolution, which is beneficial for VFX departments creating 360° images, such as the sky. Emma Boswell, who is co- founder of aerial film specialist The Helicopter Girls, explains: “Until recently, three- and six-camera arrays have been very much the territory of helicopter companies. Our partner company, Marzano Films, owns the Eclipse XLHD helicopter multi-camera array, and John Marzano is one of the few aerial DOPs with specialist knowledge of array systems. Now these things are possible with drones, which is an exciting development for the work we are able to do together.”

“WE WANTED TO CREATE A DRONE THAT’S ABLE TO DO MULTICAMERA ARRAYS”

26 DEF I N I T ION | NOVEMBER 2020

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