• Drones and The Future of Movies

    Drones and The Future of Movies

    If you’re a filmmaker on a credit-card budget, you probably can’t afford a helicopter to take those aerial shots of cityscapes and landscapes that big-budget filmmakers use to create a sense of panoramic grandeur. But you can afford the next best thing: a flying drone camera. That’s right: the same technology that allows the U.S. to spy remotely and to drop bombs from unmanned aircraft also allows you to capture killer bird’s-eye-view shots for your movie.

    See Peter Travers’ List of the Best and Worst James Bond Movies

    Drone cinematography is still in its primitive stage. For one thing, the UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) don’t have much range (about a mile) and only have enough battery life for 10 to 15 minutes of flight. Plus, the built-in cameras only have 720p resolution, or medium high-definition. (That’s about the quality you might get on a good smartphone.) But the latest drones also come with a camera mount so that they can hoist full HD (1080p) GoPro sports cameras. There’s still the little snag that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not yet permit private businesses to operate drones in the United States. (Non-commercial filmmakers may use them, but only below 400 feet and in sparsely populated areas.) But the agency will begin issuing drone licenses to businesses by 2015, and Hollywood could be the first set of private users.

    Last fall, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Hollywood’s lobbying arm, pressed the FAA for a waiver to allow the use for filmmaking purposes of smaller drones with less range than those used by the CIA. Waiver or no, by the end of the decade, the FAA estimates there could be as many as 30,000 public and private drones in the air, making drone manufacture into a $90 billion industry.

    In the meantime, the unmanned fliers are still primarily government-operated, usually with law-enforcement agencies at the controls, doing overhead surveillance. Naturally, individual citizens and even some municipalities are worried about the potential for abuses of privacy of having thousands of drones in the sky. It’s no wonder the drone industry’s lobbying arm, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) likes to play up drone applications that are primarily scientific or commercial, including filmmaking.

    While drone use is still restricted here, overseas filmmakers have gotten their hands on UAVs. A prankish pair of Irish filmmakers used a drone to shoot footage of goings-on at Google and Facebook’s offices in Dublin. For the conglomerate that has already made satellite photos of your house available online to anyone, turnabout is fair play says drone-wielding filmmaker Caroline Campbell. “We feel that it is no more intrusive than something like Google Street View,” she told Wired. (You can watch some of Campbell’s film, Loitering Theatre, here.)

    As with Google Glass, it’s easy, then, to imagine that the first theatrical features to make significant use of drone technology may not be the ones that exploit its use in action sequences or inaccessible locations. Rather, they’ll be the ones that take advantage of its Big Brother-ish spycraft. They’ll be films like the Francis Ford Coppola classic The Conversation that remind us, by cautionary example, of how little privacy we still possess.

    Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/drones-and-the-future-of-movies-20131028#ixzz3m1OEUWnq
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  • Ad Week – Drones in Film Production

    Ad Week – Drones in Film

    Ever since Twitter used drones to create buzzy six-second videos at Cannes last year, the remote-controlled devices have ditched their reputation as weird flying gizmos the military uses in favor of one as a new marketing platform. And brands are finding new ways to incorporate the videos into virtual-reality campaigns.
    Today, Patrón and agency Firstborn are launching the “Art of Patrón Virtual Reality Experience,” giving viewers an inside look at how tequila is made at its Hacienda Patrón distillery in Jalisco, Mexico. The brand joins a growing list of alcohol marketers using virtual reality with a new twist—the use of drones to film projects.
    After viewers put on an Oculus headset, they see the world from the perspective of a bee, Patrón’s icon. They then get a virtual tour of the Hacienda’s agave fields, distillery and bottling room, and get to see all the steps that go into making a bottle of tequila.
    According to Lee Applbaum, Patrón’s global CMO, the idea behind the campaign came from the fact that the distillery is located in a remote part of Mexico. The virtual reality is meant to replicate, as closely as possible, the on-site experience.
    Using custom-built drones equipped with seven GoPro cameras, a team of FAA-certified pilots from Aerial Mob maneuvered the machines to capture complicated shots at the Hacienda like a 30-foot drop or a close-up of the agave plants. They also collected the sounds of workers in the field to make the virtual experience more realistic. The live-action shots were then overlaid with computer-generated images.
    In one scene, the bee flies through a keyhole into a room where employees are chopping up agave plants. Another shows the bee hovering over a field of flowers and cacti.

    “It’s very ironic that we’re using cutting-edge technology to tell this story of a very traditional, time-honored and ancient process,” Applbaum said. “All of this audio and video from the drone gives you this sensation that you are this bee flying through places that ordinarily you simply could not do.”
    The project took five months to complete and will be used at retailers and Patrón events and seminars. “While we want it to be immersive, engaging and entertaining, we also had to ensure that it was equally informative and very real,” Applbaum said.

    Drone Reality
    Earlier this week, GoPro acquired software company Kolor, which some belief may be the first step in building its own headset. If the camera’s previous marketing is any indication, a GoPro-backed virtual-reality headset would likely sell itself.
    Meanwhile, British Columbia’s tourism department used drones and helicopters late last year to make sweeping three-minute videos of the province’s mountains and landmarks.
    Cirque du Soleil choreographed drones for a fun video that looked like dancing lampshades. And even movie directors are finding new ways to get the perfect shot.
    “When you’re shooting a 360-degree environment you have to consider your entire surroundings,” said Firstborn’s associate creative director Cameron Templeton. “Shooting via drone is starting to emerge as a filmmaking technique, but it’s very new territory for VR.”

  • Alan Purwin

    Aerial MOB sends condolences and prayers to the family and friends of Alan Purwin, Founder/Owner of HeliNet Aviation Services and Founder/Owner SHOTOVER Camera Systems.  His legacy and innovation in the film production industry was substantial and he will be greatly missed.

  • Panavision, Drone Company Aerial MOB Form Alliance

    hollywoodreporter.com announcement
    SEPTEMBER 04, 2015 2:03pm PT by Carolyn Giardina

    Panavision will recommend Aerial MOB as their preferred drone company in the U.S.

    Aerial MOB — a provider of drone services for feature and TV production — has reached an agreement with Panavision through which the camera and lens systems supplier will recommend Aerial MOB as its preferred drone company in the United States.

    The recommendation from lens and camera systems giant Panavision could help boost business for Aerial MOB, which has recently provided drones services on series including Supergirl, Criminal Minds Beyond Borders, The Leftovers and The Voice. (Panavision customers are not required to work with Aerial MOB.)

    “Their focus on providing advanced aerial technology, with an emphasis on safety and performance, forms a natural alliance of our two companies,” said Bob Harvey, Panavision’s executive vp, global sales and marketing.

    A year ago this month, the Federal Aviation Administration approved operator exemptions for six aerial production companies to use small, unmanned aircrafts systems (UAS), or drones, for filming motion pictures and television programming in U.S. airspace. Aerial MOB was among those six companies, and additional exemptions have been granted since them.

    This was big news when it occurred, as a growing camp in Hollywood has asserted that mounting cameras on drones offers new creative options, cost savings and, perhaps, safer sets. But regulatory issues had been a hurdle; in order to conduct a commercial operation with an unmanned aircraft in U.S. airspace, users had needed a certified aircraft, licensed pilot and FAA approval. The FAA is currently working to loosen these regulatory restrictions.

  • FAA Approves Aerial MOB First Exemption Round

    For Immediate Release
    FAA Link

    September 25, 2014
    Contact: Les Dorr, Jr. or Alison Duquette
    Phone: (202) 267-3883

    Six Companies Can Now Fly Small UAS Following FAA-approved Safety Procedures

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that the Federal Aviation Administration has granted regulatory exemptions to six aerial photo and video production companies, the first step to allowing the film and television industry the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System. Secretary Foxx made the announcement on a conference call with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Chris Dodd, chairman and chief executive officer of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc.
    Secretary Anthony Foxx also determined that the UAS to be used in the proposed operations do not need an FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness based on a finding they do not pose a threat to national airspace users or national security. Those findings are permitted under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.
    “Today’s announcement is a significant milestone in broadening commercial UAS use while ensuring we maintain our world-class safety record in all forms of flight,” said Secretary Foxx. “These companies are blazing a trail that others are already following, offering the promise of new advances in agriculture and utility safety and maintenance.”
    The firms asked the agency to grant exemptions from regulations that address general flight rules, pilot certificate requirements, manuals, maintenance and equipment mandates. To receive the exemptions, the firms had to show their UAS operations would not adversely affect safety, or would provide at least an equal level of safety to the rules from which they seek the exemptions.
    In their applications, the firms said the operators will hold private pilot certificates, keep the UAS within line of sight at all times and restrict flights to the “sterile area” on the set. In granting the exemption, FAA accepted these safety conditions, adding an inspection of the aircraft before each flight, and prohibiting operations at night. The agency also will issue Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COAs) that mandate flight rules and timely reports of any accident or incidents.
    “The applicants submitted UAS flight manuals with detailed safety procedures that were a key factor in our approval of their requests,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “We are thoroughly satisfied these operations will not pose a hazard to other aircraft or to people and property on the ground.”
    The Motion Picture Association of America facilitated the exemption requests on behalf of these six members: Astraeus Aerial, Aerial MOB, LLC, HeliVideo Productions, LLC, Pictorvision Inc, RC Pro Productions Consulting, LLC dba Vortex Aerial, and Snaproll Media, LLC. The FAA has asked for additional information from Flying-Cam, Inc., a seventh aerial video company that filed for exemptions with this group in June. The agency is working closely with the company to obtain the required information.
    The FAA encourages other industry associations to work with interested parties to develop safety manuals and standard operating procedures that will help facilitate similar petitions.
    As of today, the agency is considering 40 requests for exemptions from other commercial entities.