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OUT OF TOWNER - REQUEST FOR ADVICE - CINEMATOGRAPHY

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Sep 10, 2017
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Hi All,

I'm not from the big end of town but I'm aspiring enthusiast and filmography buff, and I've been flying my Mavic Pro for around 6 months. I've come across to the Inspire Pilots forum upon recommendation from a few members of the Mavic Pilots forum to seek a bit of help with cinematography.

So, needless to say the Mavic is not a professional level drone and what I'm trying to do is probably pushing the envelope of its limitations. I'm trying to get a fairly long sequence (circa two minutes) combination shot of a car on a winding coastal road. The car will start out behind the drone and will overtake it at some point in the shot, the timing and location of which will be difficult to plan for. I'm also planning some road crosses and elevation changes to go over a hill and then go below the road level. It's a shot that would probably be a cinch for a well drilled two-operator Inspire team, but somewhat more difficult for single person Mavic operator.

My plan is to outsource the piloting of the aircraft to Litchi, which will manage a number of direction and elevation changes designed to give me some really interesting framing taking in the fairly spectacular surrounds, and to stop me crashing in to anything! This leaves me to essentially manage the camera direction and gimbal pitch by myself. Due to the direction and elevation changes, I'll need to get the camera controls perfect to maintain correct framing, and of course it takes only the slightest error to ruin the sequence. I've programmed the route in Litchi to give me fairly wide framing where I anticipate the main transitions to be, which will provide me a bit of buffer to keep it all smooth.

It's not a one-take opportunity, so I can re-shoot it if I balls it up, but I need to get it all shot in the golden hour, and based on my test runs, I'm probably going to need that whole time at least. It's not for commercial purposes, so there's no sheep-stations at risk if I stuff it up, I'm just trying to stretch myself.

So with that context, is anyone able to offer any advice on how to maximize my chances of getting this shot right? Advice on framing, flight-path, camera control, planning, location management etc. etc. would all be welcome from anyone with (any level) of experience in this space.

Thanks in advance.

K.
 
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Before anything, scout the location out thoroughly. Things like NFZ or questionable hindrances are important. Permits maybe required. Local laws. Scenic beauty. Etc.

I was looking to use one area as I know movies are filmed there. Turns out the area is controlled by the parks department and drones are banned by ordinance. Seems they got too many reports of people flying drones too close to water skiers and boaters so they put out the ban with the lifeguards on watch for them. The mistake I made was there is an AMA sanctioned flying field there too so "It should be okay," but the area was also part of the parks department as well. I was told "The RC pilots haven't been an issue at the field as with the drone pilots with their flying cameras trying to get too close to people." You never really know until you check things out.
 
Joined
Sep 10, 2017
Messages
5
Reaction score
5
Age
37
Th
Before anything, scout the location out thoroughly. Things like NFZ or questionable hindrances are important. Permits maybe required. Local laws. Scenic beauty. Etc.

I was looking to use one area as I know movies are filmed there. Turns out the area is controlled by the parks department and drones are banned by ordinance. Seems they got too many reports of people flying drones too close to water skiers and boaters so they put out the ban with the lifeguards on watch for them. The mistake I made was there is an AMA sanctioned flying field there too so "It should be okay," but the area was also part of the parks department as well. I was told "The RC pilots haven't been an issue at the field as with the drone pilots with their flying cameras trying to get too close to people." You never really know until you check things out.
Thanks - yep I've done all off-location due diligence re: flight restrictions as well as map and terrain reconnaissance and have selected this location because it ticks all the boxes. I'll of course drive and fly a recon mission before I start filming.

As an aside, it's interesting that Parks are banning drones because operators aren't following Aviation Regulations (such as getting too close to people), instead of reporting them to the Regulator. Seems a bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I'm in Australia and there are various State based restrictions, but they mostly pertain to applying for a permit, unless it's underpinned by a specific safety, environmental or cultural issue (fire/wildlife/cultural heritage) that's not addressed by Regulations. As it stands I'm not filming in a National Park and I'm in a State with quite an open approach to filming in parks (for the time being...).
 

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