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Spotting drone footage in feature films...

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Hey doods!

Working in the film industry for a while in many capacities, including drone camera op, I generally bug the crap out of my girlfriend with production notes as we're watching a given film. Sometimes I actually find production decisions more interesting than the film itself...LOL.... My GF is pretty patient and actually displays some modicum of interest in some of the production predictions and/or explanations I regale her with.

So last night we were watching the film "Wander." I took interest in it because it was produced here in N.M. (can usually find friends in the credits). The opening shot looks like it's *supposed* to be a car driving down the road, but clearly it's a low-flying drone - and not a very good one. The thing was yaw-seeking back and forth throughout the entire flight. I immediately spotted it as low-flying drone footage (a couple feet off the deck by my estimate). Anyone who has attempted this kind of shot knows it is NOT easy. You have to turn off Obstacle Avoidance and Vision Positioning, as these sensors will not only produce unwanted flight anomalies, but will usually force the drone too high off the deck. When the director/DP is yelling "lower, lower, lower," you better fly lower. Anyone who has been there knows what I'm talking about. But I digress...

I paused the movie and told my GF, "I bet this is a drone shot. I'm going to guess that they're not using an insert truck because they plan on craning up at the end of the shot."

Sure enough, the drone does its low fly up to a burning vehicle. At this point the drone clearly becomes hand-held as it leads a girl who is running toward the camera. The girl appears to get shot, at which point the drone goes into a crane shot (NAILED IT!). The thing that stood out like a sore thumb for me was that the crane shot was ALSO "yaw seeking." It honestly didn't look good. I imagine the DP and the editor probably opined, "It's good enough." Or maybe justified the yaw-seek as more "actiony" with a "hand held" feel - at 50' AGL.

Based on the way the shot looked, I'm going to guess they used an Inspire 1 with an X5 or X5R (which dollars to doughnuts was their spare drone) that maybe had either IMU or compass issues or more than likely camera issues. I've been using an Inspire 1 for years and never experienced that kind of yaw-seek problem in any of my Inspire 1 shots using the X3 or the X5. In fact, I haven't experience yaw-seek in any of my drones since my Phantom 1 days.

I think I'm going to do some inquiries to see who the drone company was. There are no specific drone operator credits, which usually means the cameraman has a drone in his gear truck "just in case" - which explains the marginal drone camera work (always blame the gear). We'll see.

Thoughts?

D
 
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Hey doods!

Working in the film industry for a while in many capacities, including drone camera op, I generally bug the crap out of my girlfriend with production notes as we're watching a given film. Sometimes I actually find production decisions more interesting than the film itself...LOL.... My GF is pretty patient and actually displays some modicum of interest in some of the production predictions and/or explanations I regale her with.

So last night we were watching the film "Wander." I took interest in it because it was produced her in N.M. (can usually find friends in the credits). The opening shot looks like it's *supposed* to be a car driving down the road, but clearly it's a low-flying drone - and not a very good one. The thing was yaw-seeking back and forth throughout the entire flight. I immediately spotted it as low-flying drone footage (a couple feet off the deck by my estimate). Anyone who has attempted this kind of shot knows it is NOT easy. You have to turn off Obstacle Avoidance and Vision Positioning, as these sensors will not only produce unwanted flight anomalies, but will usually force the drone too high off the deck. When the director/DP is yelling "lower, lower, lower," you better fly lower. Anyone who has been there knows what I'm talking about. But I digress...

I paused the movie and told my GF, "I bet this is a drone shot. I'm going to guess that they're not using an insert truck because they plan on craning up at the end of the shot."

Sure enough, the drone does its low fly up to a burning vehicle. At this point the drone clearly becomes hand-held as it leads a girl who is running toward the camera. The girl appears to get shot, at which point the drone goes into a crane shot (NAILED IT!). The thing that stood out like a sore thumb for me was that the crane shot was ALSO "yaw seeking." It honestly didn't look good. I imagine the DP and the editor probably opined, "It's good enough." Or maybe justified the yaw-seek as more "actiony" with a "hand held" feel - at 50' AGL.

Based on the way the shot looked, I'm going to guess they used an Inspire 1 with an X5 or X5R (which dollars to doughnuts was their spare drone) that maybe had either IMU or compass issues or more than likely camera issues. I've been using an Inspire 1 for years and never experienced that kind of yaw-seek problem in any of my Inspire 1 shots using the X3 or the X5. In fact, I haven't experience yaw-seek in any of my drones since my Phantom 1 days.

I think I'm going to do some inquiries to see who the drone company was. There are no specific drone operator credits, which usually means the cameraman has a drone in his gear truck "just in case" - which explains the marginal drone camera work (always blame the gear). We'll see.

Thoughts?

D
Drone operator Russ De Jong - according to iMDb
 
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He didn't get an actual credit in the scroll at the end of the film. Up to now I had assumed that the IMDB precisely reflected the rolling credits at the end of the film. I guess you learn something new every day.

D
My show plays a C camera full time. the operator, first and second are all listed on IMDB but get no screen credit. The same goes for my focus puller, he's not in the end credits but he's on IMDB
 
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My show plays a C camera full time. the operator, first and second are all listed on IMDB but get no screen credit. The same goes for my focus puller, he's not in the end credits but he's on IMDB
Thanx for the clarification.

I should actually know better, as my drone company did about a dozen productions, getting screen credit on none of them. In fact, we're not even on my IMDB page. I day played as a Set Lighting Technician for years on dozens of productions, never quite getting enough hours for a screen credit.

Funny...my IMDB page just says, "Camera and Electrical Dept," like I did both on any given production. It was one or the other. For instance, I was a Set Lighting Technician on "Brothers," but was Drone Camera Op on "Dark Country." The IMDB just says "Camera and Electrical Dept." It's been years since I looked at my IMDB page.

I guess my erroneous assumption was that any above-the-line players automatically received screen credit for full-feature films. I worked on many full-feature films below the line (Electric), and many series, shorts and documentaries above the line as a camera op (drone). So I just assumed my use case was not typical, which is how I rationalized never receiving screen credits. I guess I was wrong.

Worth noting: The only reason I got a screen credit on "Brothers" was because the Gaffer (David Kohn) actually felt sorry for me. I had worked with him on many productions, never quite making the 40-hour minimum for screen credit. I think I had like 38 hours on Brothers. I was joking around about never once getting a screen credit, and he was surprised. He just said to me, "I'll make sure you get a screen credit for this one." Nice guy, that David.

D
 
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There is no minimum hours for a screen credit
Yup.

There are also many that do not get screen credits at all and yet have a major part to play in large productions.

My daughter has worked as a visual effects artist for some of the biggest Post Houses in the industry (Industrual Light & Magic (ILM), Weta, Pixmondo, Frame Store, Prime Focus, The Mill,) to name drop just a few. :)
Some of the film's she has contributed to are Avatar, Hugo, The Dark Knight, MIB3 etc - She was actually responsible for 'killing' Dobby in Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows!!!! (That's her work).
However, some she has credit for on the end credits and some she has not.
At the end of the production, they usually find out who/how many and at what level will get credited for working the production.
Probably not fair but that's the way the industry works.
 
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EVERY deal memo states “credits are at producers discretion”

the only “credit” we are guaranteed is the pay check
 
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Too many variables for you to make that assertion:

1) Under the line work
2) 10 years ago
3) N.M. film union rules

D

No I can make that assertion. I’ve been doing this for 35 years and you’ve seen shows I’ve shot including stuff I’ve shot in New Mexico who’s studio mechanics local is still governed by the international

care to try again?
 
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No I can make that assertion. I’ve been doing this for 35 years and you’ve seen shows I’ve shot including stuff I’ve shot in New Mexico who’s studio mechanics local is still governed by the international

care to try again?
I worked a couple dozen feature films, including No Country For Old Men. Find me in the credits. If you can't, then STFU.

From my personal collection; A photo you won't find anywhere on the Internet.
1608186432697.png

D
 
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I worked a couple dozen feature films, including No Country For Old Men. Find me in the credits. If you can't, then STFU.

From my personal collection; A photo you won't find anywhere on the Internet.
View attachment 30147

D
Again, you don't understand "at the producer's discretion" which is in ALL Start work

And it's BELOW the line. not "under the line" which is not an industry term

You can find me in the credits AND on IMDB... In fact, you can look tomorrow night on ABC at the end of Grey's Anatomy...
 
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Again, you don't understand "at the producer's discretion" which is in ALL Start work

You can find me in the credits AND on IMDB...
"Producer's discretion" is completely subjective. When I asked why I wasn't in screen or IMDB credits, I was told it was because I didn't have enough hours on set, which made sense to me. As a DAY PLAYER, I rarely saw > 40 hours on any given production. This seems OBjective to me and makes sense. But you're right. Maybe a couple dozen producers I had never met in my life just didn't like me enough to include me in the credits. Or maybe they just didn't like Set Lighting Techs. I have no idea. If that makes more sense to you than a minimum hour requirement, then so be it.

D
 
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"Producer's discretion" is completely subjective. When I asked why I wasn't in screen or IMDB credits, I was told it was because I didn't have enough hours on set, which made sense to me. As a DAY PLAYER, I rarely saw > 40 hours on any given production. This seems OBjective to me and makes sense. But you're right. Maybe a couple dozen producers I had never met in my life just didn't like me enough to include me in the credits. Or maybe they just didn't like Set Lighting Techs. I have no idea. If that makes more sense to you than a minimum hour requirement, then so be it.

D
I have come in done one shot and got the credit. It has nothing to do with hours. There is no such thing as a "Minimum hour" requirement
 
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I have come in done one shot and got the credit.
As what? Your answer better be some below-the-line job or I'll be forced to start screen capturing my previous comments. If you say as a Local 600 camera op, I'm gonna send you a virtual slap upside the noggin.


It has nothing to do with hours. There is no such thing as a "Minimum hour" requirement
Whatever, dude. I don't know what to tell you. Your explanation of "Producer's discretion" makes no sense. Why would some producer I never met exclude me from the credits? Your answer doesn't make sense.

D
 
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As what? Your answer better be some below-the-line job or I'll be forced to start screen capturing my previous comments. If you say as a Local 600 camera op, I'm gonna send you a virtual slap upside the noggin.



Whatever, dude. I don't know what to tell you. Your explanation of "Producer's discretion" makes no sense. Why would some producer I never met exclude me from the credits? Your answer doesn't make sense.

D
I invite you to TRY to "slap upside the noggin" it won't end well for you

here is a standard line from a deal memo relating to credit. Its in every start packet

"3. CREDIT. Except as otherwise set forth herein, all decisions regarding credit, including, without limitation, the style, manner, placement, size, position, and duration of any credit accorded to you hereunder, shall be made by Producer in its sole discretion. No casual or inadvertent failure by Producer or any third party to accord such credit shall be a breach hereof by Producer."

35 years doing this on union shows I know what I'm talking about
 
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OK, can we please keep this civil guys.
This thread is (was supposed to be) about spotting drone footage within film content.

With regards to getting credits and the end of a production. From my experience in the industry and through my daughter working on some very high end productions, the credit acknowledgment has been totally down to the producer.
There is no guarantee that someone or company will be mentioned/acknowledged at the end of a film.
Many individuals in post houses work very long hours and go above and beyond and yet they get no mention, no name, no acknowledgement they even exist.
Usually a producer will say they will acknowledge a production house/post house work on a film - it is then down to the lead in each department to come up with a number of names to put forward for end credits. These could be senior VFX artists, juniors, roto artists or even at the 'lower end' or the chain, the guys that do plate clean up.
It's entirely up to the producer first, then the production/post house execs and department leads to put names forward. The producer can then edit or cut names out as they see fit for the end credit roll.
 
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I invite you to TRY to "slap upside the noggin" it won't end well for you

here is a standard line from a deal memo relating to credit. Its in every start packet

"3. CREDIT. Except as otherwise set forth herein, all decisions regarding credit, including, without limitation, the style, manner, placement, size, position, and duration of any credit accorded to you hereunder, shall be made by Producer in its sole discretion. No casual or inadvertent failure by Producer or any third party to accord such credit shall be a breach hereof by Producer."

35 years doing this on union shows I know what I'm talking about
I noticed your ego was quick to address "noggin" but your intellect failed to answer the question. You didn't refute my data, you dismissed it. Ego defense coupled with data dismissal are the hallmarks of an eristic cretin. Colors shown. You have taught me futility.

1608216851526.png

Good day.

D
 
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Looks like your ego is talking again and you have missed the point. I even quoted a standard deal memo which has language from the basic agreement that hasn’t changed in 30 years and is part of ALL covered work. Doesn’t matter that it was BELOW the line work in New Mexico 10 years ago

I totally refuted what you said with facts and examples
 
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