Aerial drones are quickly rising in popularity in the world of video production. Glorious aerial shots that would have once required an expensive helicopter rental are now possible with equipment that is relatively affordable for the masses. However, is it possible that these devices have untapped video-production potential outside of simply capturing footage, perhaps in the arena of aerial lighting? Swedish DP Simon Sjörén recently put this theory to the test by mounting high-powered LED's to a drone, while using another drone to capture the footage. Check out the process below!
In this epic BTS video, we see Sjörén and his fellow filmmakers using two Intuitive Aerial drones, one mounted with a RED EPIC and the other mounted with a high-powered LED from Digital Sputnik, in order to capture night skiing in a way that it has never been seen before.
Unfortunately, the finished video (or even just some example footage of the aerial lighting technique) isn't yet available, although we will certainly share it with you when it is.
This technique might seem as if it would have very few applications outside of capturing something like skiing at night. However, because these helicopters are becoming somewhat ubiquitous in the filmmaking world, the possibilities are only as limited as filmmakers' imaginations. I can see this technique being used in a multitude of night exterior situations where a heavy toplight is needed for wider angled framings. It could also be incredibly useful when lighting for specific effects, like a helicopter flying by with a large spotlight.
Of course, for narrative work these rigs might not be entirely practical for several reasons. First and foremost is crew safety, which is of utmost concern on most sets these days in the wake of the Sarah Jones tragedy. It usually takes a small army of people to make a narrative film, which greatly raises the safety-stakes when it comes to having equipment flying around. Second is sound. Most of these drones are loud enough to render production audio unusable, which could be a deal-breaker for many productions.
What do you guys think of this technique? Are there legitimate filmmaking applications for aerial lighting, or are rigs like these too problematic for narrative film work? Let us know down in the comments!