HOLLYWOOD“Although drones have been a significant part of film and television production over the past decade, the media and entertainment industry is looking to federal and state governments to help advance technology with guidance. and improved regulations.
“We know regulation is coming, regulation has to happen, the industry is too new not to be regulated,” said Vic Moss, COO and vice president of DSPA (Drone Service Providers ‘Alliance) and owner of Moss Photography at Lakewood Colo. Moss was on an SMPTE Hollywood webinar in October that provided a revealing insight into the state of drone technology and art.
FAA PART 107
A major piece of drone regulation centers around Federal Aviation Administration Part 107, detailing the rules and regulations for small unmanned aircraft systems. Panelists agreed on the importance of having a licensed drone pilot on set and having insurance.
“Why do I want to work with 107?” Moss asked. “The main reason isn’t the FAA you’re going to have to worry about. The last thing you’ll want to do is fly without insurance, or travel with someone who doesn’t have a 107 [license], and have an incident.
“If they don’t have a 107 and fly without insurance, it’s going to fall on the insurance of the production company, and they’re going to deny it,” Moss continued. “I can promise you that they will deny any claim because it is illegal theft. So if you have someone on set with a drone make sure they have a 107 [license] and have their own insurance.
Kenji Sugahara, chief pilot and co-founder of A-Cam Aerials, highlighted the drone safety record in the entertainment industry. “The last time I spoke to Global, which is a major insurer, there were incidents, but no fatalities. Drones have a very good safety record.
“There are drones that come out with parachutes, so if something goes wrong in the air, the parachute will deploy and make sure no one on the ground is injured,” Sugahara continued. They go out with drones that are “frangible”, which means that if they hit someone, they’ll just collapse. There are also anti-collision sensors on many drones that exist today. “
GIVE YOUR BEST DRAW
The discussion then turned to when a drone is the best fit for a particular shot, and when another cinema tool might be better.
“When drones started to become popular, everyone was happy with the trigger and started using drones for everything,” said Christopher Alvarez, licensed drone pilot and resident writer / creative director at the ‘American Film Institute.
“But the only advantage I like [about drones] is maneuverability. You can go up and down, left and right at the same time. You’re able to play with the axis and get shots that you couldn’t have done otherwise, and wrap yourself around the subject in a way that I couldn’t have done before.
Mark Bender of Mark Bender Aerials compared drones to Steadicam: “It’s almost the same discussion. “It’s not appropriate for a Steadicam, we’re going to need five takes, I can tell you right now. Why don’t we have a real cart, and we have a take or two? ”
He noted that there are solutions such as the composite drone work, “which is partially portable, then a takeoff is launched.”
SONY AIRPEAK DRONE
Representatives from Sony Electronics discussed the company’s new Airpeak drone system, which was virtually unveiled at international CES 2021. A drone R&D team from Japan has visited Sony’s Hollywood field several times, where she was able to demonstrate prototypes and chat with content creators and drone pilots about their needs.
Airpeak drones are designed to carry Sony Alpha series mirrorless cameras. “[The Alpha cameras] are able to do the S-Log3 gamma curve, which is the same gamma curve as the Venice [camera] can do, ”said Daniel De La Rosa, vice president of post-production for Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Airpeak uses much of the technology Sony has developed over the years, said Gabriel Johnson, senior product marketing manager for mobile communications and Airpeak Drones for Sony Electronics. “[While the company’s imaging and image processing are well known] The robotic AI technology is probably less well known, ”Johnson said. “We’ve had a lot of this core tech that we’ve built over the years, and now we’re able to put it in the air. “
Sony Alpha cameras offer a range of capabilities depending on what the content creator wants to film.
“If you need high quality video, slow motion video, you want resolution, sensitivity, speed, whatever it is, we can meet that with our line of Alpha system cameras.” Johnson said. “And then, with Alpha lenses, you also have a plethora of high-quality lenses to choose from. “
He pointed out that at first the developers of Airpeak assumed that the drone operator would like all controls to be given to a single pilot / cinematographer, but then received feedback in which they learned that users might often want two operators.
Moss offered this great citizen advice to close the SMPTE Hollywood Virtual Meeting: “Whenever you are in the air, you are an ambassador for the drone industry.