How Drones are Changing the Way Movies are Made

The crew piles haphazardly into the chopper. They precariously stuff themselves behind the actor and his stunt double. Patiently waiting, they just barely set up the shot before they realize the sun is too low. This is the pain of shooting an aerial scene for the movies —unless, of course, you have your trusty drone!

Drones are singlehandedly changing the way in which movies are made. The film industry has always embraced technology with open arms, and drones are just the next progressive step. So why are so many film crews jumping on the bandwagon?

Cost for Movies

Up until a few years ago, the only way to obtain an aerial shot was with the use of a helicopter, plane, or boom arm. This meant that filming any sort of scene like this involved lots of cash and plenty of risk. The costs associated with shooting from overhead can skyrocket (no pun intended) and prove to be prohibitively expensive.  Additionally, filming in this manner can be a treacherous logistical nightmare. Drones solve that problem by deftly floating overhead and staying on the job until completion. It also can’t hurt that on average, drone shots cost 1/10th the price (in half the amount of time).

Unattainable Shots

One of the greatest benefits for filming with drones in the movies is the ability to capture breathtaking shots that would otherwise be unattainable. Drones can literally travel to places that humans are incapable of.  Good Morning America recently ran a segment entitled “Game of Drones” which challenged the limits of drone filming.

Operator Eric Cheng from the drone production company DJI (they make drones for movies) submitted an aerial video of an exploding volcano in Iceland. This is the type of shot that could never be obtainable by a human being. Eric even said the face of the camera was melted when it returned.



As drones are ushered into film critical scenes for movies, the equipment is also changing. A director can now utilize tools like the Movi Controller.  A small hand-held remote that allows ground composition for an aerial shot. The drone of choice for movies is the ALTA6. A multi-rotor camera drone, the robot can hold a lot of weight and the cinematographers love them.

It’s clear that drones are having an incredibly positive impact on the movie industry. They allow directors to capture unobtainable shots at a fraction of the cost. Most importantly, they allow audiences access to places they would have never experienced otherwise.