How Drones are Changing the Entertainment Industry

Avatar photo by

In a very short period of time, drone technology is changing the way movie makers operate, and it is literally changing how Hollywood, the Mecca of movie-making, produces films for public consumption. Perhaps more than any other technological development of the past decade or two, the aerial photography provided by drone technology is having a massive impact on the way movies are made, on how much they cost to produce, and about who can afford to make high-quality movies these days.

New movie-making capabilities

Drones can go places that no other devices can, and in ways that even the most sophisticated photography equipment simply can’t match. From 200 feet up in the air, a rock-solid steady shot can be filmed by a drone, which is something that simply couldn’t be done until very recently. The only thing even close to that would have been a helicopter shot, and helicopters are so big and bulky that they simply can’t get into all the places that drones can, nor can they fly as low.

Drones can also be programmed to film high-speed chases, following the subjects through busy streets, mountainous highways, or any other setting which might be difficult using another approach. The kind of fluid, gliding sequences that drones can film, allow filmmakers to really expand the creative boundaries of the profession, creating scenes that until now could only be imagined.

Drastic savings on production budgets

Instead of having to rent out expensive cranes or pay for high-cost helicopter rentals, a production crew can now use a relatively low-cost drone to capture a higher-quality shot on film and save a ton of money in the process. With no dropoff in high definition quality, the cost for renting a very capable drone might only be 25% of the cost of renting other more expensive equipment, and the resulting film would not be as good.

Since the FAA approval for use of commercial drones in movie and television productions, many scenes can now be filmed domestically, rather than having to whisk an entire production crew to another country which allows drone usage. In another big savings bonanza, the time needed to set up a shot with drones is considerably less than it would be with any other type of equipment, which is a godsend to independent filmmakers with limited resources. Scenes that used to require 5 to 10 cameras and an entire filming crew, can now be captured with less than 30 minutes of setup time, and only three crew members to pull it off.

Ubiquitous utilization 

As with any new technology, it has taken a little while for drone usage to catch on, but now that it has, it’s seemingly everywhere, both in television and in movie scenes. Because the potential applications for drone videography is virtually limitless, more and more studios are becoming aware of the benefits, and are incorporating them as part of the production process.

The companies which have been formed already to provide high-quality drones to movie and television crews have seen so much demand, that it has been difficult to supply the needed equipment to everyone who requests it. On top of that, these same companies have had their phones ringing off the hooks with people who recognize the coming boom in drone usage, and want to come work for the drone companies.