Film Stories December 23, 2020

The internet’s an amazing place. Just around the corner from that latest cat video are some gems just waiting to be discovered. We particularly like it when we come across useful pieces of software that some kind soul has posted for the good of us all — and without a price tag. That’s where we’re headed today, so come along.

When it comes to free software, you’re relying on continuous support and upgrades, courtesy of a network of volunteers who believe in the product. Finds like that are truly a score, and we like to share news of them when we can. So it’s in that spirit that this post will alert some of you to a great piece of video software made with drone users in mind. Enter: VSDC Video Editor.

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Film Stories August 7, 2020

Some drone footage has emerged from Beirut. It provides a glimpse of the pervasive devastation caused by the explosion earlier this week.

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Film Stories May 5, 2019

As a hobbyist (and occasional professional) drone pilot, I have often wondered what Hollywood filmmakers are flying with. This information is often kept under wraps, as many pilots are not allowed to discuss what films they work on or what equipment they use. We found one drone operator at AUVSI 2019 that was more than willing to share. Some of the cameras they use are surprising, and the drones that lift those cameras are some of the biggest in the business.

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Film Stories May 3, 2019

At AUVSI’s XPonential 2019, I was lucky enough to stumble into a presentation called “Drones in Hollywood.” It is generally a pretty good assumption that a conference session will disappoint and not live up to its title. This presentation was an exception. Rather than provide a dry lecture devoid of details, the presenter, Aaron Corera of XM2 Cine, told us all about the drones and cameras used on Hollywood sets. He also revealed that it was their company that was contracted to film Star Wars Episode 9 in which they used this XM2 drone.

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Film Stories March 8, 2019

Last weekend, I finally got to watch Free Solo about Alex Honnold climbing El Cap without any ropes, harness or other protective equipment. In the Oscar-winning documentary, there are a number or amazing aerial shots (especially towards the end). I immediately wondered if they might have used a drone to get those shots. Later in the film, you even see a remote controller for a drone together with other equipment. And, in the credits, drone operator Nick Wolcott is mentioned. Did Jimmy Chin’s film crew indeed use a drone in Yosemite’s National Park? Were they able, perhaps with the help of National Geographic, to get permission to fly a drone and use it document Alex Honnold’s ascent of El Cap? As you probably know, flying drones in any of the National Parks in the U.S. is not allowed. Out of curiosity, I researched the documentary a bit to see what I could find out.

Btw – if you haven’t seen Free Solo yet, I can highly recommend it. To watch Alex climb El Cap is both nerve-wracking and unbelievable at the same time. Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and their crew did an amazing job documenting Alex’s journey to the top of El Cap.

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Film Stories February 13, 2018

The footage is simply amazing. Robert McIntosh shot this short film ‘Muscle-Up’ all in one take with the “world’s smallest HD drone.” His video recently made the news again when it was announced that this short film won in two categories, ‘Made in LA’ and ‘Best in Show’, at the Los Angeles Drone Film Festival in December. According to a friend McIntosh received a $23,000 drone for the prize.

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