Filming Aerials on the Isle of Wight

Posted on March 20th, 2014 in Behind the Scenes.

Another fantastic job for the America’s Cup official film. This time spending three days driving around the Isle of Wight filming 4K on the Red Epic. Oh and we had a go at the latest craze: filming aerials with a drone.

The Isle of Wight is a small island nestled on the south coast of England just below Southampton and Portsmouth. It’s a haven for sailing and was the birthplace of the America’s Cup back in 1851. Producer Greg Atkins and Cameraman Adam Docker spent the first two days driving around the island filming stock shots around the town of Cowes and around the Needles, which are an ancient rock formation protruding from the sea on the south-west corner of the island.

A miserable cold and wet winter had finally decided to give us a respite after the damage it had recently caused around the UK. Severe floods, damaged coastlines and new land formations had wreaked havoc on the coastal towns on the south coast of England and people were still trying to find their feet and get back to some sort of normality. The towns on the island were quiet and the harbours were empty. It was a peaceful shoot, no traffic to get stuck behind on the single lane country roads. Plenty of time to take in the scenery.

There was a strange weather front which caused the north of the island to be shrouded in grey clouds, whereas the south was clear and sunny, reminiscent of an early spring. We weren’t expecting magnificent sunsets, but the scenery was quite stunning. All of which made great filming on the Epic, particularly in 4K.

On the third day we were joined by the guys from the Flying Camera Company, who brought along their octocopter for the really exciting part of the shoot, the aerials. In pre-production we had contemplated shooting these with a helicopter but we opted for a drone as we really wanted to get in close, we wanted the intimacy that it offers.

To reduce the weight of the drone, we stripped the Red Epic to its bare essentials: the body and a 24mm lens. We also screwed on a variable ND on the front of the lens to give myself some more stops to play with. The drone was equipped with a MOVi gimbal which keeps the camera stable in flight. We also filmed it in 5K which would allow the editor room to zoom into the picture should he need to stabilise any shots in post.

Most of the filming was done flying the drone over the sea and to say that was nerve racking is an understatement! Flying around the Needles, the pilot had to watch out for severe wind shears and the seagulls. We were so relieved when our drone returned back to the ground unscathed and the shots were stunning!

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