I have been a little busy of the last few weeks and haven't had much of a chance to work on and publish a few blog posts. I have been busy shooting, editing and talking to potential clients. However, on of the more interesting and unique shoots happened this past weekend, I had the chance to help a friend out and film his brothers proposal. This isn’t normally something I film but when he shared the location I just couldn’t resist. His brother was going to propose in the middle of the Capilano Suspension Bridge. This bridge hangs 230 feet above the Capilano River - this make for some phenomenal drone footage. I’ve been spending a lot of time practicing with the DJI Phantom 3 and was just itching to try a shoot where I would only have one chance to get a specific shot. We arrived at the Capilano Suspension Bridge about an hour before his brother was set to propose. I calibrated the DJI Phantom 3, did a quick test flight, up and down, to make sure that I was able to connect to the satellites (extremely important!) to ensure everything was in working order. I didn’t risk taking the Phantom out over the canyon as it was a bit windy and it seemed like an unnecessary risk. I also setup my Canon 5DM3 with the 70-200mm 2.8 with my spousal unit. She was at the end of the bridge and would snap photos of the bride-to-be’s reaction. I would then take photos and video from the air. I was a little concerned about flying as the wind kept picking up and then dying down again.
Once the couple arrived, one brothers gave me the signal that the couple was about to walk down the bridge. This time was needed for me to get the drone into the air and fly towards the bridge. We were positioned a little bit down from the bridge on a lookout point. I was able to see the bridge, but in order to get to the bridge with the Phantom I would have to fly under some trees and above a railing. It was a little tricky. Once into the valley we somehow managed perfect timing. Just as I was flying towards the bridge the couple started walking down the bridge to the center. I continued to fly towards the bridge and stopped about 40 feet away from them. I didn’t want to be to distracting, hovering a drone over them as they shared this special moment. Once he stood up I moved in to get a closer shot. The couple waved at the drone and smiled. During this time the wind picked up and I noticed the drone was being blown to the other side of the canyon where there were lots of tall trees. Thankfully I could see the drone from the viewpoint and was able to move it back up and into the center of the canyon where there seemed to be less wind. I always try to keep the Phantom within sight when filming.Once up to a safe height I began to crane up and tilt the camera down and keep the bridge as the focal point of the shot. I have been practicing this move and was happy I was able to pull it off during the shoot. Once I reached the tree height I stopped and the happy couple walked across bridge to meet his family that was watching and waiting from the other side.
I then brought the drone down to the height of the viewpoint and began to fly underneath the trees and land it on the viewpoint. Unfortunately there was a crowd of about 20 people watching the proposal and the drone. I had to have one of the brothers clear the people out of the way so that I could land safely.
All in all the shoot went well and I was happy with how I was able to use the Phantom 3 in a real world event where I would only have one take at a specific shoot. A lot of what I do is in the documentary genre. It’s crucial to execute a shot in one take.
I will hopefully post the clip here shortly. Until then, here are a few clips from my drone tests flights.