A Revival Of Breathtaking Independent Filmmaking Using Retail Camera-Drones

3개월 전

I really do like movies as a device of storytelling and as a vessel for the imagination, putting non-actual events on a big screen. Tales are written, then worked on in a multitude of ways until they are eventually put in front of an audience.

These days CGI plays a huge role in the making of movies. Large teams are tasked with drawing and rendering complex scenes, camera motions and landscapes which are often amazingly detailed and elaborate. But recently in my studies for preparing our camper van for the road I have come across many youtubers who have pushed the envelope a lot farther with comparatively tiny budgets. They have incredible nature shots in their videos, recorded with their own cameras simply using a drone available for retail-buyers, and they record themselves hiking through breathtaking landscapes and sceneries.

And that's the point: The nature shots in these videos look and feel a lot different than even the most complex CGI work coming out of Hollywood - probably because these recordings are real and actual. I can't yet decide why they look so much better but they do. Amazing detail, actual movements of all the little parts in that shot (think seagulls, waves, waving trees etc.) somehow feel more familiar and believable because part in us is still able to recognize actual recordings of Earth and differentiate them from fake artists renderings which were elaborately constructed in a computer-aided environment.

Using a drone to capture breathtaking recordings of the scenery is so much cheaper than hiring a whole team of CGI artists rendering the same thing as an artificial scene. And the quality doesn't even compare, despite how far CGI technology has come in recent decades and years. I am floored!

I think this development will only become more pronounced and it's really glorious for a revival of strong and genuine movies coming from actual people rather than Hollywood studios.

If you are able to travel to beautiful sceneries that can carry your story and are equipped with a drone for filmmaking you can beat entire studios in cost and quality of result by far!

In a way I even see this like the releasing of the printing press in the past - a democratization of production methods and means with unfathomable consequences for the arts. The beautiful thing about it is that storytelling can be achieved with relatively modest means, producing breathtaking shots and nature recordings that move the viewer deeply, as compared to even the most expensive artificial renderings of similar scenes. And the advantage of actual recordings vs. artificial renderings is precisely that an actual moment in time has been recorded with a drone, something that actually happened, rather than something that never happened.

I think the time that Hollywood studios were exclusively able to craft movies with a cinematic character is coming to an end quickly now. Not that Hollywood couldn't use the same drone technology to craft their shots but that it is so much easier for regular people or small DIY teams to catch up to levels of visual effects that seemed unreachable a mere half decade ago.

As much as drones are used for bad intentions in war and surveillance, I think this is a clear benefit of that technology and it will be exciting to see how many heartfelt and masterful movies are made with that technology by people who care about telling a great story; people who do not want to perpetuate the same tired mind-control cliches that always end up in Hollywood movies. Time for a revival of the art of filmmaking! I think it is upon us!


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This is an exciting read and I'm happy to see you write about filmmaking, for a change :>)

Let's be honest, natural things ( in all ways imaginable ) always feel better, especially to those - like you and me - who are focused on getting back to our natural selves ( a movement that hopefully keeps growing in this decade and the decades to come ), after feeling that we've drifted off way too much, draining us like used batteries.

I totally agree with your message here and I am happy with this opportunity for indie / lowbudget filmmakers to create quality content but I don't think Hollywood will pick up on it. Dinosaurs ( aside from hypersensitivosaurus ) usually don't like change.

@eeks @namiks @samstonehill @distantsignal @vachemorte @ashtv what's your opinion on this?


Hey Vince, thanks for sharing your take on this. Yeah maybe our striving for a more natural way of existence is what makes CGI seem clumsy at times. Could be that the industry has gone overboard, using it where natural locations would have worked better...

Maybe my issue with this overuse of CGI lies in that I somehow feel that the actors don't really feel their part as well as they would were they in an actual location. Now I have seen awesome acting (meaning I was totally convinced I was watching an actual recording of a story take place) but most of the times I find I see them replaing their script in words and motions, but the spark is somehow missing. I am neither an actor nor director but I can imagine that having to convincingly play a role without the energetic and atmospheric qualities of the actual location is borderline impossible, except for the very few actors so dedicated on their job that they fully immerse themselves in it - greenscreen or not.

Thanks man <3

Just incredible beauty of the scenery. How beautiful is our planet and its many corners. Thank you for such a beautiful, calm and peaceful video.


I dug it as well, thanks for stopping by dude!

Drone technology, and camera technology, has definitely increased production value across every strata of production. From the most expensive to the cheapest, beautiful imagery is within the grasp of pretty much everyone now.

That said, I know that everyone likes to poo-poo Hollywood - including myself at times and I work here - but there are a couple things that Hollywood will probably always have more of that very few places ever will a little of and that's talent and the ability of that talent to employ capital creatively. Yes, a thing captured in reality has a certain magic to it. I myself prefer to shoot in actual places rather than stages filled with green screens, but all that really matters is the story. If the story works, it doesn't really matter for the audience at large whether it was all created in the computer or captured in-scene.

What the audience remembers is how they felt while watching the film. That requires talent and skill which is very difficult to find and cultivate. When that talent comes together it's beautiful, and when there's enough capital to employ their talents, magic happens.



Thanks for sharing your views on this!
Yeah it's all about story. For me it's also about whether I believe what I see at all. Could be the most far out sci-fi setting but if I find I am rolling my eyes at remarks by a character because it is obviously loaded with clichés of our indoctrination-society today, the best story in the world can't save the film for me.

Like the bad-ass couple in "Deadpool" suddenly being scared by a cancer diagnosis, citing some governmental health agency as some sort of authority on the matter while to me they're clearly an institution to maintain the status quo and withholding lifesaving treatments from patients. It's such an impertinence to even attempt, especially considering the story. It's also a pity to have the movie ruined by government indoctrination cliches like that and I find the more films I watched the less patience and understanding I have for this sort of blunder.

Speaking purely from the set-side of films I did see awesome CGI scenes in movies that really made me feel something, like you said - even when the story could have been more original. The propaganda film Pearl Harbor comes to mind, with the japanese planes flying through the green valleys - stunning!

However, when I do watch these youtubers capture shorelines or waving trees there is something about it I don't seem to get when watching CGI - like a nuance I can't quite pin down. It's similar to watching the most advanced gaming worlds rendered and despite their incredibly detailed and elaborate look they still do not register as "real" in the player. Maybe it's the motions within the shot or the way it is rendered but Iif I were a director I would probably approach it like you have stated, preferring actual locations over cgi whenever it works to satisfactory degree.

Let the magic happen! As far as I am concerned we desperately need some fresh movies with story and a mighty wow-effect on the viewer. Preferrably one not tainted by social dogmas of our age, but that's just me.

All the best to ya, and thanks again for dropping by.