We all know how camera drones (opens in new tab) can be a useful tool to take professional aerial photography and cinematics that can really change the look and feel of your images or your next film however, have you ever thought of shooting a whole shoot entirely on drones?
Well, the Flow team have done just that and made an epic freeride ski video just by using drones, how did they do it, let's find out!
In the Northern Hemisphere, winter is synonymous with snow and skiing, and every year, skiers cannot wait to get onto the slopes, enjoy the fresh air and take pleasure in looking at the beautiful vistas around them. The COVID-19 pandemic changed all this. In the winter of 2020/21, many ski resorts were closed to the general public, and the slopes remained untouched.
However, challenges can also turn into opportunities. Here is an example of a creative team that produced a unique film shot in immaculate new snow during lockdown with the help of DJI drones and accessories
Sam Favret is possibly one of the best freeride skiers on the international scene. Sam has his own style and way of approaching lines,. He is a skier who reflects his action as much through performance as through the images that show what he is doing.
Maxime Moulin has been fascinated by extreme sports movies for a long time, and he works with amazing athletes and technicians who have become essential in making his films. “Ski films are my specialty, my laboratory,” says Maxime.
“I like the raw side of the action, the fact that we don't cheat, we have to tell the truth, we see athletes who cannot pretend but simply have to perform.”
Hensli Sage fell in love with drones when DJI Phantoms became mainstream. He trained in extremely challenging situations and takes pride in shooting the environment around him to maximum cinematic effect. “I got into drones in 2014 without any prior experience of making videos,” says Hensli.
“I was blown away by the opportunities offered by drones; aerial photography became accessible to everyone. We were starting to see aerial images from everywhere, the revolution was on.”
Flow is made from 100% drone footage, and the team alternated between FPV drones, DJI Inspire 2 with Zenmuse X7 camera, and a DJI Mavic 2 Pro to get the best possible results. Hensli’s FPV drones also integrated the DJI Digital FPV System. “This digital HD system provides unparalleled quality feedback,” says Hensli. “Being able to see the environment in which you are operating is essential to feeling confident and to being able to fly at high speed close to the ground.”
Behind the scenes video
Maxime Moulin describes it: “Filming with a ground camera, we can communicate directly and visually. When filming with a drone, the distance requires having a detailed discussion before the shoot and to liaise with a radio or phone during the action to adjust the shots.” First, Hensli did a reconnaissance flight, and then the team planned the shot. Once up and ready to ski, Sam called Maxime and Hensli on the radio, they checked again and agreed on the best ways to ski and fly together.
In the end, the team's resilient spirit, skills, inspiration, and effort paid off as Flow was awarded the best international short ski film of the 2021 High Five Ski Film Festival in Annecy, France.
It really is astonishing how good technology and drones in particular have developed over the years and how would you think that you would shoot an entire extreme action sports feature purely on drones, without making it feel that you're always “in the air”.
If you are interested in learning more about how Flow was made you can watch the full 16-minute (opens in new tab)documentary (opens in new tab), which gives great insight into the whole production process.