This is an amazing case study for the perfect utilization of powerful yet accessible filmmaking tools. FPV drone pilot specialist Johnny Schaer (aka Jonny FPV) has shot a commercial for Porsche using a DIY FPV drone flying the new ultra-high-speed compact 4K global shutter camera, the Freefly Wave. That combination has led to unique slow-motion shots. Check them out.
The Wave high-speed camera was developed by a company called Freefly Systems which is an industry leader that specializes in camera movement systems, stabilizers, drones, and rigs for the motion picture industry. To learn more about the Wave, make sure to read our articles (Watch: Super Epic Freefly Wave 4K 422FPS Footage, and Feefly Introduces Wave: A Compact 4K High Speed (420 FPS) Global Shutter Camera). The Wave is considered an “affordable” ultra-high-speed camera. Affordable means, let’s say, under $10,000. Thus, it can be mounted on an FPV (First Point View) drone. The other alternative is using another much more expensive and heavy cinema camera (Phantom for instance). However, it’s too risky to lift a Flex4K by an FPV drone. Freefly says that the Wave is perfect for FPV shooting, in case you are a very experienced FPV pilot, like Jonny Schaer.
FPV drones have been mostly utilized for racing purposes as a small radio-controlled aircraft or quadcopter, equipped with the camera while the pilot wears head-mounted displays (mainly goggles ) showing the live stream camera feed from the drones. Those drones are small and compact to enhance maneuverability capabilities. Conventional FPV drones are equipped with a small camera that has the size of a GoPro. That means FPV drones have not been designed to meet cinema applications due to their low quality regarding imagery. Obviously, conventional FPV drones can’t carry a cinema camera on them. Luckily, the revolution has initiated 2 years ago and got boosted with the help of the ready-to-fly DJI FPV which opened up this niche to the masses. Now, filmmakers have the option for truly cinematic FPV aerial imagery, limited only by flying skills and knowledge. For instance, we wrote a bunch of articles about the RED Komodo being utilized on FPV drones. Make sure to check out this article to explore the potential of cinema FPV applications: Cinema FPV (First Person View): One-Take With the RED Komodo.
For a solid reference, check out the trailer below. It pretty much speaks for itself regarding the potential of an ultra slow-motion high-quality camera mounted on an FPV drone. For those who think that special effects were involved, Jonny emphasizes: “The rocks exploding into the camera are not VFX/CGI”. These are actual real rocks flying and smashing into Wave that captured them epically close to the Porsche. Explore those slow-motion rocks:
The rocks exploding into the camera are not VFX/CGI
The full Porsche project was shot on two identical tracks (on opposite sides of the world). The desert track in Abu Dhabi was built completely from scratch, a perfect 1:1 replica of the one in Finland. Mirroring the two created a really interesting contrast of environments, and gave the ability to seamlessly merge the two locations together in the edit. The goal was to create a piece with 100% seamless transitions. AS stated by Jonny: “On the technical side of things, we wanted to develop drones that could effortlessly carry larger cinema cameras. Losing any essence of true FPV agility and performance would be a big failure. Proud to say this was achieved. We shot the entire film on the RED Komodo and FreeFly Wave camera (with the exception of flying through the window, GoPro). Watch the full commercial:
Here’re the products mentioned in the article, and the links to purchase them from authorized dealers.
- FREEFLY Wave Camera (2TB)
- RED Digital Cinema Komodo 6K
- DJI FPV Drone