I don’t know if it’s the The Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony or the slow twisting motion of the quadcopter’s descent, but I really love this first scene from Viktor Mirzoyan’s aerial video over a beige Washington DC.
It made me think of how quickly everything is changing. A shot like this was unthinkable just a few months ago unless you had a huge budget at your disposal. Now you only need a cheap drone and a HD digital camera to make it.
It’s only a matter of time. Technology has always democratized art. Take painting: What once belonged to selected high priests became accessible to everyone with the industrial revolution, as oil painting started to be mass produced at the end of the 19th century. There was a supernova of new artists outside academia. People who never had access to materials could now buy them at a cheap price, ready to use, and so the art revolution of the 19th and 20th centuries began, starting with impressionism, expressionism, and cubism. The same happened later in other fields until we got to the electronic revolution. It affected everything, including movies and TV, thanks to first analogue video and then high quality digital video — which came along with cheap digital distribution available for everyone.
These quadcopters are perhaps the final piece in the democratization of film creation. Soon we will see people using these cheap flying machines at all times, not only for this type of unique sequences. Instead of expensive dollies, cranes, and even steady cam rigs, directors will use drones that float around the scene, fixed on one point, shooting from multiple angles, moving, framing shots exactly as they want them, either using an operator or a pre-flight path. Or even with built-in AI capable of following their commands. They only need to get a tiny bit more powerful, autonomous, and smart. And a bit cheaper too.
Lots of crap will be produced, of course. But lots of awesome things will be made too. The important thing is that everyone will be able to realise their vision for very few dollars.