Flying near very fast moving vehicle

Discussion in 'ALTA' started by alex ryan, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. alex ryan

    alex ryan Member

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    Hi,
    I have a job coming up filming a new racing car, driving at high speed. A few of the shots we are getting will be from a low altitude just above the car as it drives through the frame at high speed.
    I have never flown this close to a fast moving vehicle and just wanted to get some advice.
    If you've done this, did you experience any loss of control because of turbulent air as the vehicle drove past? Is this something I should be concerned about? Do you have any other suggestions or insights?
    Any advice would be appreciated.
    Cheers,
    Alex
     
  2. Mateusz Hajdziony

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    While I haven't been flying that close to the fast moving car, I have been flying next (and low above or behind) a starting plane which has created a lot of wind (prop wash). The X8 had almost no issues with the steady 'wind' blow from the aircraft's props, except issues with keeping the correct heading. The situation might be different when it comes to cars, though, as you will experience a sudden 'hit' of turbulent air instead of steady 'wind'. While multirotors in general do not have issues with steady winds, they may have issues with sudden, hard hits. There are few things that I might suggest:

    1. Use longer focal lengths - you won't have to be that close to the car as it drives past
    2. The car doesn't have to go super fast. Really, it is hard to judge how fast the car is moving from just the footage (especially given the perspective of being above and behind the car) so the car doesn't have to be driving 200kph to achieve the effect of zipping by
    3. You can always speed up the footage in post to achieve the zipping by effect
    4. If the particular shot requires you to be really close to the car you might consider opting for a crane instead, for safety reasons.

    I don't really know how close to the car you are supposed to be so the above suggestions are valid if you are supposed to be something like a meter or so above the car.
     
  3. alex ryan

    alex ryan Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions mateusz. much appreciated.
     
  4. Chris Fanning

    Chris Fanning Member

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    The majority of what I film is cars at highspeed. With most directors you can never get close enough! Lol. You won't have any issues with the aircraft, just make sure your well rehearsed with the drivers of who goes where on what mark. Below is footage I filmed for Range Rover national and fox sports network. They were up to 140mph on the track and up to 70mph off road. Most of these shots were inches off the cars. Ive done a lot of nascar stuff as well without issue. Good luck!

     
  5. alex ryan

    alex ryan Member

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    Awesome. Thanks Chris. Feeling much more confident now.
     
  6. Ben Ruffell

    Ben Ruffell Active Member

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    I do a lot of car work.

    The thing to remember, is that there is a place for the drone. But, it is not for everything.

    On the last car job that I did, there was a day of full size shotover, a day of russian arm, and a day of drone.

    They are all different tools, for different shots and environments. Experienced Directors understand this.

    It pays to make everyone aware of the limitations of the equipment before the shoot, so that there is no disappointment.
     
  7. alex ryan

    alex ryan Member

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    Yep I guess the is why I posted this thread to see if certain shots the director has requested will be achievable safely with drone. And from Chris's comments it seems it is all achievable.
     
  8. Ben Ruffell

    Ben Ruffell Active Member

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    I think we have a different definition of close.

    We film close shots with the russian arm.

    Have a great shoot, stay safe, and please post the results when they are released!
     
  9. Ozkan Erden

    Ozkan Erden Distributor

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    I would echo what Ben says. Drones should be used for its purpose; if not, it becomes useless and dangerous. They will ask you to turn around the car when doing high speed chase. That's simple Russian Arm's field.

    Drones should do cross overs, wide angle tracking, side shots, ninty-degree down shots, revealing shots etc.

    Some examples we have shot so far:



     
  10. alex ryan

    alex ryan Member

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    Thanks for the advice guys, and some nice shots in those commercials. I'll definitely post the results here when it's released. The shoot is still a couple of weeks away so still got time to discuss all this with the director.
     
  11. Walter Brokx

    Walter Brokx New Member

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    Depending on what shape the car is, the aerodynamics can influence the drone at certain distances.
    On most normal cars the biggest 'shock' comes from the 'drag' behind the vehicle.

    I'm no drone pilot, so I can't tell you what distance is safe or not.
    However, I did study aerospace engineering for a few years before deciding to learn the craft of filmmaking, and I can tell you that old trucks will need a larger safety distance than modern family cars. It is in the aerodynamics.
    (Just like flying close to the corners on a large building is more tubulent than with small houses.)
    Reading the different replies I see 1 positive experience with close distances, but also people who prefer to not take risks on it.
    The latter attitude is always the safest.
    However: if you want to fly close, ask Chris more detailed info, because 'inches' is not very specifc. In close proximity 2 or 3 inches difference can mean a very large increase in wind speeds.
     
  12. alex ryan

    alex ryan Member

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    Yeah thanks for that. The cars we will be filming will be a new type of racing car so I assume the drag will be minimal even when compared to a modern family car. And I dont think I will have to be closer than a metre, and I could probably get away with being further away than that if any of you think that will be a problem.
     
  13. Chris Fanning

    Chris Fanning Member

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    At the end of the day you have to do what is safe and not fly beyond your skill set or comfort zone. I personally have been flying r/c for over 25 years and feel very comfortable flying at high speed, very close chasing action, flying Dragons and Alexa's. I only do this on closed sets with precision drivers in very controlled environments. There is the right tool for the job, but drones CAN do more than just high and wide as suggested by others. I'm on the southeast Russian arm team and my cam op is the filmotechnic flight head operator for the Russian arm. Those shots I showed couldn't be gotten with the Russian arm (which was there on set).

    I've filmed more running footage with the Russian arm, flight heads, and drones than probably anyone on this forum. I've shot Indy cars, nascar, nascar trucks, national running footage, etc. All at highspeed, high and wide and very close, on wookongs, a2's, synapse's without any turbulence issues which was the original question.

    Again, do what is safe and within your skill set, but it can be done.
     
    Walter Brokx likes this.
  14. alex ryan

    alex ryan Member

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    So I did this job a couple of days ago. A lot of the shots that I felt I needed advice about we weren't allowed to do anyway (track rules about the use of RPAS)
    It was a pretty epic day, dodging rain and high winds clocking up about 2 and a half hours of flight getting heaps of footage.
    The editor just sent me a few of the shots we did (link below). I'll post the final video when its done. It'll be a super fast turn around, should be up next week I think.
     
  15. alex ryan

    alex ryan Member

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    Here's a rough cut of the project. Please dont share beyond the forum, it hasn't been made public yet.
    Love to hear what you guys think.
    Password: toyota
     
  16. Robbert van Weelderen

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  17. alex ryan

    alex ryan Member

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    Thanks mate. Appreciate the feedback, no matter the brevity.
     

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