This ‘$250,000 Drone’ Footage Will Probably Be The Best Video You’ll See All Day

Get ready to leave your jaw on the floor. Brain Farm Cinema, the production company that is one of the global leaders for capturing ultra high quality, pioneering action sports and documentary cinematic digital video, has done something no one else has. They have just released this stunning footage showing what happens when you strap a very expensive high speed cinema camera, to a very expensive drone, and fly around trying not to have a $250,000 mishap. The footage is glorious, and is . 

According to Brain Farm Cinema CEO, Curt Morgan, the idea for what they've managed to achieve has been 5 years in the making. Curt, who started Brain Farm when an injury prevented him from continuing a professional snowboarding career, has broken new ground with this level of sophistication and experimentation. The issue – up until now – has been trying to find a drone capable of lifting the 30lb + payload of the Phantom 4K Flex, the world’s best high speed camera (not to mention a team capable enough to pull the whole thing off).

Image credit Andy Bardon

When Brain Farm partnered with Intuitive Aerial  they came up with the Aerigon, the world’s first drone capable of managing the payload and designed with the job in mind.

Image credit Andy Bardon

What do you do when you cross the world’s most impressive 4K slow motion camera with a drone capable of carrying it? Take it to an off road dirt course and have someone drive a large truck through huge puddles and try not to let it get wet, damaged or run over in the ensuing mayhem, of course.

Image credit Andy Bardon

Image credit Andy Bardon

Image credit Andy Bardon

Impressive as this footage is, this is only the tip of the iceberg. When we see this thing chasing a moving subject and changing altitude and orientation quickly like only a drone can, mixed in with ultra high speed frame rates, we’re going to be reaching the pinnacle of mixing aerial camera work with extreme in-camera slow motion for new cinematic highs. I don't get much excited about gear these days, but the possibilities for seeing the world in dramatic new ways has got me more than just a little excited.

Via Brainfarm Cinema

All image credits: Andy Bardon

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27 Comments

Patrick Hall's picture

Call me crazy but I was kind of disappointed after watching the hyped up section of this video. They simply captured a car spraying water in the mud? Seemed pretty anticlimatic and easily reproduced without the need of a copter. Not trying to be a Debbie downer but goodness, Brain Farm has some SICK stuff and this wasn't necessarily their best.

Kris Singleton's picture

I kind of felt the same - perhaps that could have been done with a crane? Or a *gasp* tripod? (Jokes - I know a tripod would have had approx 10% less movement lol) May not have been able to claim 250k footage though then. No doubt crazy things CAN be done with it though :)

Chris Helton's picture

I felt like this may have been just testing grounds. Saving the real use for Fast'n'Furious 8?

I agree with Chris. I think this is more of a "proof of concept" before they really put something this awesome (and expensive) in real projects. Just a taste of the potential =)

hate to say it but I agree. 5 years to build a drone and take shots that could've been taken with a crane?...

Jan Iveta's picture

Couldn't agree more. All of the shoots seem to be taken from a very low height (6 m/20 ft max. ) Maybe i am wrong, but I think they were a little scared to put it higher in case something fails?

Brad Tomlinson's picture

Well that was a waste of time. Why did I just watch some dudes rally through a puddle?

Patrick Hall's picture

At least someone's dreams of 5 years have finally come true!

David Geffin's picture

haha Patrick :)

I get what you're saying, but i'd probably go low(er) risk too if i was testing this. As a proof of concept though this was hugely exciting (for me at least). By far the most interesting aspect of this project is to now take this and see what they'll do with it. Brain Farm have been pushing the envelope for a good few years, I'm personally very excited about what 'door opening' achievement will bring.

Scott Basile's picture

Looks to me like a test run, and pretty kick ass footage. Serious potential. But Geezus, major sphincter pucker. 250K in the air? Yikes.

Apart from the footage, those relentless Hollywood trailer sting sound cliches are so dreadful & unmotivated...

The application of this "5 years in the making" effort is really just to satisfy a person's dream. Thats it. If you consider film language and the type of shot that an aerial rig would be use to take (which usually a follow/tracking shot and the main object will be kinda small) then the phantom wouldn't really matter because the detail would be too small to create that high speed awe effects. Slow-mo shots are best in ECU or CU or even MCU. The kind of shot he envisioned or as per what he pulled in the clips can be easily reproduced with a gimbal on a cable cam. less unmanageable risks and way much cheaper. There's no need to put the fate of an awesome expensive piece of gear to a young and yet to mature flight controllers and consumer grade GPS puck.

But then again, he might have just did what he did because... he can.. :-P

Anonymous's picture

The only notable thing here is they got the phantom to fly on the drone. The footage is absolutely average and totally uninspiring. A crane would have easily put the camera in exactly the same positions seen here with no risk at all. Another case of technology overshadowing creativity. Really disappointing results. Just a big "So What". Nothing to see here. Move along

Justin Briggs's picture

I'm honestly more excited about spotting a Wyoming license plate. I don't see much attention given to my home state very often haha.

That was SOOO... Fist Pump, to HIGH FIVE! ;)
(come on, was I the ONLY ONE that caught that in the last scene/shot!)

Please do something with all that money that touches the heart or my balls.

I've worked with aerial RC stuff for over 8 years (big RC helicopters, Planes and had-gliders) before it became the "In thing" with drones this is huge!

And the ones who have said "so what" etc..

You are complete muppets if you have ever seen any of Brain Farm's work you will know this is just a proof of concept. Don't tell me you buy or make new kit and then don't test it?
At least they have released it for us all to see. Brain Farm IMO are currently THE best in the business just go an look at their Show Reel. This is proof of concept / test flight ffs

David Geffin's picture

Andy gets it ;)

Yeah - it's what's coming next that's exciting. Been following Brain Farm since That's It That's All came out, around 2009 or so, and seen the growth and exploration of what they're doing with digital (aerial) cinematography. Can't wait to see what they come out with now they've proved it can be done!

I'm trying to be excited but I just don't see it. Maybe if you gave us an example of a shot that could not be done with a crane, helicopter, or CGI. I cannot think of any shot -today- that is worth a $250,000 crash. If you'd said you could get this shot for $1000, Id be impressed. There is probably a better use for a 30lb capacity quad. Like putting out fires or something

Chad it's about the weight, In aerial RC stuff it's ALWAYS about the weight ;-)

They have a drone that can lift the very best high speed cameras (and a very heavy one!)
What they will do with it now as David says is really exciting thing .

You look at an event like RedBull Rampage, or high end film work this will transfer to that type of job very well.

You could not cover Rampage with a half a dozen cranes!

Ok, serious question. Could someone explain to me what they did that couldn't be done with a crane?

Or is this just another "Holy cow, look what we can do with a drone" trends?

Ryan Hargrave's picture

you guys are hilarious. If you can't see that this is the very first testing of a concept AND if you can't imagine what can be done with this rig then I feel bad for you. No where did the creators say anything about this being anything but proof of concept... in fact on the video itself it says "first-ever". If you're going to throw rocks at someone at least throw them at F-stoppers for the terrible misleading headline... not at Brain Farm who have been developing cutting edge film making technology for years.

David Geffin's picture

No rocks this way please, i've already exfoliated for the day ;)

I get why *some* people might not be excited by this footage. In this day and age where most people expect nothing but ever more amazing footage from the latest viral video on their Facebook feed, but those people are missing the possibilities and don't get what Brain Farm can do. That (to me at least) is what makes the thing so exciting. Of course, when you start to get people saying "just put it on a crane" or "wow, look, a car through a puddle" then they're not looking at the possible applications - and are therefore missing out on the excitement shared by others (i'm assuming you included).

This is easily one of the most exciting videos i've personally seen ALL YEAR, but that's based on where i can see this hardware being deployed by some of the best in the business.

Ryan Hargrave's picture

Thats exactly right. While I may not agree with your headline, :) I love seeing these kinds of articles that show how people are innovating with existing technology. Appreciate you writing about it.

David Geffin's picture

Thanks Ryan, always happy to report on the envelope pushers and see where they are helping take things next :)

That's pretty dumb. I would stick with renting regular helicopters until that camera doesn't cost as more than 2 helicopters, especially if you consider how often drones crash. At the same time I would be ok if one of these cameras did a fly-away and landed at my house.

I think it was brilliant to shoot exactly what they did. Let the video go viral and have every truck manufacture drooling over the video, calling up their ad agencies and demanding these guys shoot the next spot.