Flying a drone indoors is always a challenge. You have to remain absolutely calm and collected, and generally, I highly recommend not flying a drone indoors, especially if you're new to them in general. That's also the warning that Filmmakers Guillaume Juin and Joris Favraud give anyone wanting to recreate this feat. They are a pair of rather brazen drone operators if I've ever seen any, coming together to form their company BigFly. Normally, the risk of flying a drone inside of a structure is already high, but usually, the highest risk is to the safety of your equipment, as the ease with which your drone could come into contact with any number of disastrous endings is increased exponentially.
They didn't just pick any building, though; they flew inside of Saint Louis Church in Paimboeuf, the only Byzantine Church located in the northwest part of France. Equipped with their determination and vision, they set out to produce what would end up being a very striking and beautiful piece of video work, showcasing bits of the church that you wouldn't normally be able to see with just a simple visit. With some added smoke from a smoke machine to create the ambiance, they set out and began filming.
Their equipment as it was used in this video is a Gryphon Redback X8 1200mm Aerial Platform, fitted with a Ronin-M, configured for upside-down mounting to give a clear view above the drone as it flies around, and a Sony a7S II. Guillame, the pilot, controls the platform itself, while his co-pilot, Joris, controls the camera and gimbal. Separation of the control helps maximize efficiency as well as helping to allow the pilot to focus on the movement of the drone and allowing the camera operator to focus on the control of the camera, ultimately allowing the final shots to be much smoother and more dynamic.
This precision teamwork is hard-earned with a lot of hours of operation and practice, and it shows. The video is beautifully shot and edited and is definitely a wonderful example of how the right people with the right tools can produce wonderful pieces of work. Upon asking about their experience while flying the drone inside the church, they commented that the experience was extremely stressful, and that any moment of distraction could have resulted in a crash, damaging both the drone and the church itself. Guillaume stated: "We had room to fly it, but I knew that it could go wrong at anytime. Just two seconds of distraction could lead to catastrophe." From the video they produced, I would say that they definitely were able to complete their flights without incident.
The video from this trip has been received worldwide with much applause, winning second prize in a drone festival in Poland and being selected in five festivals around the world, with more to come, I'm sure. In the future, the team at BigFly will be replacing their existing Ronin-M with something able to hold larger cameras like RED and Alexi Mini cameras. I don't know about you all, but I'm very excited to see what comes next from these two. If you ask them what sets them apart from other similar companies, they say they also produce full video productions from start to finish, but for more information, you'll have to visit their website and also check out their Vimeo for more of their work!
Images used with permission of BigFly.