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Behind the scenes – Vancouver Aerial Footage

Behind the scenes – Vancouver Aerial Footage
January 12, 2015 ghung
Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur

Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur originally from Vancouver, Canada and based in Taipei Taiwan

I returned to Vancouver for the first time since relocating to Asia in almost 2 years. Since that time I purchased my drone and had acquired at least over 100 flights of experience flying mostly in Australia in Taiwan. This was my first opportunity to film aerial footage in Vancouver. It was December 2015 and it was pretty cold (0-5 degrees Celsius). I was staying at my friends apartment in Yaletown, which was a good location to base myself for many of the areas I wanted to film. In this write-up I’m going to share my plan of how I produced this Vancouver aerial footage video.

Plan

My original plan was to get aerial footage of Granville Island, Science World, and some footage of Stanley Park and the mountains. The main purpose of getting the footage was to license it out as stock footage so I wanted usable footage that could be used by other businesses for commercials or establishing shots. During this time of year the weather is mostly grey, cold, and wet. This mean I had to take advantage of any times we had good weather with sunshine. Usually just after sunrise or before sunset were the best times for light.

Once I got to Vancouver I got a better feel for the city and expanded the plan to include the following locations.

  • Granville Island
  • Science World
  • BC Place
  • Canada Convention Center Orca
  • Mountains with snow on them
  • David Lam Park
  • George Wainborn Park
  • Coal Harbour
  • Yaletown

Setup and Gear used

Vancouver aerial footage

Gear I used for this shoot

  • DJI Phantom 1 with Tarot 2d gimbal upgrade
  • Go Pro Hero 3 (1080p 60fps, Pro tune, Wideview)
  • Carbon Fiber propellors

Execution

I only had 1 battery with me, which mean I had a limitation of 5 minutes flight time. On my first flight I realized that there was a major issue. After going through the flight check-list and getting ready for take-off I was getting solid red fast flashing lights. After doing some research I came some information that this was due to the cold weather or it could be a battery issue. I contacted a local Vancouver company for a quote on a battery, but they didn’t sell my model anymore. I couldn’t waste this opportunity so my first few flights I took it for a flight when there wasn’t that many people around in an open space. George Wainborn and David Lam park were good locations for this purpose. To my surprise despite the flashing red lights the drone flew well, it just didn’t have the usual power to get really high up in the air. The drone battery would take about 1.5 hours to charge so I had to use my flight time well on nice days and try to get as many flight in as I could.  I  flew very conservatively  flying close to me and not too far over the water. I always made sure I wasn’t close to any buildings, cars, or people. As I got more comfortable flying the drone with these red lights I began to fly it at other locations along the North False creek seawall. I didn’t have a car so I had to be creative and resourceful. The aquabus to Olympic village had a great location for filming Science world, BC Place, and mountains all in one shot. I had an idea to fly through Yaletown on Christmas day as most stores were closed with few people. this flight was tricky because of the telephone poles and close proximity to the buildings. There were still some cars, but I was careful and I was happy with the results.

I’m really happy with the results given the limitations and circumstances I had to fly in Vancouver. I was blessed with some rare sunny days and I took full advantage.

Editing

I don’t enjoy going through GoPro footage even with 5 minute flights because it takes time to sort through the usable footage. Fortunately, most of it was usable and some of the footage I used Final cut Pro X stabilization. I experimented a bit with trying to achieve a speed ramp technique similar to the action scenes in “300 the movie”. I did this by cut a small segment of a scene and speeding it up to 8x before returning to normal speed. As a final touch I added some extra saturation and then added a “letterbox” effect for the wide screen look.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please comment or provide any feedback.

Vancouver aerial footage

The timeline for the Vancouver aerial video. The highlighted clip I sped up 8x to achieve a speed ramp effect.


If you would like to learn more about filming footage in the air, ocean, or creative techniques like on a surfboard you can check out my course.
Unleashing your video creativity using Gopro cameras

I was interesting that the Gopro was allowing people to make awesome videos in the water, extreme sports, and even in the air. However, not many people were teaching people how to do it. I was fortunate to get my drone early and develop my skills and experience early. I put this course together to give you my secrets on filming in the water, car, and in the air.

Unleashing your video creativity using Gopro cameras

Vancouver aerial footage

Learn how to fly and film the drone

I was interesting that the Gopro was allowing people to make awesome videos in the water, extreme sports, and even in the air. However, not many people were teaching people how to do it. I was fortunate to get my drone early and develop my skills and experience early. I put this course together to give you my secrets on filming in the water, car, and in the air.

Free Stock Footage

Langkawi-aerial

Sample our Diverse Stock Footage Collection by Signing up for Free Video Clips each week from our Collection from Thailand to South Africa

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