THE EVOLVING DRONE CAPTURE MARKET


Bjorn Olin TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
Issue 110 - February 2016

Although the use of drones to capture content for film and television productions may still seem new to some, Helifilm.com began using drones for photography way back in 2008. Today, we're the premier supplier of aerial footage in Scandinavia, offering services to national and international film teams and providing access to our extensive image bank of Scandinavian content. We provide material for the region's premier broadcasts, such as Nobel Prize festivities and royal events. We also provide Scandinavian images for feature films and commercials around the world.

The drone production market is young and full of companies looking to get in on the action. In this environment, our focus on the quality of our final product allows us to stand out from the crowd. Quality is the central reason we began to use Video Devices' PIX-E5 recording monitor. The PIX-E5 is slightly smaller and lighter than the main competitor's offering, and this has proven to be helpful as our drone setup has evolved. We have tried two basic mounting options for drones. One has the entire kit (camera, video transmitter, PIX-E5) on the gimbal. The second design has only the camera on the gimbal. Both setups have their pros and cons, but we have decided on the latter approach despite the camera's cable feed slightly limiting its rotation.

The reason we wanted a recorder on the drone in the first place was to improve quality. The Apple® ProRes 422 HQ capture that we get from the PIX-E5 is superior to the internal codecs on the cameras we use. This is important as our clips are often used in high-end productions where the availability of quality files for colorists and editors is crucial.

The value of picture quality cannot be understated, and the PIX-E5 has proved invaluable on this score. The 2015 Nobel Prize festivities provide an interesting example of how the PIX-E5 has made our productions better.

The Nobel Prize festivities are held in Stockholm on a midwinter evening. At this time of year in Sweden, the sun sets before 3 p.m. This required a low light camera with full frame optics that did not weigh much. The Sony a7S is exactly that camera, but the internal codec did not deliver the quality we needed. However, when used together with the PIX-E5 we were able to achieve a 4K recording system with a great codec€”a royal deluxe system for drones! We received great reviews from a very happy customer; the footage was outstanding.

Ruggedness also matters in any field production, but particularly when the equipment will be subject to the vagaries of a flight out in the elements. This includes the inherent need for gentle take-offs and landings in any shoot. The PIX-E5 is very solid to me, it feels like an old Volvo 240 in terms of solidness and general toughness. This surely has helped us trust the PIX-E5 in situations where we only have one chance to capture an event.

What do we like about the PIX-E5 in terms of its actual operation? First, it's very easy and not expensive to get material from the drone to a computer using its SpeedDrive removable media. At first glance, the SpeedDrive looks like a standard USB 3.0 thumb drive, yet the SpeedDrive's chassis can house an mSATA drive, which is capable of storage up to 1 TB. When connected to the rear of the PIX-E, the SpeedDrive's USB 3.0 interface automatically switches to a SATA interface, which is well-suited to record continuous, high-data-rate 4K video. The added advantage of the SpeedDrive is that no special card reader or docking station is needed; I can simply unplug it from the back of the PIX-E5 and plug it into any USB computer port to quickly and easily transfer data.

Also, the monitor is very good, and is quite bright. We use the PIX-E5 as a monitor or a recorder/monitor on handheld gimbals, and for setting the focus on the drone cameras. For focusing we really appreciate the TapZoom feature.

In general, our team has found it easy to operate with a great user interface; knobs and buttons are well-placed, and the touchscreen is of superior quality. Operation is intuitive, and the software is really well thought out. Our experience with the PIX-E5 tells us that Video Devices' quality ambitions match our requirements. We have used a few other recording monitors over the years, but these products cannot match the PIX-E5 in terms of size, weight, build quality, usability, and file transfer.


Tags: iss110 | videodevices | drones | apple prores | pix-e5 | pix-e5h | sony a7s | Bjorn Olin
Contributing Author Bjorn Olin

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • BeyondHD - Drones at BVE 2015

    BeyondHD - Drones at BVE 2015

  • Tour Seminar - Everything you need to know about drones...

    Tour Seminar - Everything you need to know about drones...

  • Video Devices PIX-E at IBC 2016

    Video Devices PIX-E at IBC 2016

  • Filming kit review from NAB

    Filming kit review from NAB


Articles
Digital Video Tech Innovation - The Game Changer for Live Sports
Lorna Garrett Since the first live television sports event in 1936, when the Olympics was broadcast from Berlin, the sports industry has been an early adopter of the latest technology. The goal continues to be to deliver compelling content around the globe, now to multiple viewing platforms. It’s become a must-have that’s embedded in fan expectations and broadcasters’ marketing strategies.
Tags: iss137 | garland | gpl | liveU | sports | lu600 | hevc | lu300-hevc | Lorna Garrett
Contributing Author Lorna Garrett Click to read or download PDF
Behind the Scenes of Wild rose
KitPlus Financed by BFI Film Fund, Wild Rose tells the story of a musician from Glasgow who dreams of becoming a Nashville star. The only thing in the way: her own penchant for crime and violence.
Tags: iss137 | blackmagic design | davinci | ursa mini pro | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
What is the JT-NM Tested Program
Bruce Devlin - new The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show 2019 has come and gone with the usual onslaught of product announcements, launch parties, demonstrations and the usual high-density crowds preventing any high-speed movement between halls. The IP showcase, this year, featured a JT-NM tested program. If you're unfamiliar with the JT-NM, then it's worth checking out their website jt-nm.org where you can find out about the work being done to coordinate the different aspects of building an inter-working ST 2110 eco-system. The JT-NM tested program catalogue can be downloaded from the website and it highlights a series of tests that were performed prior to NAB on various products to see how they performed against the written standards upon which the ST 2110 eco system is based.
Tags: iss137 | st2110 | class | jt-nm | nab | ieee | secuirty | amwa | Bruce Devlin - new
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin - new Click to read or download PDF
Preparing for the holiday peak
Jamie Adkin The summer holiday getaway of 2018 hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. A UK airport's non-functional departure boards left travellers unable to find their flights. Meanwhile, an airline cancelled over 2,000 flights due to a computer glitch. One European city closed its airspace entirely.
Tags: iss137 | adder | kvm | server | Jamie Adkin
Contributing Author Jamie Adkin Click to read or download PDF
Cinegy Channel Playout
David Wright Canis Television & Media is a UK-based specialist broadcast services company, providing its clients as a one-stop shop for everything from production facilities to asset valuations to traffic control. In response to growing demand from its clients, Canis identified a need for channel playout facilities.
Tags: iss137 | cinegy | canis media | David Wright
Contributing Author David Wright Click to read or download PDF