How To Work on a Film Set as a Pro Drone Pilot
What’s up Jonas B here and today we’re gonna talk about what it’s like to be a professional drone pilot on a professional film or television set. It’s, a real thing, and some people haven’t done it yet and still want to so.
I’m gonna tell you guys a little bit about what to expect when you show up to set and how to maneuver and get things done. So let’s jump into it. This is already assuming that you’ve, already done all the permitting process which we have videos on.
You already got your call sheet, which is telling you when and where to show up very simple, straightforward and then you are arriving on set. Now there’s, a couple different ways that it can work, but I’m gonna give you guys the most typical way that this happens.
Normally the person who hires you is probably going to be the producer or the director of photography that’s, the main person in charge of the cameras. That is probably your main contact. So when you arrive to set normally, you want to go, find that producer and say hey.
I am here: where can I set up and they will give you instructions? Hopefully, if they have their stuff together, they’ll, give you instructions of where they want you to go, and also a little bit clearer picture of what it is.
They want you to do, and normally that will lead you directly to talking to the director of photography fo that’s, not the person you’re talking to the first assistant director or the director him his or her self, and that Is really important because they’re, going to give you the creative as well as possibly the schedule now, let me give you a little bit about the role of each one of those.
The director photography is a person who’s in charge of the look of what you’re doing. So when it’s time to set up your camera and say let’s. How do I get these camera settings right? Which frame wait? Are we shooting in what color space like what’s, the color temperature? All of that kind of stuff you’re gonna be talking to the director photographer.
They’re gonna, be the one that says set your camera up like this. I don’t want you to shoot it in log. I want you shoot in log. They’re gonna give you all the specifications. Just make sure you watch some of the videos I’ve done before about what ways you can set up the camera and understand a little bit more about the camera, so you can have an informed discussion and salic.
You know what you’re talking about, because obviously you’re there to perform camera work, and you’re gonna be talking to a camera person. Now the director, everybody knows what a director is, but on set.
You may never have interacted with the director before now. Directors role is to pretty much make the decisions on a set, so the director of photography can say hey. I want it to be in these settings and this and this and this and you’re gonna make sure that you’re.
Getting this the directors gonna say, but I wanted to feel like that and then that might change the way the DP wants to do it, or I want you to frame this out or frame this in. I want you to follow this person or follow that car.
They’re gonna, be the one that’s, giving you the creative and sometimes that’s a little tough because they can give you conflicting things and it’s really hard. So it’s, really important that you work on your communication and ask plenty of questions plenty of questions and the producer is a person who puts the whole entire shoot together.
So they’re, the ones who normally hire everybody, the other ones, all where’s, the bathroom, where’s, the water? You know all those kind of things the producer is normally the glue of production. They normally know who you need talk to whenever you need something, and the last person was the first assistant director.
The first assistant director sounds like the person that’s, going to file around the director and just a system, but in reality the first ad is the person that’s. Actually like the king of the set they’re.
The one that’s actually running everything. They’re, keeping the schedule they’re, the one telling ever like the lights when they need to move the ones are gonna yell at you and tell you time for you to fly.
They’re, the one that’s in charge of safety on set, and they are probably my favorite person to talk to is the ad because they’re. Normally the most realistic personal onset of what the expectations can be for what you are going to do, because the director might say okay, I want you to fly down through that daffodil field, a field of daffodils, and I want you to spin around and do all This kind of stuff and then but we’re gonna get that after you do all these other kind of things and then the ad might walk over and say: okay, so that’s, your own shot! It’s, not gonna happen.
Let the director think it, but what’s really gonna happen? Is we’re gonna have about five minutes? What do you think we can do and you’re like oh? Well, I think we could you tell them. I think we could do this and that’s, alright cool! I’m gonna talk to the director about it, and then we’ll, probably find somewhere in the middle, just be ready in about 10 minutes to go, and so just do whatever.
The ad tells you to do, and you’ll be solid. One thing you have to realize is that you are your own Department on set and no you shouldn’t have an ego about this at all, but that means that nobody can tell you what is safe and was not safe, except for yourself.
Well, aha, they get back. There is one person that can tell you that that is the FS. Oh hmm. What is that an FSO is a person that is the fire safety officer or sometimes two FS, a fire safety adviser.
I did a whole video separately on who that is why they’re important on set and what you need to know about them. But in this instance I’ll, just say that they’re. The person that’s responsible for the drone, the only reason that there is because of you normally, unless there’s, some kind of pyrotechnics going on, then the only reason that FS always going to be there is to be able to Watch you and make sure you’re in compliance of all the FAA rules.
Normally they’re well informed on what those rules and laws are. So for me. Every time I’m, having a conversation with a director of the DP or whoever about what we’re supposed to be doing, I always try to drag the FSO into the conversation.
So I don ‘ T have to be the bad guy and say: no, we can’t. Do that because it’s unsafe. Normally the FSL will do it, and sometimes you don’t even realize something’s unsafe until after they tell you it, you go and discuss with the FS, so you’re, not going to do anything at the FS.
I’ll shut you down; they can completely shut you down before anyone else can. So I always make sure that whenever I’m about to fly, I always make it FS. Oh very aware of every single thing I’m going to do.
I also make everyone on set very aware of that and have your team call out things before they happen, so it’s time for the drone to fly so drones. Going up, everybody repeats drones going up, which means everybody knows that one other thing you’ll have to know is that the ad, like I told you before, is the person in charge of safety.
Normally, the assistant director is going to ask you to give a brief presentation on safety for the drone if they are not well versed in drone themselves and if you haven’t made a brief presentation on drone before it’s.
Really simple, I mean, let me just break it down for you. All. You really have to say is hey guys when I’m flying the drone stay away from my landing and takeoff areas. If I give you instructions of where to stand where to be, please listen about obey by that, because it is for your safety.
A drone is a very dangerous thing when it is getting out of the control out of control. I want everyone to stay safe. We should have a lot of fun here guys, but please please, please pay attention when we tell you drones, going up, keep your eyes on a sweep your head on a swivel, and we’re gonna have a good day something along those lines.
Like or if you’re flying over water, hey guys, if the drone goes in the water, nobody needs to go in the drink after it. It’s dead anyway. So just don’t, please no one jump overboard and try to go. Get the drone.
It’s, pretty much! You’re, just giving them the safety protocols that you already know about as a drone pilot so that they’re aware they’re more comfortable and there’s a there’s. They know what to do in case of emergency.
Super simple, simple, super straightforward and everybody wins so generally. The attitude that you want to bring to set is something along the lines of. I will happily help you guys in any way that I can as long as it doesn’t impede upon anyone’s safety, because the every single time you’re on set.
I almost will bet you money. You’re, going to be asked to do something that compromises. What you believe is safe and it’s. Not the best answers, never know. The best answer is how about this. Instead, you know, is you want to be able to offer the director normally the person off asking for you to do those ridiculous things that you shouldn’t be doing in the first place you want instead of saying no, I can’T do that you want to offer them alternatives, because you want to be the person that makes things happen for them, because you want to come back and work with them again, because this is a job and you are now a freelancer or working on a TV Show for a long period of time, so it’s, really important that you do that.
You offer explanations, you offer reasons for why you’re, saying no or why we should change stuff and you should be a good team player and everything should go. Fine, alright guys. Thank you so much for checking out this video about how it works.
As a pro drone pilot on a movie TV or film set, if you want to see more things about being a drone pilot, we got up or if you want to see the greatest drone video, that’s ever entered into the atmosphere of YouTube To describe a drone channel, it’s right there, as always make sure you guys go ahead and subscribe hit that notifications button.
So you know when we drop in this hot fire and make sure you stay fly.