The James Bond franchise lives on through the decades as a cinephile favorite. Out of these, Sam Mendes’ 2015 rendition stands out for several reasons. It was a labor of love and explored previously uncharted cinematic direction. What makes the film particularly special is the skillful use of drones in the opening scene.
As Bond races through the rooftops of Istanbul, the audience seems to tumble in the air along with him. Before the era of drones, shooting a scene as immersive would have been virtually impossible. The impressive aerial footage sees Bond and the villain make thrilling jumps, twists, and tight turns through the air – every detail captured by the drone. What’s more, the two race on motorbikes at breakneck speed with the drone effortlessly keeping up.
The Expendables 3, 2014
Patrick Hughes’ “The Expendables 3” used at least 30 drone-captured scenes throughout the film. One of the most memorable shots is its opening scene, where our heroes pursue a speeding train on a low-flying chopper. What’s more, there are guns, whizzing bullets, and explosions galore – all of which take place at lightning speeds. They’re exciting but not the easiest to capture on camera. Thanks to drones, the team could fly right next to the chopper and train. They were able to shoot motorcycle jumps, explosions, and tank chases at very low altitudes. Some of the angles captured by the drone have been the most innovative to date.
Jurassic World, 2015
With Colin Trevorrow’s “Jurassic World,” we saw a reimagining of how drones can be used in film. The movie uses a ton of aerial footage, but one scene stands out in its spectacular drone footage. The drone mirrors the flying movement of a pterosaur, swooping down into a crowd of people fleeing from danger. It was an incredible scene that gave the audience a literal birds-eye view – they became the flying dinosaur, seeing the world below through its menacing eyes.
The Greatest Showman, 2017
Michael Gracey’s “The Greatest Showman” wasn’t just a box office favorite but also a tech lover’s dream come true. The movie holds the enviable distinction to feature the first “drone catch” in the history of major motion pictures. What is a drone catch, you ask? It is quite literally catching a drone – handing it from air to hand in a single, solid motion. Far tougher than it sounds, a drone catch requires expert handling. Keeping the camera steady is one of the biggest challenges. Catching the drone expertly was imperative to capturing Hugh Jackman at the center-stage position. The film uses custom-made handles to swiftly carry the drone from the air to a handheld operation.