The rise of Drones – Afghanistan to Hollywood

What is a Drone?

AKA Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Drones are in effect a flying robot. They are aircraft that do not have humans on-board. Instead the UAV is remote controlled with the pilots’ feet firmly planted on the ground. This brings many advantages and applications:

  1. Cost – Drones are usually more cost effective than alternatives such as helicopters and airplanes.
  2. Safety – The pilot can keep a safe distance from wherever the aircraft is needed and “look in” via cameras and sensors on the drone.
  3. Manoeuvrability – Smaller and without the need for a pilot or runway, UAVs can be more manoeuvrable.

Early Days of the Drone

Just like the realms of science fiction drones are used in Military applications. UAVs are used in real wars to save (and take) lives. They are often used when the mission is too “dull, dirty or dangerous” for manned aircraft.

Attack Drones

The state of the art Predator UAV is equipped with air-to-surface Hellfire missiles usually fitted to the Apache gunship. This machine has been used to great effect in war theatres across Afghanistan and Iraq.

Surveillance Drones

Watch keeper is an Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance drone used by the British Army and designed by Thales. It is fitted with electro-optical, infrared and radar sensors to gather vial information on the whereabouts of potential threats and friendly forces. It can also provide target acquisition enabling a remote weapon asset to fire.

Civilian Use

Usage of drones has also migrated over to civilian use. They are used for Science research, Policing, Oil / Gas exploration and disaster relief / medical assistance.

Drones in Filming

Drones are already beginning to revolutionise the way we record and produce film. It opens up a whole new dimension of techniques that can be used.

More reach and range than a crane and more nimble than a helicopter. It gives the producer the advantage of being able to get much closer to the action.

Sports Filming with Drones

Sports filming with its fast paced, shots and subjects that can cover large distances is an obvious choice for the application of Drones. A Drone pilot can get up close to the athletes and take overhead action shots without hindering the event. Something that would have previously only been possible with a helicopter, a crew, long range camera and a whole load of paperwork.


Along with helicopters and cable cameras, Drones were used to great effect in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Extreme Sports

Extreme Sports also lends itself well to drone footage “subject tracking” that automatically follows the subject around the course.

Here are some examples:

Nature Programs

Yes, whale watching and safari programs have also utilised Drones. Rudimentary, disguised cameras have already been used but are of course, stuck there when the animals move on. Aerial footage drones can be used to watch wildlife in their natural habitat. Thanks to the relatively quiet operation they can get up close and personal without upsetting them too much.

Unusual Shots

Drones are not necessarily just a compromise for convenience and cost. They open interesting methods of “immersive shots” like at this Fireworks display:


Recently the Federal Aviation Administration granted applications for several film companies to fly drones after receiving pressure from the Motion Picture Associations of America.

Hollywood has been a pioneer with some awesome drone footage featuring in Blockbusters.

  1. Expendables –
  2. Skyfall –
  3. The Dark Knight –
  4. The Hunger Games –
  5. Star Trek: Into the Darkness –
  6. Others:
    1. Ironman
    2. Game of Thrones
    3. Transformers

Drone Filming for Business & Marketing

Drone Filmmaking is no longer exclusive to Hollywood blockbusters and the Olympics. Aspect Film & Video are one of the first UK based agencies equipped with this ground-breaking technology. We can integrate creative aerial footage into corporate and promotional videos for brands.

Drone Filmmaking services are becoming increasingly popular in the film industry as they allow for high impact filming.



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