Drone Cinema

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“In just a few years’ time, they’ve become both requisite filmmaking tools and regrettable freighters of cliché. Drone shots are easily recognizable not because drone cameras have a single, easily definable use, but because nearly everyone’s using them the same way: god’s-eye view of a landscape, smooth gliding (heaven forbid there’s a jerk or rattle), low-grade wow factor, cut,” Eric Hynes writes in his essay about drones in the July/August issue of Film Comment. “Yet perhaps we shouldn’t blame the tool for how it’s being used, especially since we’re still in the early days, and since potential applications are still being explored within both documentary and fiction.” There’s great potential in drone photography, for sure, but how are filmmakers harnessing its power for good, and not just for awesome? In this week’s Film Comment Podcast, I discussed drones in cinema with Hynes, an FC columnist and Curator of Film at the Museum of the Moving Image, and a bona fide cinematographer, Ashley Connor (Madeline’s Madeline), and hashed out the good, the bad, and the ugly of this curious airborne invention.

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