Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League

24-10-2018

The Drone Racing League, the Formula One of drone racing. It's run by the company that published a video early 2016 which got me addicted to this "sport of the future". Two and a half years went by and now? Now I'm shooting photo- and video for that USA based company who got me crazy about droneracing in first place.

A drone racing buddy of mine that goes by the nickname of "ShaggyFPV" ended up in this league with his superb drone racing skills. After a few races I asked him if he could put in a good word for me as a photo/videographer. A month went by and I really didn't think anything was coming out of it. Until I suddenly got an email if I possibly had time to shoot the DRL race at BMW World in Munich. After some skype calls and e-mails, I was driving towards Munich on a Friday morning at the end of July. I was so so so super stoked to be part of this gigantic media circus.

I shot some drone races before, some local races, the MWC Shanghai Drone Race and also the DCL final in Berlin in 2017. So I knew the drill for the most part. As a pilot myself I understand racelines (so I know where the drones will be) and get which perspectives are going to end up looking good on a photo. It's a huge advantage and also during the event in Munich it made such a difference in how I could snap some shots. The thing is, in all previous races I could go and stand wherever I wanted, note: everywhere but at my own risk. Not at DRL though, there is a pretty secure system around safety and to be honost, I'm glad they take safety so seriously.

Each heat (whether it's practice or a real race) in DRL works with timeslots of 5 minutes of preperation. In these 5 minutes, the course is opened for a select group of people to forfill their job. Mine ofcourse is setting up a camera for the next heat and getting the angle I want to photograph. After those 5 minutes, the course must be cleared, no one is allowed, no matter how important you are. So how to take those shots? A remote trigger is the magic word. I have 5 minutes to frame a new shot, adjust my tripod (because of the long exposure shots) and see if I can remote trigger my camera from a safe location. 5 minutes seems long, but trust me, picking up your camera, seeking a new vantage point, testing your shot and be safe in time is shorter then you might think.

Besides the long exposure shots I also took shots of the tech-ops at work, aswell as the stars of the show: the DRL pilots. I'm super thankfull that my employer at DRL gave me total freedom during the event concerning where to be at what time, as long as I had the shots. Again, it helped me so much that I already knew some of the pilots and understanding them, so the connection was made easily which also resulted in some cool personal upfront shots that I otherwise would never have made. All in all, it were 3 days of shooting that I will never forget and in which I learned so much about this aspect of (live broadcasting) event photography.

DRL Munich was just the beginning. Not long after DRL Munich I was invited back by DRL to join them at the DRL season finale in Saudi Arabia. Due to NDA's I can't post anything of that trip yet, but I'll get back on that on my blog asap! 😎

Below you'll find some photos I took, you can also checkout the full DRL @ BMW Welt Munich collection.

Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League

DeWolff - Double Crossing Man live video

11-09-2018

Allthough it's been quite on the blog for a while I've been really busy rounding up the festival season. Shot several artists during the Lowlands Festival, one of which is DeWolff. One of the best Dutch acts in my opinion and I was honered to shoot there new video for Double Crossing Man during their gig at Lowlands.

I joined these guys the first time at their album release of Roux-ga-roux at the famous Paradiso (Amsterdam) in februari 2016 and also their album release for Thrust, again in the magical Paradiso. I ran in to them during some other festivals and joined them last Bevrijdagsdag (Independence/Freedom day in the Netherlands) and always found them to be the nicest people EVER.

At first they asked me to shoot a short recap of their Lowlands adventure. Since the Lowlands festival is the biggest festival in the Netherlands I truly get it. The more surprised I was when a couple of weeks later I got the call from their manager if I liked the idea to shoot the new video clip for their single "Double Crossing Man". Ofcourse I couldn't say no and took the challenge. It's hard to go from a short recap to a full video, but with some static camera placement and running around like crazy I managed to gather enough footage to fill the entire length of the song.

As a bonus for the blog, I rendered out an 50/50 split video of the raw footage versus the edited clip, so you can see how much effort can go in grading and FX, and also what it can add to a video.

So here it is, the new Official video from Dewolff - Double Crossing Man

The thing about festival video productions

18-07-2018

If you have a festival, you have an aftermovie, although that’s what is expected nowadays. On the first productions I did speed was key, to deliver the video as fast as I could. And still, it’s one of my key values, but why did those “delivery” days go up from within 24 hours to a week… It all has a story to it.

One of the questions most asked; when is the aftermovie going to be released and why (not only with my own productions) does it sometimes take so long for some aftermovies to be released. And it’s easy to say: the bigger the festival, the longer time it could take that the video will be released. Let’s take the last big productions I did, 2 weeks ago: We Are Electric Weekender 2018.

About 2 months before the festival even starts, preparation begins. Mostly in the form of an audio edit and making sure the branding of the festival gets translated into a video/visual production. Especially the audio edit takes up allot of time. Not only finding the right tracks that give the right feel, but the most time consuming part: clearing the tracks at the labels/managements for promotional use. Unfortunately I really need those 2 months to get everything in place. And it doesn’t give any guarantees that you’ll be settled during/after the festival, because in this particular case I used a song from Eric Prydz in my mix… which cancelled during the festival. You can guess, the delivery date is already pushed back because we needed to find a new track which also needs to be cleared.

Pre-production is key in a production on this scale, were world renowned artists are on the billing (for reference: Martin Garrix, The Prodigy, Justice, Paul Kalkbrenner). Making sure every “wish” the client has gets fulfilled and making an extensive call sheet for the whole media crew is a necessity to know which artist to shoot, which your not allowed to shoot, some artist allow you on stage, some don’t. Even during the festival things can change like the wind with some artists. The bigger the artists, the harder it gets for production. To give an example, I literally got permission 1 minute before showtime of one of the headliners, making my way from the production office to the mainstage… It’s a rush though! Also, don’t forget that I often also need an “okay” from tons of managements after they have seen the footage that you want to publish, which can take days and is completely out of my hands.

All of those things just stack up, from artists, managements to labels… and not to forget, the client/festival itself all have to be okay with that one edit you deliver. And I’m doing medium sized productions to a visitor cap of 75.000 people. I don’t even want to know how the major players like Tomorrowland are production wise. So the next time you're waiting impatiently for that aftermovie to arrive, think again… there’s allot more to it then meets the eye…

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