Emerging Technology In Filmmaking

January 8, 2018

Emerging Technology In Filmmaking

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One of the biggest truisms in the creative world is that technological progress is constant—and as any film historian will tell you, from the advent of technicolor to VR, new technologies drive creative projects and industry changes. As these new trends emerge, new opportunities for filmmakers and stock media creators are also emerging. In the words of top contributor John Farr, “with the proper use of these new tools, video creators will be able to work faster and on a smaller budget while producing higher quality production shots.”

That’s why we interviewed top contributors Paul Prescott and John Farr about what top four trends they see emerging in video as technology changes. Here’s what they had to say.

#1 Drones Are Industry Shapers

Credit: Vadim_Key

Paul Prescott:
Previously, aerial footage was reserved for airplanes and helicopters. With the advent of drones, aerial footage is becoming more widespread. However, drones should not only be used for aerial, but rather for getting different view points in a shoot. It can be used instead of a crane or camera rig for stabilization. To the extent of even being used indoors in studio shots. The high end drones from DJI shoot video in RAW.

I have been working with drones for the last 3 years. In this time, software technology has advanced so fast that flight regulations have not been able to follow. Out of all technological advancements, drone technology is at the forefront.

John Farr:
I have been amazed by the introduction of drone technology and its speed of new development and competition in the market. The drone has added a new method that can bring an amazing shot perspective even a helicopter can’t achieve. The production value of shots offered in the stock footage marketplace has greatly increased and much of that is due to drone and gimbal technology.

4K drones are a blast to shoot with and fly, and they bring new dynamic perspective capabilities to your production shoots with a quick setup. Of course, there’s always the potential for a crash or being a nuisance to others, so you need to know the rules around where you can fly, obtain a commercial license, and update gear often so it doesn’t become obsolete.

#2 DSLR Needs to Catch Up to the Times

Paul Prescott:
Ten years ago, DSLR cameras were a stepping stone into filmmaking. However, with DSLR cameras lagging behind in terms of high quality 4k, stock contributors are shifting towards specialist filming equipment, like entry level Blackmagic or Canon cinema cameras.

John Farr:
In 2018, we are hoping to see some better quality and cost effective 4K 60p DSLR full frame cameras. The size of DSLR cameras aid unique shooting opportunities which can be difficult with larger cameras, especially while shooting stock footage. It would be great to see the technology in DSLR cameras catch up.

#3 VR Still Has Unrealized Potential

Credit: worldfootage

Paul Prescott:
VR 360 isn’t ubiquitous as we expected three years ago; however, it is an amazing way to watch video. VR 360 installed on a drone takes aerial footage to another level. I think VR stock is quite limited for the moment, because if a client wants to build a VR project they’ll need to hire a company specialised in VR. However, once more specialist projects are created, it will give more space for VR stock to sell.

#4 New Gear Is Driving Production Value

Credit: stockbusters

John Farr:
Over the last few years we have added a handheld gimbal, motorized camera curved/straight slider track and 4K drones to our arsonal of production tools. The pros of the handheld gimbal are an amazing dolly and tracking smoothness. On the cons side, the setup and balancing can be problematic, and there’s a slight bounce potential when walking. The benefits of the motorized curved slider are the dynamic shot range potential and smoothness.

On the other hand, it can be difficult working with heavier cameras on non-horizontal surfaces, and there’s a larger footprint hazard when working around crowds. The cost to bring these tools to our footage shoots has become affordable because of technological advancements and product competition in the market. With proper use of these new tools, you can greatly increase the production value of your work.

Paul Prescott:
Besides drones, I’ve also been using the DJI OSMO for travel video. This small, light and stabilized piece of equipment is so practical when traveling. It however reaches its limits in low light.

Feeling inspired and ready to harness these emerging trends? Apply to join the Storyblocks contributors.

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Catie Peiper


Catie is a former film and media instructor and she writes about film craft and design trends. She steadfastly believes that the serial comma is never optional.