Combining a camera with the ability to see the world through a bird’s eye point of view and the agility of a smooth flying drone has created a whole new genre of photography and videography. Most of the images you see taken from a drone are carefully curated and edited, just like any media taken with a standard camera. But recently, a new trend in drone filming has emerged, the single-shot-fly-through. Based on the concept of an FPV (First Person View) racing drone, what you see is what you get.
Though there is no blending or editing of a single-shot-fly-through drone video, they require a lot of preparation and a tremendous level of skill to accomplish. Partly responsible for the single-shot-fly-through drone video trend is Rally Studios, a multimedia production company based out of Minneapolis, MN. To drum up business for local Minneapolis establishments impacted by COVID19 closings, Rally Studios had drone photographer Jay Christensen create a captivating 87 second, single-shot-fly-through drone video of Bryant Lake Bowling.
The film starts with the drone zooming into the bowling alley’s open doors from a rooftop outside. The drone swiftly soars through the alley, following a bowling ball down a lane, back around to the bowlers, behind the scenes over the pinsetter, through the kitchens, around and around giving a complex, exhilarating, FPV experience of a regular night at a bowling alley. The film ends with the drone following a bowling ball down a lane and crashing along with the pins. The entire film is one continuous shot. Jay said that it took 9 tries before getting everything just right. That means getting the drone angles and positions just right and timed along with the actions of the bowlers. There was no editing done on the film, but to complete the experience, Jay added audio to match the film in post production. The sounds of pins crashing, bowling balls rolling, snippets of conversations, and even a weather report made Jay’s film more than just an FPV drone video.
Titled Right Up Our Alley, Jay’s single-shot-fly-through drone video has been viewed more than 2 million times. It has gained attention from major Hollywood stars like Elijah Wood and James Gunn praising Jay’s innovation and skill. Todd Vaziri, a visual arts specialist who worked on blockbuster films like Transformers and Star Wars, was equally impressed. “This kind of wonderful photographic innovation adds to the language and vocabulary of cinema,” Todd said, calling the film, “Just beautiful.” While Right Up Our Alley has become Jay’s most popular film, it is far from his first or last single-shot-fly-through drone video. The style has become a go-to marketing means for many turning to Rally Studios. Around the world, other drone videographers are taking up the challenge of single-shot-fly-through drone videos. Sports complexes like Manchester United’s Etihad Stadium and the Dallas Cowboys training facility in Frisco, TX are just a few that have used single-shot-fly-through drone videos to give fans an up close experience of their favorite teams. The format may have started as a trend, but it is growing in popularity just like all forms of drone photography and videography.