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Filmmakers take incredible risk flying drone inside Byzantine church

Filmmakers and hobbyists alike love drones for the relative ease with which they can capture outdoor aerial shots. An amateur armed with a DJI Phantom can capture epic, Lord of the Ringsinspired sweeping vistas from the comfort of his or her backyard. However, using a drone indoors is far less common. In fact, it’s outright dangerous. But that didn’t stop the French aerial filmmaking duo, BigFly, from attempting it in the Saint Louis Church in Paimboeuf. The results are simply stunning.

As detailed by Fstoppers, the danger of BigFly’s interior shoot was ratcheted up a few notches by the rig employed: a Gryphon Redback X8 1200mm Aerial Platform, a DJI Ronin M gimbal, and Sony A7S II camera. This is no tiny, lightweight consumer drone, and it was made even heavier due to counterweights that allowed the team to mount the gimbal and camera on top of the platform while keeping the required center of gravity. This allowed the camera to capture clear views directly above it.

Related: How drones are opening the sky for filmmakers

Guillaume Juin and Joris Favraud, the two team members behind BigFly, have extensive aerial videography experience. Despite this, they still felt tested by flying indoors, and were hyper aware of the dangers. A slight mistake could result in disaster. Even a minor contact between the drone and any part of the interior architecture would be nearly impossible to recover from in such a small space; the drone could be destroyed, the Byzantine-era church damaged, and the filmmakers themselves seriously injured.

Thankfully BigFly completed the shoot without issue. The team has dedicated roles, allowing each to focus on a specific task. Juin flies the drone itself, while Favraud controls the gimbal to aim the camera. This is a standard setup in any high-end aerial drone shoot, but this type of division of labor is especially important when the stakes are so high.

More of BigFly’s awe-inspiring aerial work can be found on Vimeo.