Earlier this year, 3D Robotics unveiled it’s new Solo drone: a cinematography-focused UAV that’s filled with features designed to make it easy to shoot stunning photos and videos from an aerial point of view. To showcase the Solo’s filmmaking prowess, 3DR has produced a new science-fiction show, “Life After Gravity”, that was shot almost entirely with the drone. After releasing a teaser trailer earlier this year, 3D Robotics today unveiled the first episode in the short film series on its YouTube channel.
According to 3DR, “Life After Gravity” is “a thriller on a global scale—intergalactic, really—about the blessings and poisons of extraordinary power, the many conflicts of its pursuit, and the birth of a new era for our civilization when we’re suddenly relieved of the trappings of gravity.” This first 5-minute episode in the dystopian narrative explains the foundation of the storyline with the introduction of the presumed protagonist Henry Tran and the antagonist, a global company called Eon Space Agency. There are a few details and enough open questions to entice people to watch upcoming episodes.
The entire series was shot by 3DR’s in-house video team along with producers and Solo users across the world. The users involved in the project were not professional drone operators. They were filmmakers who used the Solo’s Smart Shot technology and its autopilot system to guide the flight of the drone and control the camera. It was deliberately filmed without any professional pilots or high-end recording equipment. 3DR only used items the average user would pack in the standard 3DR backpack for Solo and, of course, a GoPro camera. You can see how 3DR recorded this episode in the field notes video released along with the episode.
While most of the film features aerial drone shots, the team did have to improvise in several scenes. One part of the film zooms in on a handheld drone controller in a scene that appears to be shot with a standalone camera. As it turns out, this scene was actually shot using a Solo that was resting on the arm of the pilot. The pilot was able to keep the Solo level while filming, and the Solo’s gimbal provided the necessary camera stability to capture the footage. In another scene, 3DR had to film in a cave that was inhabited by birds that are sacred to the local population. Out of respect for the native people, 3DR did not want to fly around the birds and opted to use a handheld Solo. They also added in a flock of virtual birds instead of disturbing the real birds and filming them as they flew out of the cave.
3DR has six planned episodes for “Life After Gravity,” each of which will be released every two weeks on 3D Robotics’ YouTube channel. Each new installment will be accompanied by a blog post that provides a behind-the-scenes technical look how 3DR recorded that episode.