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Yonder Blue Films: Taking it to the Next Level

Yonder Blue Films has been around for a year and a half and they seem to be setting the standard for cinematic aerial footage.

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Yonder Blue Films - Setting the standard for cinematic aerial footage

If you are an aerial photography/video enthusiast you have probably heard of the company Yonder Blue Films. Their footage reels have popped up all over the internet and have been well received by everyone in the AV/AP community. In fact, some have said it is some of the most cinematic aerial footage they have ever seen.

Yesterday I had the chance to speak with Ben Rowland from Yonder Blue Films (who could not be a nicer guy) to find out a little about how the company began and where they are going.

First off, Yonder Blue Films is comprised of Ben Rowland (Pilot) and Will Wheeler (Camera Op). Ben states, "we were both producers and editors for a series called The Best & Worst of Tred Barta that ran on Versus, then NBC Sports (for a time it was one of the network's most popular shows). I worked on the series for 8 years and Will was on it for 4 years. Once we wrapped up the ninth and final season, it was time for a change and that's when we got the company going."

So early in 2012, Yonder Blue Films was born. In its short year and a half existence, Yonder Blue Films has shot many interesting and exciting projects. Example reels from many of these shoots can be seen at the Yonder Blue Film website. Recently YBF has shot for Necessary Roughness, which is a USA Network series. They also shot in the Okefenokee Swamp for a new National Geographic series (no official title yet). They just got back from a shoot in the Bahamas filming some promos for Cartoon Network.

Equipment

  • Cinestar 8, assembled by us
  • Cinestar 3-axis gimbal
  • R/C Rotors 2-axis brushless gimbal, with a servo for the 3rd axis
  • Hoverfly Pro flight controller
  • Futaba 8fg remotes.
  • MaxAmps batteries (because they're big and reliable.)
  • Xoar is definitely our prop of choice

Additional equipment:

Just recently, we flew a Red Epic on our new Vulcan frame. Our first impressions of this frame are very good and we look forward to using it more for flying large cameras like the Epic.

We also have a few other rigs that we fly for fun including an IrisAerial Fold-N-Fly, a Droidworx XM6, and the ubiquitous Blade MQX that got us started in learning how to fly.

Yonder Blue Films is currently busy with many new projects shooting new footage and building their business from the air down (pun intended!). We plan to stay in touch with Ben and Will and will keep RCG updated with their new cool projects. Good luck guys, keep the "spinny things" pointed up and the camera in focus!

Let's check out some of Yonder Blue Films' latest work!

New Dewees Island highlight reel:

Summer on Dewees: Aerial Highlights (3 min 33 sec)

Dewees Island first trip: the plan is to eventually cut the footage into a commercial for Dewees Island:

A day on Dewees - Highlights from Yonder Blue Films (1 min 28 sec)

Commercial for a power company that was composed of 100% aerials:

Power Company commercial - shot from a Cinestar 8 (0 min 30 sec)

Last edited by Sleepyc; Jul 10, 2013 at 12:21 PM..

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Old Jul 10, 2013, 02:37 PM
Some Sharp Looking Cheddar
i love nachos's Avatar
Cleveland, OH
Joined Aug 2008
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Yonder Blue do some incredible work. Inspires me to push through the pain smoothing out my setup! Thanks for sharing and I can't wait to hear more.
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Old Jul 10, 2013, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i love nachos View Post
Yonder Blue do some incredible work. Inspires me to push through the pain smoothing out my setup! Thanks for sharing and I can't wait to hear more.
Inspires me to sell 85% of my stuff (Except my Aerdro XY8) , reorganize, get a partner and do something amazing.
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Old Jul 10, 2013, 04:22 PM
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Yep, nice stuff for sure.
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Old Jul 10, 2013, 07:22 PM
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Benjamin Rowland's Avatar
United States, GA, Atlanta
Joined Feb 2012
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We really appreciate Sleepyc sharing this article about us and our work!

We've put a ton of time into creating compelling footage, so it means a lot to have it recognized here.

Feel free to fire away with any questions and I'll do my best to answer them.

all the best,
Ben Rowland
Yonder Blue Films
www.facebook.com/yonderbluefilms
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Old Jul 10, 2013, 07:38 PM
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I'd love to know what you use for post processing/editing....
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Old Jul 10, 2013, 07:53 PM
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This is a phenomenal work of cinematography. It isn't just the shot or the lighting, but each piece connects us with a story we can feel. Serial shots of people jumping off a pier? I can feel that.
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Old Jul 10, 2013, 09:01 PM
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Joined May 2013
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All I can say is wow! I can only hope to shoot like you some day. I am going for my BS in Cinematography at Full Sail University here in Florida. I hope to learn from your videos and School and maybe I'll get close some day Awesome Job Guys!
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Old Jul 11, 2013, 07:46 AM
:)
Australia, QLD, Brisbane
Joined Sep 2012
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This is one of my favourites... Henning Sandstrom

CineStar 3 Axis Gimbal (3 min 42 sec)


edit... I do apologise, I realised how off topic this is after posting!
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Old Jul 11, 2013, 08:42 AM
Some Sharp Looking Cheddar
i love nachos's Avatar
Cleveland, OH
Joined Aug 2008
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That's a great video

To bring it back on track here is one of my favorites. Always gets me motivated.
Why Fly A Multirotor - Contest Winner (2 min 59 sec)


I do have a question. When you fly some of the long range continuous shots do you ever fly FPV or is it always line of site? I am sure you guys communicate between pilot and camera op. Do you trail the heli in a vehicle or anything?
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Old Jul 11, 2013, 08:54 AM
:)
Australia, QLD, Brisbane
Joined Sep 2012
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Wow! That's gone straight in my 'inspiring' bookmarks folder.

The shot where the skier falls and sprays water at the camera is superb.

Thanks
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Old Jul 11, 2013, 11:00 AM
The END.....ha!
KCV6's Avatar
Australia, SA, Edinburgh
Joined Aug 2009
5,888 Posts
Ben and Will, always inspiring stuff. Ben, always the gentleman.

Mark
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Old Jul 11, 2013, 11:01 AM
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panos2408's Avatar
Cyprus, Limassol
Joined Feb 2008
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I have been following Yonder blue films for about 5-6 months now on vimeo. They are definetely ahead both equipement wise and skill wise. They really love what they do which is the most important aspect of succeeding and being acknowledged and the video Why a multirotor is by far the most inspiring video i have ever come to see on what, why and how a multicopter offers to video production.

My question will be focused to the safety handling as it is the main aspect that keeps me back from thinking about this proffession going mainstream.
I am not saying that you guys are acting irresponsibly and careless but i will ask about the failsafes that you use or the way you handle your shots that give you the confidence to achieve some risky shots that put in danger the obviously expensive gear and the flight near people. How do you coop with these 2 actions?

Again i am not judging i am trying to find the way through people who have been there and know how to handle it better than me.
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Old Jul 11, 2013, 11:56 AM
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A few thoughts.....

Most boutique aerial photography companies are soon going to have major competition from film industry production companies. The game will certainly change past 2015, when the FAA puts out their official rules for UAV/AP in civilian airspace.

I know a bunch of folks who have been flying 3D helis for year, itching to become pilots-for-hire, if not full time employees, for major production companies and camera/equipment rental houses. The idea being, you rent the gear -- with the pilot -- and shoot your scene. Simple as that -- cheap, fast, professional -- no monkey business. It's cool for guys that may want to get paid for flying rc stuff, but it's generally boring work, long hours and, ultimately, another person (DOP) calls the shots and works the camera.

By 2015 (same as the FAA timing), I believe these birds will mostly fly themselves --- especially for AP simple hovering, panning, following. No huge cinematic or business opportunity there -- just standard photography. Whoopdeedoo!
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Old Jul 11, 2013, 12:20 PM
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Allow me to disagree with you....

As long as you have people involved in the shots you ll want to have semi automatical control over your flying jigsaws for a variety of reasons. If you think that Yonder blue and other drone based duets including the hobbyists that film stuff around the globe are doing basic pan tilt roll and moving mechanically the multicopter then you propably will never realise the complexity of capturing a cinematic scene which involves perfect unison of all the scene participants such as people who act people who control lights, camera men, a bunch of crew and a lot of other factors that form a cinematic scene. Good luck finding a flying robot in the next 4-5 years that will be able to communicate, interact and understand the verbal information that is exchanged between humans without wirting a complex code that will propably take longer than just lift off and make the scene happen. When you are talking about cinematic footage a multicopter that can get from point A to poin B and then C or will follow a GPS signal will only offer basic nadir shots and nothing else.

Of what I know about multirotors that can perform actual autonomus flight, exist only in Mr. Kumar's workstation and are in a very primal stage incapable of not crashing on a target prior identifying him.

You can take as an example cranes... They have been around since the very early days of ssilent film and about 100 years later they are still not fully autonomous and require an operator. And if they get fully autonomus they ll need someone to programm them. And if that someone is a computer then we will either be extinced or living in another planet.

I could go on and on but i ll leave it here... I ll get back to you though when my blog regarding Filming with Multicopters will be up and running explaining expressions and flight movements do affect how a shot is taken.
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Last edited by panos2408; Jul 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM.
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