How drones revolutionized mountain films

Lying on the right of his skis, a swerve to the left, stepping over some fir trees, before paragliding towards the rocks of the Morzines canyon then flying over a block of chalets… Filmed with a drone, the sequence no longer only offers to be seen the descent of speed rider French Valentin Delluc but turns into a substitute for thrills. The clip, promoted by the RedBull brand two years ago, left its mark on the world of film and mountain sports documentaries, gathered this week at the Chamonix festival, which ends on Saturday June 18.

For its second edition, the majority of the 38 films screened again relied on this technology. It has become ” an addiction “, confirms Thomas Guerrin, 34-year-old drone pilot and director, who this year presented a film on the history of the high mountain guides of Chamonix, a city-temple of French mountaineering. Because if the traditional helicopter has long made it possible to capture the best aerial shots, racing drones – or so-called FPV drones (First Person View) – have revolutionized the discipline.

contact and distance

“It brought something that we were incapable of: an immersion closer to performance and the ability, at the same time, to move away from the athlete very quickly to return to the landscape”, notes Maxime Moulin, documentary filmmaker for ten years, the arrival of the first drones on the market. With a camera on board the athlete and an aerial drone “which, on the other hand, gives the outside point of view, to also allow yourself long poetic shots, you can tell everything there is to tell without being present on the stage of the performance”, complete Thomas Guerrin.

The drones had however arrived in the mountains with a bad reputation: too intrusive, even risky, as when a machine had crashed on the slope in full descent of the alpine skier Marcel Hirscher, landing a few decimeters from the Austrian, in 2015. The specter of the accident forced the legislation to thicken, in particular for the overflight of dwellings, imposing an authorization from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on the teams which pilot them up to 4 km away . “Depending on what we want to do, we cannot film certain parts of the mountain, the helicopter cannot be replaced, even if it also represents a greater environmental cost”explains Maxime Moulin.

Technology versus creativity?

In addition to a reduced cost, accessible to novices in mountain film, drones have reduced the risk-taking on set, for directors and for the athletes themselves – mountaineers in mind – by allowing more precise identification of less accessible climbing areas.

With the fear, however, of a standardization of films, tempted to overexploit these aerial images to the point of caricature. “We have in fact been witnessing for 10 years a standardization in the ways of filming. With drones, filming times are also reducednotes Steve Scott, director of the Kendal mountain film festival in the United Kingdom and member of the jury this year in Chamonix. To regain creativity, directors must learn to use them sparingly. »


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Will Smith will explore from Antarctica to the North Pole

The Oscar-winning actor will be exploring the South Pole and the North Pole to shoot a travel documentary.

Will Smith, the actor who just received the Oscars, will travel from Antarctica to the North Pole in 2022 to shoot a series of travel documentaries by National Geographic manufacturing. The series is called “Pole to Pole” (pole to pole) about the journey of more than 41,000 km of Will Smith and a logistics team, a camera team.

According to Disney+, the TV channel on which the film will premiere, Will Smith will travel through icy lands, deserts, jungles, mountains, savannas, swamps, and stop at several local communities. The expected setting is the scenes of direct experience in the South Pole and the North Pole. “Will Smith and the crew will experience what it’s like to live in some of the most amazing yet extreme places on the planet,” a Disney+ representative said.

The travel drama is expected to shoot for more than 100 days, and the broadcast time is unknown. Before that, Will Smith took the audience to follow in his footsteps on an inspirational travel journey in the “Welcome to Earth” series in 2021. The actor has traveled the world with his favorites. experienced explorer.

Will Smith rests on the black sand beach after kayaking in Iceland. Photo: Disney

“Welcome to Earth” inspires travel, with the message “Overcome your fear to explore the world”. Will Smith, who is afraid of water, dives more than 1,000 meters below to discover luminescent sea creatures. He also crossed a river full of crocodiles on a rope in Namibia. Arriving in Iceland, Will Smith went kayaking for the first time. One of his memorable experiences was sliding down and hanging in the dark in an ice hole in Iceland.

Talking about the travel experiences he wants to try, Will Smith said he dreams of going to the Gobi desert with a diverse ecosystem. The actor also wants to go to each continent, forest and go through each desert to see how the people live.

“I want to go to Antarctica, where I’m going to film a documentary. I want to see the entire planet because I want to introduce people to more places. I think the job of an explorer is to go, see and feel, and bring that information to many people,” he shared.

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