Aerial Videography and Photography – Dronetography is the Future!

I’ve been doing commercial photography for more than 10 years now. When I’ve gone full time in 2007 and put up my photography studio Imagesmith I never thought I’d be doing video. In 2008 Canon released a full-frame DSLR which is capable of shooting 1080p videos. From then on we acquired additional bodies that shoot video, we also invested on motion sliders and jib cranes for that cinematic effect.

About 2-3 years ago, the aerial drone quadrocopters craze was born, from the china made ones to the reliable Dji brand. I almost invested on the Dji Inspire 1 which is fantastically looking drone, the Phantom models are less to be desired back then because of its crippled features to complete the FPV rig. During those times, I was really tempted to invest in but my tech-geek instincts said the current tech is expensive for what you get and anyway our clients are willing to rent helicopters and planes.

Forward to June 2015, I got the Phantom 3 Professional by Dji it is one of the few Phantom 3 units to arrive in the Philippines. The technology it has and price are perfect! Perfect timing so I had no excuses.

Its good to feel like a newbie again! I’ve never been too excited on a workhorse equipment since my first DSLR.  During these past 3 weeks I’m getting better and better on flying the drone, I now understand its limitations and shortcomings so thats why I need to fly more and augment that. I’m now mastering the different moves (cinematic moves) that we can use at work. I just got the 2 extra batteries and now I can fly this for more than an hour.

I have used it several times already for work and practice. I’ve shot these aerial footages during a recent project in several locations in Quezon City while shooting the “100 Things To Do in Quezon City” coffee table book and during the pre-nuptial photo and video shoot in Anilao Batangas.

The weather is pretty bad right these past few days, unpredictable, hazy and windy. But once it clears up I will continue playing this exciting new work toy.

Watch the video in Full HD to see how crisp and detail the footages are, it was taken in 4K UHD and downsampled to 1080p. It is ungraded and didn’t fix shaky shots because there was nothing to fix. I’m really stoked and excited on what this thing can do. Industrial, real estate, travel and of course architectural photography and videography or even just flying it.

Architectural Photography

Large version here

The iconic Ayala Tower 1 designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, LLP and Leandro V. Locsin & Partners

Large version here

Large version here

I studied Architecture, I practiced construction for 2 years. Our family is in the business of construction. Since the time I made photography my full time career the first two big clients I had is in the manufacturing industry. For the past 3 months almost all of my major shoots are in the real estate and resort – hotel business. Since I shot mostly their interior and exterior designs it was so time consuming straighten up the converging vertical lines, it also came to a point that one of my client saw a degradation of the corner frames due to stretched pixels. A little tip regarding perspective,  in architectural drawings vertical lines are drawn straight, vanishing points should be in the right directions also. These are the things a photographic image should replicate from a drawing. It came to my idea that investing an architectural lens can lessen my post-production time and provide me a great level of adjustments with minimal image quality loss.

The Canon 17mm TS-e Tilt-Shift lens came along. It is one of the finest if not the best architectural lens today. It is the sharpest and “contrastiest” among the lenses that I have now. The well built heavy lens comes with a hefty price tag at $2,7xx or P130,000 in pesosesoses. I have been using it for alsmot 3 weeks now and I can tell you that, its all worth it!

With this lens and a new style set of post-production I’m doing, I think this will give more value to my client to have the best image possible.

I simply enjoy every frame I take it with it now, my dream to be a fully pledged Architect might be diverted to be the best architectural photographer out there. Anyone can dream right? 😉

Ok so i’ll probably stop my hands typing and show you what the lens can do. Take note that these shots are composed of 6 or more exposures to produce a High Dynamic Range, I don’t like HDR-Halo type of images (personal preference) so theres a another step I’ve done here to make it less prevalent and make it as natural as possible. These are post-processed in LR3 and PSCS5 workflow.

These shots were taken from a walkabout shoot in Makati yesterday part of the “I heART Makati, I love the Philippines. I love being free” event going on.

Here’s the beautiful RCBC Plaza designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP, in cooperation with local architectural firm W.V. Coscolluela & Associates

4 architectural locations

Just finished shooting 4 locations today all architectural shots.. wheww we were given a good weather until the rain poured in the afternoon at the last location. We will manipulate the clouds for that one. Sorry can’t show you the photos, lets just say it is 3 of the known mall within the metro and one old condo-office in Makati. 😉

We almost had a problem with one of the location since we dont have permit, I rarely seldomly do this but we have no choice.. I always demand my clients to secure a permit for smooth workflow of photo shooting. I can’t concentrate when you know that someone will grab you and say “Sir bawal po yan”.

Sheeny, shiny products!

Jayr my assistant preparing the next to photograph
Jayr my assistant preparing the next shiny object

This week Im shooting shiny products, the most challenging product I ever photographed. I successfully eliminated the unwanted reflections and I also created some wanted shadows to put more life to the product. You really need to understand how the light bounces back (angle of incidence) to perfect this shot.

Industrial Photography… hulyo 08

One of my new client, a piping & steel company is ravamping their catalougue and brochures. We had our pre-prod meeting today and all i can say is that im excited on the layouts will be doing! I already pre visualized the outputs in my head! We will have an ocular visit this week for the sites we need to shoot!

Ok another potential project, a housing developer inquired of my services to cover their projects from Luzon to Mindanao. This is another great project if this pushes through! And I hope I win the bid!

These are big projects that will pressure myself since I need to squeeze the time, schedule and including the abrupt weather. Im sure i will enjoy every bit of it 😉