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DJI premieres short film shot entirely on drone by Oscar winner Claudio Miranda
Claudio Miranda
  • SHENZHEN, China
  • --

DJI, a maker of unmanned aerial vehicles, has premiered a short film by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Claudio Miranda shot entirely on its new Inspire 2 professional drone and its professional-grade X5R camera.
 
The Circle stars Ryan Phillippe (Shooter) and Noah Schnapp (Stranger Things), and illustrates how the DJI Inspire 2 can be an integral part of the creative process for high-end filmed entertainment. Miranda--who won the Best Cinematography Oscar for Life of Pi in 2013 and was nominated in 2009 for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button--and EP Dana Brunetti (The Social Network, House of Cards) used the Inspire 2 and X5R for every shot in the film, from emotional close-ups to sweeping aerial views.
                      
“Filmmaking has been tethered to the ground for so long. DJI’s technology is allowing filmmaking to be free,” Phillippe said. “The advantage is obvious on smaller projects when you can’t afford cranes and all of the technicians that come along with it, and you can still achieve the same beautiful shots as with the larger equipment.”
 
The Circle tells the story of an estranged father (Phillippe) who reunites with his young son (Schnapp) in Depression-era America after the sudden death of the boy’s mother. The two travel from town to town as dad makes a meager living for the both of them by sketching portraits for locals. It’s on this formative journey that the boy discovers not only the transformative power of art, but how to open his heart as well.
 
The DJI Inspire 2, unveiled Tuesday at an event on the Warner Bros. studio lot, is a ready-to-fly platform for high-end film and video creators. While aspiring filmmakers have long had their creative ambitions restricted by shoestring budgets and limited gear options, affordable and powerful aerial equipment is now opening new doors and providing them with more options to pursue their visions.
 
“When you think of shooting a movie set in the Great Depression, you think of big Hollywood studio films, big cameras and massive crews,” said director Sheldon Schwartz. “What’s unique about this shoot is that we’re using new technology to push the limits of camera language and storytelling.”                   

For cinematographers, Inspire 2 with the X5R camera allows them to control every aspect of an image, gives them new freedom to move the camera in three dimensions, and uses stabilized gimbal technology to eliminate unwanted camera movement.
 
“What’s fantastic about this drone is that we’re able to shoot in the RAW format,” Miranda said. “It’s nice to have that dynamic range, so I’m able to push shadows up or highlights down and create a mood.”
 
“When you work with incredible visual storytellers like Claudio who are hyper-focused on every detail and element of the image, it’s important to have the most dynamic and versatile product to help tell that story but also one that also doesn’t break the bank,” Brunetti said. “We get just that with the DJI Inspire 2.”