A Kinder, Friendlier Use for Drones: Shooting Music Videos

Slate's Culture Blog
Aug. 29 2013 8:30 PM

This Music Video Shot Using a Drone Is Amazing

There’s a moment about two-and-a-half minutes into this live video from the French group Phoenix when you’re likely to think, “Wait—how did they do that?” That’s because director Colin Solal Cardo and the folks from the great site La Blogothèque have found a kinder, friendlier use for a pretty scary technology: drones.

The whole performance (starting about one minute in) is shot live in one take at the Palace of Versailles (the mics, presumably, were placed on the ground), but it starts in the air, comes right down to the band, and then, around 2:30, launches off into the stratosphere again. The effect is stunning. Before, this kind of shot was only possible to simulate, using hidden cuts, as in this scene from 2009’s The Secret in Their Eyes, or using animated long takes. But now you can strap a digital camera to a drone and take off.


Well, depending on whether you can get the clearance. Since 2007, the use of commercial drones has been mostly prohibited by the FAA, including for airborne cinematography, but in the last month the FAA has started to crack the door open to commercial uses. In the meantime, drone cinematography has remained a bit of a frontier, shot only illegally or in other countries, though that hasn’t stopped enterprising filmmakers and drone operators from shooting some dazzling videos. (This one has ninjas.) Hopefully the FAA will figure out how to regulate this safely, so we can get more videos like this one.

R. Kelly Remixes Phoenix in Very R. Kelly Fashion

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 


Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059


Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Nobody Knows How Many Gay Married Couples Live in America—Not Even the Census Bureau

  News & Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 7:46 PM Azealia Banks’ New Single Is Her Best in Years
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.