We get asked for all kinds of aerial shots, but about a year and half ago after coming back from Colombia, we received a really fun request. We were hired for a new children’s television series for Sprout entitled “Terrific Trucks” where we had to film real live trucks and excavation machinery in a quarry. The director, Richard Rotter, and director of photography, Ben Lichty, had this envisioned the opening of the show as one long take which presents each character. With the pacing of a “steadicam-like” shot, the camera would follow one character at their ‘eye-level’, then get speed ramped to the next character, and finish by pulling out to reveal their home base at the quarry. Because the characters are so large and the eye-line for some of them is several feet in the air, the best tool to accomplish the shot was a drone. It was here that the SkyMotion Video team was brought in.
Rare are the opportunities to do the opening of a show in one continuous long take. Timing and coordination with all the ‘characters’ were of the essence. Furthermore, because sections of the take would be subjected to a speed ramp, it was paramount that both the drone flight and camera operation were incredibly smooth over long durations so that unintentional movements were not amplified during the speed-up.
We are really happy with the end result which now appears at the start of each and every episode. To see it for yourself, we invite you to watch the show’s opening below.
Synopsis of the show from Sprout Online:
Terrific Trucks is a live action series that features REAL trucks in a REAL world setting as they figure out the best way to tackle tough projects and simple everyday problems. Routed in problem-solving, each episodes follows the trucks from their morning meeting at their construction site homebase to actually doing the work on site and then home again for a wash-up and a recap of the lesson learned. With all the digging, lifting, and loading, Terrific Trucks is an active celebration of teamwork. The trucks come in all shapes and sizes with big personalities; there’s Tork the Dump Truck, Sparky the Front-end Loader, Dug the Excavator, Stotz the Semi and Blinker the Scooper.