The Visitor

Armed with a camera drone, I travelled to Utah to capture the alienesque landscape of the desert on film.

Like many people, I’ve always wanted to visit Mars. But, it’s so far away. Last month I did the next best thing: I traveled to the deserts of Southern Utah. The landscapes there are otherwordly. Desolate. Stark. Abandoned. Millions of miles of dry, dusty red rock. You can truly get a sense of the millions of years of wind and water it’s taken to form the terrain. If you find the right places, there’s not a tourist in sight. After scouring Google Earth to pinpoint the right locations, I mapped out a flight path being careful to navigate the weather, local drone laws, and any rattlesnake nests. Then, as a student of the sci-fi genre, I took my new Mavic Air drone and sought to make a short montage film.

The film was filmed almost entirely using the ‘Active Track’ feature on my drone, a Mavic Air. The tracking on this thing is incredible. It essentially acts as an autonomous Director of Photography, allowing me to walk around the terrain AND control the filming composition automatically. The Mavic Air shoots at 4K, recording footage at a level similar to what larger, professional drones can capture. The sensor is fairly large, for the size of the drone (it has about the same footprint as an iPhone X, and can fit in your pocket). And although I filmed mainly at magic hour, I also made use of filters from Polar Pro to combat the strong Utah sun. Artist Joanie Lemercier’s experiments using drone tech were a big inspiration.

You can see the finished result on Vimeo here.

A few behind-the-scenes and stills below:

 

 

 

 

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