It’s no secret that Edinburgh Castle is not the only spectacular looking historic building in Scotland. Originally named Darnhall, in the early 15th century a Scots’ baronial style building was erected and over the years was used for a multitude of events, from trying witches to extravagant and lavish parties. Now known as Barony Castle, it is a sought after wedding venue located in Eddleston by Peebles.
Knowing that aerial shots of the castle would be eye catching, Hummingbird decided to pop in to meet with their wedding coordinator, Sarah-Jane. After an informal chat about the up and coming drone industry, and how drones could be used to add something special to a wedding video, we showed Sarah-Jane our show reel and she was impressed. We agreed to come back at a later date with our equipment to get shots of Barony Castle from the air.
On the morning of the shoot Cameron and I spent some time filling in paperwork, notifying the relevant authorities and ensuring all the equipment was ready to go. We loaded the car with Hummingbird 3 (DJI Inspire) and, as a back up, Hummingbird 2 (DJI Phantom2). We picked up Lois, our actress for the shoot, and arrived at Barony at 12:45pm. Lois and I met on the set of a short film that I did some filming for earlier in the year.
We let Sarah-Jane know we had arrived, then completed the on-site surveys and risk assessments. We walked out into the sunshine to meet Matt, who had just arrived in a vintage, cream Volkswagen Beetle.
We quickly decided that a narrative would make the shots more interesting. That’s when we got on the phone to Ecosse Classic Wedding Cars, who are based in Roslyn, very near Barony Castle. We spoke to the manager who was keen to get involved, and kindly organised the car for the shoot.
Although we had timed our filming so that the hotel would be at it’s quietest, there were still a few members of public roaming around the grounds. Cameron made sure everyone was aware of what we were doing and placed warning signs appropriately (you may be able to spot one in the final video if you look closely enough). Aware that Hummingbird 3 can look quite intimidating at first, I took the time to acquaint Lois and Matt with the equipment. Matt told me that he had experience using fixed wing drones in the military so we had an interesting discussion about the industry and how it seems to have changed.
To achieve the shots of the car driving to and from the hotel, Matt drove Lois in a circuit up and down the lengthy driveway whilst I followed with Hummingbird 3. I hid behind a tree to make sure I didn’t make any cameo appearances. We then used the overflow car park at the bottom of the driveway to shoot the first scene of Lois getting into the car. It must have been at least 20°C and there was almost no wind, I felt extremely hot even though I was only wearing a T shirt and a very light high-vis vest. I couldn’t even imagine how hot Matt must have been feeling under his chauffeur uniform. The flying conditions were perfect though.
About two hours later, we had achieved all the shots we wanted that involved the car, so said our goodbyes to Matt and the Beetle at about 2:30pm. Lois, Cameron and I sat down for a much needed glass of water in the hotel bar and discussed what shots we could do around the grounds of the castle. We headed out the back door and filmed my favourite shot of the day (01:15). Cameron had come up with an excellent idea for a shot that involved flying through a tunnel of trees (01:05), so he took the controls and executed it perfectly. He commented that it was quite tricky because there was little space to fly in and being so close to the ground meant down draft interfered quite a lot. I think the leaves fluttering up in front of the camera really add to the sequence. You can see another example of this in our Creating Mood video.
The shoot was fun and is a perfect example of how drone technology can be used as an alternative to a dolly and tracks.