The dynamic shots and capabilities of drone technology were showcased through cinematography and breath-taking photos at the Southern California Drone Film Festival on Saturday.
Festival director Jay Seidel, who began planning the SoCal Drone Film Festival in 2019, made the last-minute decision to hold it as a virtual event.
Film and photography entries captured through drone technology were submitted by groups and individuals from all over the world. There was a total of 14 categories which included News/Documentary, Landscape/Nature, Architecture, Sports, Film Editing and many others.
One of the winning entries was submitted by Craig Murley who won in the Film Editing category for his submission “Duality.” The cinematography feels like watching a clip from the 2016 film “Doctor Strange” when the sky was replaced with a flipped image of the Earth. There were scenes where trees hung upside down over lakes, cities flipped over themselves and skyscrapers merged together.
The purpose of the online event was to “recognize and showcase drone content,” said festival director Jay Seidel.
Seidel took a drone technology class at the University of Oregon and fell in love immediately. After obtaining his FAA license, he returned to Fullerton and not only introduced a drone journalism class, but also kick-started the Fullerton Drone Lab.
Drone technology holds a unique ability to capture video from angles unlike any other camera– which is an advantage for industries such as journalism.
“Drones add another tool– add another element– to the telling of a story,” said Seidel.
This technology is able to give viewers a bigger scope of stories such as natural disasters and create a larger impact of the devastation.
Gail Orenstein, a drone journalist whose interview was featured at the SoCal Drone Film Festival, expanded that “news is becoming very evidence-based and we’re going to see a lot more droning.”
The useful advantages of drone technology stretch beyond the field of journalism as well. There are uses for drones in other areas of work such as search and rescue operations, mapping and surveying areas of land, plant and vegetation analysis, structure inspection and many more.
“There are jobs that haven’t been created yet that will use drones,” Seidel commented.
A partner of the Southern California Drone Film Festival was Women and Drones, which is a network built to promote women in the drone industry. Their goal is to encourage more women to enter the field as drone technology is largely male-dominated.
One entry submitted by female participant Ani Acopian won the Cinematic FPV category for her film “A World Artists Love.” Her video featured a creative continual shot of film weaving in and out of a car, zooming around a restaurant, closing up on skateboarders at a park, then ending at a raging house party. The film gave a fun and energetic vibe that many Southern Californians could relate to.
The film festival not only showcased finalist drone film entries but also featured interviews with different experts in the field of drone technology and a few training videos.
Southern California is not the first region to host a drone film festival. New York City held their sixth film festival back in October of 2020 and Boston will be holding its second drone film festival later this month.
Because of the festival’s virtual platform, attendees have the advantage of accessing the films and awards video any time over the next six months.