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US drone pilot behind viral bowling alley video takes tour of movie theatre in other film

A drone pilot who has captured the attention of Hollywood with a dramatic video that takes the viewer soaring through the inside of a bowling alley has another similar film shot inside a movie theatre.

Jay Christensen filmed and produced the 90-second video titled Right Up Our Alley on March 2.

The video begins outside, with the drone swooping in from across the street and through the doors of Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Another video published to Twitter on January 29 and YouTube on February 7 this year, called Mann Theatre FPV Fly Through, takes the viewer through the lobby and into the cinemas of the Plymouth Grand in Plymouth, also in Minnesota.

FPV stands for first-person view. This type of drone is generally smaller and lighter than other camera drones and it is controlled by a pilot wearing virtual reality-style goggles that allow them to see what the drone does.

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In the February video, Mr Christensen flies his drone through doors held open by a masked theatre employee, around the ticket counters and past a couple buying popcorn.

He then heads down a long hallway and into one of the cinemas, showcasing the same skill that made the bowling alley video so popular.

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The video was shot in one continuous take, but it took about 10 to 12 attempts to get right.(Courtesy: Rally Studios)

On social media, commenters have praised the video, saying it reminds them how much they have missed cinemas during lockdowns resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

An employee of both Rally Studios, which released the bowling alley video, and Sky Candy Studios, which posted the cinema piece, Mr Christensen has been flying drones since 2014 when, he says, the footage was “terrible”.

But innovation has drone video quality improve.

“Now it’s to the point where you’re able to see a live view of what the drone sees and it’s really small and it can fit through these small spaces and see the whole scene inside and out in one shot, and that really can be a great way to tell a story,” Mr Christensen said.

Hollywood praise for video

Lee Unkrich, who directed the Pixar animated feature Coco, said the bowling alley video was “one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen”.

“Jaw on the floor,” he said in a Twitter post.

Todd Vaziri, a visual effects artist who has worked on Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and Transformers films as well as Avatar, tweeted: “This kind of wonderful photographic innovation adds to the language and vocabulary of cinema. Just beautiful.”

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn said the shot was “stupendous” and “incredible” and he wanted the creators to join the production crew on Guardians of the Galaxy 3 in London later this year.

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Meanwhile, Lord of the Rings actor Elijah Wood retweeted the video with just a two-word comment: “HOLY SHIT.”

The video’s director, Anthony Jaska, said some people were sceptical that the video was shot in a single take.

“It is a true one-take,” Jaska said.

“There’s no CGI. That was kind of interesting. But also the positive nature of it — people seeing the skill that it takes and the unique ability it takes to combine the skill of an amazing pilot, the technology of a drone, and the story that can actually be told through a one-take.”

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Play Video. Duration: 1 minute 34 seconds

The production team behind the viral drone video explain the mechanics behind the shoot.

The studio said it took about 10 to 12 attempts over about two hours before it had the perfect take.

Due to the typical buzzing sound produced by a drone, the team added audio to the video in post-production.

Among the sounds are the balls rolling and striking pins, conversations among bowlers that include references to The Big Lebowski — the 90s cult classic Coen brothers film in which many scenes take place in a bowling alley — beer glasses clinking at a table, and more.

The two filmmakers said the goal was to remind people of local businesses, like Bryant Lake Bowl, that are the heart of communities and are in need of support as the coronavirus pandemic and accompanying restrictions ease, allowing people to return to bars, restaurants, and, of course, bowling alleys.

ABC/Reuters




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