SINGAPORE: Flying a drone in the closed confines of a church might sound like a precarious undertaking, but for videographer and photographer Mr Jothy John it was a unique way to celebrate the reconstruction of a building that has held an important place in his life.

Shooting entirely with a drone, Mr John documented the renewal of the Church of St Alphonsus (better known as Novena Church) in a 1min and 20s video showcasing the church’s redeveloped features.

One of Singapore’s iconic Catholic churches, Novena Church has been closed since Oct 1, 2014 for redevelopment and will hold the first mass in its new building on Friday (Sep 29).

It took Mr John more than 10 hours in flying time to capture the church’s new features, including stained glass windows, a new cross on the church dome and redeveloped grounds.

He then took many more hours to put together a 15s introduction video for the church’s opening. He posted the longer video on his Facebook page on Saturday.

Mr John told Channel NewsAsia it was an honour to have been approached by the church’s committee for the project.

‘INTEGRAL PART’ OF HIS LIFE

“Novena Church has been an integral part of my growing up years and it is still a very important part of my life and my family’s,” he said.

“We have all been watching its redevelopment very closely. So, to be allowed to film the process, from the beginning, and particularly the end when everything comes together, makes me feel very proud to be included.”

He started off helping the church’s archival team capture photos and video of the old church before parts of it were torn down, which was when he first attempted filming with his drone.

The project was technically tough to shoot, he added, mainly because there was no GPS tracking in the church. This made it harder to stabilise the drone.

“I also had to disable collision censors since everything is so close to each other, making it riskier,” he added. “But when flying indoors, I always only flew the drone with propeller guards on.”

“With so many restricted flying zones around Singapore, this has been my practice playground.”

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