Transportation Canada imagined he could not do it. But Jim Filippone was keen to fly a helicopter via downtown Vancouver, squeezing in between all of the soaring glass towers on Ga Avenue.

Soon after all, the movie necessary it.

He acquired the Okay right after plotting it out with his security co-ordinator (and wife) Wendy, pledging to fly with two engines and stick to the yellow line in the middle of the road.

Filippone hovered his helicopter just earlier mentioned the avenue lamps, zooming up and down the road until eventually the cameras acquired what they necessary. He did it yet again for the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie The sixth Working day, this time at night with no mild.

Filippone’s precision created him the go-to pilot for these lower-amount helicopter shots. But drones, which can get the similar shot at a sliver of the cost, have forced the Filippones out of small business right after far more than 30 many years and 13,800 hrs in the air.

Jim Filippone

Jim Filippone flew helicopters for movies and television demonstrates for far more than 30 many years. You can even place him in the opening for the outdated CBC display Risk Bay, for which he after experienced to don this blond wig. (Jim Filippone)

“We’d contact up persons, manufacturing administrators, and we would say, ‘Oh hey do you have any aerials on the display?’ … just about every time they say of course, we would have a work. They would employ the service of us. But it’s, ‘Oh yeah, we have an aerial but we’re making use of a drone,'” he claimed.

The couple labored on the X-Adult males movies, Tron: Legacy and the outdated CBC display Risk Bay, among the numerous other people.

“We’ve long gone into retirement for the reason that of this,” Filippone claimed about the drones bumping out his get the job done.

‘Tipping point’ for drones

The drone has stolen gigs and taken a strike on Canada’s modest but mighty pool of movie pilots and aerial videographers.

It can squeeze into limited spaces and get shots the helicopter are unable to — a lot quicker, without the need of significantly set up, and clad with substantial-top quality cameras. There is also fewer at stake if something goes improper. Helicopter crashes have killed far more than 30 persons on movie and Tv set sets considering that the 1980s.

Chris Bacik

Chris Bacik, ideal, operates Sky Eye Media out of his parents’ garage in close proximity to Barrie, Ont. He has flown drones for Hollywood movies and strike Tv set demonstrates like Orphan Black and The Handmaid’s Tale. (Haydn Watters/CBC)

But the greatest drone draw might be the cost level. Drones are substantially less costly to fly for movie — even when decked out with fancy machines.

The less costly cost has gained Chris Bacik a bunch of movie positions — he has flown his drones for Hollywood movies and strike Tv set demonstrates like Orphan Black and The Handmaid’s Tale.

Price factors: Drone vs. helicopter

Here’s what CBC Information was quoted for a helicopter movie shoot with Chanda’s Aerial Camera Operations and a drone movie shoot with Bacik’s Sky Eye Media.

  • Helicopter: Chanda claimed a twin turbine helicopter is necessary for movie-fashion shoots ($2350/hr). Additionally a comprehensive day on the digital camera for prep/install/shoot provides another $5,750.

  • Drone: Bacik flies with a few operators (a pilot, digital camera operator and security man or woman), charging $1,600 for 8 hrs. The rental cost for a single of Bacik’s mid-sized drones is $1,800/day. Bacik claimed productions commonly provide their own digital camera and lenses, but other people lease from him, which costs $1,five hundred-$two,five hundred/day.

“When we get the option to display these [to] persons, their eyes just mild up,” he claimed of drones.

Bacik operates Sky Eye Media in Midhurst, in close proximity to Barrie, Ont. He operates out of his parents’ garage, packed limited with cabinets of drones. Some are as modest as tubs of margarine, other people as huge as workplace chairs, with tentacle-like arms to support it fly.

Drone view

The drone can go destinations and get shots the helicopter are unable to, like this a single of a guy on a backyard deck searching out around the drinking water. (Sky Eye Media)

“At last there’s been this tipping level in very last 12 months or so now where we are taking pictures 2 times a 7 days, and now we have become profitable and factors are just escalating,” he claimed.

“We’ve absolutely come across a couple of helicopter operators that are not as helpful to us for the reason that they understand of course, we’re listed here to keep and we are affecting the way they do small business.”

‘You are unable to just take it for granted’

However, the helicopter has its strengths.

It can fly quicker, for a longer time and better than any drone can, in a position to get individuals placing huge-city and mountain shots. The helicopter operates in any temperature, whereas drones are unable to fly in the wind. And some drone pilots worry Transportation Canada’s proposed changes to drone principles, which could crack down on what they fly ideal now.


The helicopter can fly a large amount quicker, for a longer time and better than a drone can, serving to helicopter cameraman Chris Chanda, remaining, keep airborne. (Doug Husby/CBC)

All this is serving to helicopter cameraman Chris Chanda keep airborne. He has been filming from earlier mentioned for 23 many years, and now operates Aerial Camera Operations.

“From our facet of the fence, we imagine [drones are] a terrific tool, but they are absolutely not capable of the comprehensive-on manufacturing value we can provide,” he claimed.

“It really is variety of like supplying your child a skateboard and telling him to go engage in on the freeway.”

But he far too admits he is missing some small business to drones, something he imagined would by no means materialize.

Chris Chanda

Chanda, who operates Aerial Camera Operations, outfits a helicopter with his filming machines at a Brampton-Caledon airport hangar. (Doug Husby/CBC)

As technology receives much better, field experts forecast it would not be extended before drones can do what helicopters can — with for a longer time and better flights and even much better, far more secure aerial shots coming soon.

“You are unable to just take it for granted,” claimed Chanda, who has deemed incorporating drones to his fleet. “You absolutely are unable to say no to advancing technology.”

Jim on Danger Bay

If you appear closely, you can see Filippone at the helm of the helicopter as a stunt is performed for the ’80s CBC display Risk Bay. (Jim Filippone)

Other people, like Filippone, want almost nothing to do with drones. He likens traveling one to playing a online video video game.

“I’m the worst online video-video game operator in the entire world. We’ll leave individuals to the youngsters.”

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