Aerial Video

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Aerial Video Case Study: Rihanna’s Sledgehammer

Wild Rabbit Aerial Productions is committed to breaking boundaries when it comes to aerial video and drone cinematography. We thrive on collaborating with creative industry professionals who have a story that needs to be told. Our skilled and experienced team are leaders in the aerial video field and put their expertise to use on commercials, television, film, and music videos.

Recorded by one of the most awarded and best-selling artists of all time, Rihanna’s Sledgehammer is the lead single from the Star Trek Beyond motion picture soundtrack. The music video for the song was released June 30th, 2016 and showcases an otherworldly Rihanna on an alien planet. Floria Sigismondi, known for her creative work with artists like David Bowie, Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, and Sigur Ros, directed the music video in just one day. Sigismondi knew that in order to capture the supernatural tone of the song, she would need exceptional visuals that only a team like Wild Rabbit could capture with aerial video.

Aerial video and drone cinematography enables industry creatives to capture images that previously, only a massive and costly helicopter could provide. Today, a talented and experienced team is capable of capturing innovative, striking images through the technical maneuvering of drone cameras. Over the course of a 12 hour day, the Wild Rabbit team was charged with the crucial task of filming not only the complicated landscape of the iconic Trona Pinnacles but also ensuring sleek aerial video of one of the world’s most popular musicians. 

Technical Innovation with Aerial Video

The Wild Rabbit team had a few obstacles that they knew they would have to traverse in order to accomplish the creative goals of the shoot. CEO, founder and team lead- Drew Roberts knew that they would have to capture aerial video before sunset, as the FAA restricts drone’s shooting at night. The unusual environment would also raise a challenge, as the Mojave Desert (home to the Trona Pinnacles, an alien landscape consisting of over 500 crumbling tufa spires as high as 140 feet) features extreme heat and blasting winds.

Finally, and most crucial, the team would have to capture aerial video that would allow for CGI “swarm ships” to be input into the scenes upon editing. Roberts and his crew would have to carefully maneuver the drone through the uncanny spires, lower to the ground than usual, and closer to talent than ever before. On the day of the shoot, Roberts and his team: Katee Laine (Camera Operator), Nathan LaBruzza (Lead Drone Technician) and intern Ben Stefanitis worked tirelessly in order to obtain the cutting-edge shots that establish the intoxicating atmosphere of Sledgehammer.

Wild Rabbit made use of a range of leading-edge equipment to capture the groundbreaking aerial video footage:

     Freefly Movi gimbals enables creative freedom while stabilizing camera movement.

     ARRI ALEXA Mini is a compact, lightweight 4K camera allowing for specialized shots.

     ARRI WCU-4 wireless, 3 axes lens control unit allows for smooth focus, iris control and precision zooming.

Not only was Sledgehammer a creative success and aerial video feat in the drone industry, it was also the second music video ever to be shot entirely with IMAX cameras. The Wild Rabbit team collaborated with director Sigismondi and an effects supervisor to ensure extreme maneuverability and astonishing low altitude aerial video shots that make Sledgehammer original and extraordinary. To learn more about Wild Rabbit Aerial Productions and aerial video, please call 323-577-3977 or visit our .