Larry David is the Hero We Need –
Drone Cinematography + Effects plates – HBO Curb your enthusiasm DTLA Shoot
HBO Promo using a Drone to capture dramatic footage. Shooting for HBO and Curb Your Enthusiasm was a milestone for my career. This took place over a few nights back in 2017 and things that happened at the time that make it an interesting story.
This shoot was to provide the aerial footage plus I shot some plates that had the Larry David “Batman” light pasted in. My first phone meeting with the production team, it was determined that they were unsure of where to shoot. So I did a scout of multiple proposed locations with my trusty Phantom on the back of my Kawasaki KLR 650. Since I knew the area well, and often provide location souting to clients, I took the info that was discussed at the meeting and set off to scout/shoot various locations with the DTLA skyline as a backdrop.
Once production figured out where they wanted to shoot, we planned on Meeting at MacArthur park on Sunday night. I was supposed to use an Inspire 1 with a X5R camera on it, but the one I was supposed to used was stuck in an RV in Coachella. So I found one on a new website called Sharegrid. When I met the person from in Glendale, she was a very pretty/busty latin girl. While I checked out the camera we made small talk, and I asked her what she shot and she said in a broken accent: “I shoot the porn”. I actually didn’t know what to say at that moment, so I smiled and nodded nervously, packed up the camera and headed out to make movie magic.
Shooting EFX plates in DTLA with Sony A7SII
The first Sunday night we were supposed to shoot the HBO Promo using drone, only the technical director, Tom Mahoney, showed up. As I mentioned they had also hired me to shoot some plates for EFX. So after MacArthur park we went to a location next to 6th street and the Harbor Freeway. There was a “community” of homeless people living right there. Despite one guy yelling at the moon 25′ from where we were shooting we started to get the shots they wanted. We were shooting on my Sony A7S II to my Atomos Flame,to capture the footage at the highest resolution with a Kessler slider to get some movement to the shot. As no one had showed up that night, we got what we thought the director would want. The whole not showing up thing was a series of miscommunications, so the shoot was rescheduled.
Part of the discussion was that they wanted the palm tress to have some definition, so with a set of Luma Cubes on my Phantom 4 Pro I “painted light” onto the palm trees, which gave the director, Greg Harrison what he was looking for.
We were also asked to get a plate for the shot where he looks out his window and see’s the night time DTLA Skyline which needed to be a different view. While shooting that plate, I saw a green light bouncing off of the props. I realized someone was trying to damage my camera sensor with a laser. Because of the Inspire’s design, and I landed immediately, the sensor survived. Some of the things I’ve experienced flying drones commercially since 2012 are insane!