Leonard Lee
Freelance Lighting Cameraman

07710 152636

I am happy to say that I have passed all three parts my RUSTA drone pilot course and can now add aerial filming to my list of services.

I am currently awaiting the actual permission certificate from the Civil Aviation Authority but this is merely an administrative formality. Aerial shots add a great deal of production value to any shoot and the Phantom 3's ease of use makes getting those iconic shots very quick and straight forward.
Last November I bought a DJI Phantom 3 professional drone. Since then I have been learning how to fly it and make the most of this fantastic piece of kit. Even though I've been flying for some months now, I am always still amazed at how beautiful and cinematic aerial footage is, particularly in 4K. There is just something about seeing something from the air and moving smoothly over it.

I am also impressed on a technical level; flying here in the UK means some fairly strong winds which i would have thought would pose a problem for the stability of the drone but it is just not the case. While the drone itself actually braces itself against a strong wind, the motorised gimbal ensures that the camera is not only level but absolutely rock solid.

At the time of writing this I do not have my CAA permission for aerial work and cannot offer this as a service but I have signed up to do a professional pilots course at the end of June and hope to be able to add aerial filming to my portfolio of services towards the middle of July.

In the meantime, though, here is an example of what the DJI Phantom 3 Professional can do with some shots from Hayling Island.

After using an FS7 on a recent shoot, I was really impressed with the image quality and the camera overall. I had read all of the reviews when the camera came out and it was one of the cameras I was looking at as a potential upgrade but without any actual hands-on experience I was a little reluctant to take the plunge and buy one.

My recent experience has taken away any doubts that I may have had and I have bought the camera and kit lens, spare batteries and a Metabones Speedbooster adaptor so that I can use many of my 35mm prime lenses.

This set-up will give me the best of both worlds; because the kit lens is a zoom, the camera can be used in an ENG type shooting environment yet, because I can also use primes, I can also achieve a more traditional large sensor look.
I recently travelled to Benbecua in the Outer Hebrides for a three day shoot. I've never been to this part of the world before so I was really looking forward to it. 

Like most business trips, the most I saw of these beautiful islands was on the journey between the hotel and the location where we were filming. However, the little I did see from the window of the car was beautiful, even though the weather was cold, windy and overcast. Fortunately, we were shooting indoors so the elements were not a problem.

The main challenge on this shoot was the remoteness of the location. To actually get there you have to fly on a tiny plane for the last leg so I had to make sure that I travelled light enough to actually get on the aircraft but also with enough kit to ensure that I could do the shoot.

This is where my LED panel lights came in to their own. Everything; lights, stands, batteries and charger all packed in to one compact case that, luckily, fitted in to the hold of the aircraft. 




So I visited BVE in February and had look at some of the new pieces of kit that will be hitting the market soon.

One of the main reasons for me going to the exhibition was to have a hands on look at the new JVC LS300 4K camera. I was pretty excited seeing it in the flesh for the first time. (Sad, I know) I played with it for about 30 minutes and was really impressed with the picture quality. I was also very interested to learn that the 35mm lenses that I am currently using with my 101 via an adaptor will also give a full 35mm image on the 300. While the 300's lens mount is micro four thirds, it will allow full 35mm lenses to be used. 

I was also very keen to speak to the people on the Panasonic stand. I have been hearing rumours about a 4K replacement for the 101 which also has me pretty excited. However, the chap on the stand said that he personally has heard nothing about it, leading him to believe that it is just a rumour. He clarified by saying that they usually announce new products at NAB in April and he only receives his briefing for this in late March. Reading between the lines, if there is a new Panasonic large sensor, MFT camera about to hit the market then we won't have anything concrete until at least April. I think the message is watch this space. If there IS a new camera on the horizon then it may be worth a look.
I have pre-ordererd the new JVC GY LS300 camera body and have been given a provisional delivery date of March 2015.

As yet, I have not had the chance to give the camera a test but rest assured that I will be putting it through its paces as soon as I can get a demo model. 

The LS300 shoots 4K as well as standard HD, has a super 35mm sensor and will deliver a beautiful, film-like shallow depth of field.  

It is fully compatible with all of my existing lenses and kit so I can't wait to try it out at BVE.