After a climactic conclusion to Season 1, hit show Underground is back for Season 2. Created by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, and produced by John Legend, Anthony Hemingway and Gary Huckaby, Underground is a fictional account of the historic ‘underground railroad’ that was used to channel escaped slaves to safety in Canada before and during the American Civil War. Aerobo worked with the Underground team during Season 1, providing key drone cinematography.
When the second season of Underground headed into production, the team reached out to Aerobo again. Though the first season was shot in New Orleans, LA, the new second season was shot primarily in Savannah GA. With the newfound flexibility given by Aerobo’s drone technology, the Underground team used Aerobo shots in every episode. Aerobo’s team provided dynamic drone cinematography that ranges from complex high-action footage, to dramatic shots focusing on talent, to scenic/establishing shots and “Plate-shots” (plate-shots are shots that the VFX crew will use as a background to build digital effects on top of). Aerobo employed a wide range of airframes to ensure the drone hardware was matched perfectly with the demands of the particular shot. For example, some shots, in particular, required physically smaller drones than others. The Phantom 4, Inspire 1, Inspire 1 X5R and the Aerobo proprietary drone platform, the X8, were all leveraged for this season. This broad selection of hardware options makes Aerobo unique in the drone services world and is more diversity in hardware than is typical for most projects.
The Underground visual department is one of the best Aerobo has ever worked with. Director of Photography, Kevin McKnight and Producer/Director Anthony Hemingway know how to use a drone cinematography on set as well as anyone we’ve ever seen. They both push the creative boundaries of what was previously impossible before drone technology. More than in most projects, they know how to use a drone to facilitate their creative vision. There are many examples of this throughout the 20 episodes of Seasons 1 and 2. A great example is the first shot of Season 1 Episode 1 where the scene is set and viewer is introduced to Rosalee (played by Journey Smollet-Bell) in one extended drone shot. The shot begins outside of a plantation house up high, transitions to low, the camera rotates to look back to where it came from and flies in the front door and out the back door focusing on Rosalee’s expression all the way.
Another great example of the masterful use of Aerobo drone services by the Underground team is a fight that is shot as it occurs on a boat in the middle of a river. Director Hemingway used the drone camera to bring the fight to life from multiple angles employing fluid transitions in between.
Aerobo enjoys filming many projects, from broadcast sports, to news coverage and commercials for clients all over the world. The Underground team takes this enjoyment a step further with their high-level technical aptitude and an elegant creative vision, pushing the boundaries of drone cinematography for film and TV production to new heights.
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