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Jeremy Braben Aerial DoP Discusses Aerial Filming on ETERNALS

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Team Involved
• Jeremy Braben – Aerial DoP/Camera Operator
• Jim Swanson – Aerial Camera Operator
• Oliver Ward – Aerial Technician
• Giles Dumper – Helicopter Pilot
• Alan Perrin – Drone Pilot
• Sam Thurston – Drone AC

Director: Chloé Zhao
DoP: Ben Davis BSC
VFX Supervisor: Stephane Ceretti
VFX Supervisor: Mårten Larsson


What was your brief? / Creative Approach
We were required to shoot VFX and live action plates in the Canary Islands, Germany and in the UK. Filming took place in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Helicopter Film Services Eternals Beach and Rock Aerigon drone with Alexa Mini 1

Which locations did you film in?
Canary Islands:
Locations included Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. We filmed around extinct lava fields, and volcanos.
On the helicopter, we used our Shotover F1 gimbal with the Alexa LF Mini camera and Fujinon Premista 28-100mm lens to capture plates for use in sequences involving the ‘Celestial Mothership’.
For our drone filming, we used our Aerigon drone, Alexa LF Mini – or – Alexa Mini using the Zeiss CP.3 lenses on beach locations, ‘Australian Outback’ locations, and on a palm tree-strewn valley location.
We were supported on the logistics front by Sur Films.
Helicopter Film Services Eternals Beach Crew Aerigon drone with Alexa Mini

UK locations included Salisbury Plain, (Wiltshire) Bagshot (Surrey), Oxfordshire, Camden and Hampstead Heath (London). In the UK, our crew provided both single camera and array work.
On the helicopter, we used our Shotover F1 and Shotover K1 gimbals with the Alexa LF Mini camera and Fujinon Premista 28-100mm lens to capture plates for VFX sequences.
For drone filming, we used our Aerigon drone, Alexa LF Mini – or – Alexa Mini using the Zeiss CP.3 lenses on beach locations, ‘Australian Outback’ locations, as well as a palm tree-strewn valley location. There was a house that had been built in the middle of Salisbury Plain, so, for instance, we used our Aerigon drone to film a car approaching the house.

We used our drone to film in German locations, which included capturing plates at a frozen lake at the stunning Staatsbesuch Nature Reserve, whereby our sequences would be used as backgrounds for ice crashing visual effects. Here, we used the Shotover K1 gimbal with the Alexa LF Mini camera and Fujinon Premista 28-100mm lens.

What were the specific challenges you faced? How did you overcome them?
There are very few helicopters in the Canary Islands, so this necessitated bringing one to the islands from Mainland Spain. Permissions were of course negotiated, given that we needed to film some sequences at a nature reserve. We also had to continually commute between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Plus, there were weather challenges as expected, including Atlantic storms which affected the sets.

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