In the Land of 10,000 lakes, Minneapolis stands out as one of the most water-centric cities in the nation. The combination of its urban lakes, creeks, waterfalls, and the mighty Mississippi not only define the city, but make it uniquely different.
In our new Humdinger Labs series, MINNE/SPECTIVES, we utilized drone technology to create new and interesting visual angles, never before seen from some of our favorite Minneapolis water landmarks. We explored different techniques of drone flying, camera treatments and video post directions to not only create a fun, creative piece, but to also help improve our overall technique and skills.
For the first episode, we took to the skies to get face-to-face with the majestic Minnehaha Falls.
Of course, we'd be rude not to give a proper shout-out to the real hero behind this video: our brand-spanking-new drone. We recently picked up a DJI Phantom 3 Professional, because we're always trying to expand our in-house capabilities and explore new crafts. It's how us creative folk stay sharp. (And, let's face it, everyone likes new toys.) So after a bit of buzzing around the park, we figured it was time to shoot something bigger. Something better. Something wetter.
Being our first big shoot with the new drone, we didn't really have a plan for this footage. The idea of MINNE/SPECTIVES came to us after we wrapped the first shoot—and immediately asked ourselves, "Where to next?" From there, creating a series seemed like the only logical idea.
However, we didn't have nearly enough (good) footage from the first shoot to make a full video. So we trekked back down to the falls one beautiful morning to shoot some more... And when that wasn't enough, back for more again. In the end, we had made five different trips down to Minnehaha Falls. With all these different sets of footage, we soon realized that each was shot at different times, which meant different lighting. This made color correction quite difficult, as we had to take completely different-looking scenes and make them feel like one. We'll check that box as lesson learned.
Other than that, though, coloring the footage was actually easier than we expected. The falls look spectacular in the warm glow of the morning sun (albeit maybe a bit dark down in the valley). There isn't much work needed to make Minnehaha Falls look grandiose—check out the before-and-after comparison:
And then there were the aerial stunts needed to pull off the shots for the video. Since it was our first real shoot with the drone, you'd think caution would be our mantra... But that's just not how we do things. For example, the opening scene of the video was filmed by flying under the bridge at the top of Minnehaha Falls, and out over the waterfall itself. The clearance under the bridge can't be more than 3 feet—but we managed to squeeze it through. Somehow. Despite a handful of close calls (and the scare of waterfall spray), we finished each shoot with the drone safely in hand.
Which means we're probably out there flying around the city right now. So stay tuned to see what we've got in the works for Episode 02 of MINNE/SPECTIVES (hint: there'll be more water).