In our new Humdinger Labs series, MINNE/SPECTIVES, we utilize drone technology to create new and interesting visual angles, never before seen from some of our favorite Minneapolis water landmarks. We are exploring different shooting and post-production techniques and treatments to not only create a fun, creative piece, but also to help improve our overall technique and skills.
For this episode, we spent time buzzing around the serene Lake Harriet. Unlike her frat-boy cousin to the north, Harriet is quiet and reserved. Probably best known for its iconic bandshell, there is also plenty of boating, walking, biking, and picnicking to be done around these parts.
Most frequenters of Lake Harriet only see the lake from its shore—which is a sight to behold, no doubt. But from above, Harriet has some even more spectacular sights to offer.
And you'll never believe how well-organized those sailboats are until you see them from above.
If you read our first post about Episode 01 of MINNE/SPECTIVES, you'll be happy to know that the shoot for this episode went much more smoothly. Instead of five trips to collect the footage we needed, we were able to get everything shot in a single morning.
And boy, what a difference it makes.
The lighting at the lake was perfect. We shot this one in the early morning, so the cool blues that surrounded us were nicely contrasted with the warm glow of the sunrise. It made this already peaceful lake even more cozy.
That's not to say that things were dead quiet around the lake, though. To our surprise, runners, walkers, and grandmothers alike flock to Lake Harriet in the early morn to soak up the vibes. If you look closely in the video, you'll even notice the lawn behind the Bandshell was home to a morning yoga class.
Having flown the drone a good handful of places by now, we're used to the interest that passersby typically express in whatever it is that us hooligans are doing. Drones are a new technology, and new things generally excite peoples' curiosity.
But for this shoot, we were stunned at just how many people stopped to ask questions, figure out what we were doing, or in some cases, even scold us (with one woman concerned that we were "flying so high in a flight path", and another demanding to know if we were with the CIA).
Well, we certainly weren't high enough to hit the planes that soar over Lake Harriet. And despite our wildest dreams, none of us are secret agents. But it did give us a better outlook on exactly how sensitive new technologies like drones can be. And of course, we already take every precaution we can to make sure no one is uncomfortable with us flying (including not flying over large crowds or flying at low altitudes near people).
Finally, it's worth mentioning that shooting a lake is very different from a waterfall. Shooting Minnehaha Falls for our first episode of MINNE/SPECTIVES was actually a great move, as it allowed us to explore the new vantage point of the drone without any limitations. We were able to view the falls from many different angles and positions. And every take was unique.
At Lake Harriet, though, we needed to be a bit more creative. Being that everything is much more horizontal here, we couldn't just fly up and down and get breathtaking footage. It was more about taking the features of the lake—the rows of sailboats, the massive Bandshell—and turning them from something expected into something artistic.
With that, our favorite shots were the ones flying right above the sailboats. It is mind-boggling the amount of info our own eyes take for granted, or that we just can't see from where we stand. None of us expected, for example, how neat and organized those rows of boats are. From the shore, they just look loosely scattered around the water near the shore. But getting a bird's-eye view of the boats gave us a visual we would have never expected on our own.
So, seeing as how we learned a thing or two, we're going to check this episode off as a success. Keep an eye out for our next episode, it'll be floating around the world wide web soon. Until then, thanks for reading!