Uk News I joined a National Geographic cinematographer to see how he captured Scotland's complex beauty United Kingdom news

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Uk News I joined a National Geographic cinematographer to see how he captured Scotland's complex beauty United Kingdom news

PremierLeague-News.Com -

Uk News I joined a National Geographic cinematographer to see how he captured Scotland's complex beauty United Kingdom news
11 August 2022 - 17:15

PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! Exceptionalism is a hell of a drug, something I’m reminded of in St Andrews when I am given charge of a drone. Ordinarily I find these flying machines irritating, a noise something akin to swarming bees or vuvuzelas, capable of destroying tranquillity wherever they hover. A 2017 NASA study found that at the same volume, the noise of drones is more annoying than that of ground vehicles. It didn’t need Nasa to work that one out. However, when I’m the one piloting a drone, it isn’t at all problematic – no, when I’m doing it, it is actually quite cool. It may only be a lightweight 250g model with a fixed camera; and OK, I have to have Scotland’s leading aerial cinematographer Kirk Watson walk with me as I escort the machine around a rudimentary obstacle course, but by the end I am left feeling like I could well be Tom Cruise’s successor should he finally walk away from the Top Gun franchise.Admittedly Watson would make a better candidate. The man from Aviemore has been piloting drones around Scotland for “last eight years professionally – and a few years unprofessionally before that.” His experience and skill have made him a go-to cameraman for a slew of production companies looking for airborne shots of his homeland. Jamie Lafferty, left, puts a drone, one of the show’s cinematography gadgets, to the test (Photo: Robert Perry/PinPep)The newest of these is the Disney-owned National Geographic behemoth, which has released a fourth series of Europe From Above, a series which floats around the skies above another six European nations, starting with Scotland. I have been invited to St Andrews to get some sort of understanding of their process – and to do some fun stuff in the sky. As in the case in most of Europe, the UK has strict rules governing drone piloting, dizzying regulations covering everything from maximum flying heights to proximity to airports to the sobriety of the pilot. Watson has all this stuff memorised, part of the reason he is so rarely prone to accidents. I ask if anything went wrong on the National Geographic shoot and he shakes his head, before conceding that it’s not always been so smooth on other jobs. “Once, shooting on the Faroe Islands, one of the drones just decided to fly off – I was pretty careful with the controllers, but nothing was happening. It just did its own thing and disappeared out to sea.” Watson called the aviation authority, then his insurance company. For Europe From Above, the drone pilot’s favourite scenes were shooting around the Queensferry Crossing, capturing vertiginous shots of safety engineers working at lethal heights above the Firth of Forth.

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. The drone pilot’s favourite scenes were shooting around the Queensferry Crossing (Photo: National Geographic)However, shooting the massive structure also allowed him to fly over the ordinary 400ft maximum legal height for his drone – staying in close proximity to the bridge allowed him to reach its summit at 679ft, and in doing so, capture some of the most memorable sequences in the show. Most of the footage was shot on bluebird days, presenting the nation as a Visit Scotland idyll, where rain and darkness have never existed beyond slanders made by neighbouring countries. However, the day after my drone experience, National Geographic’s helicopters land in St Andrews, but also in reality, which is to stay with a stiff North Sea breeze and persistent drizzle, conditions which might locally be called dreich. As classically dismal as the weather is, the helicopter pilots don’t hesitate in taking us into the sky, quickly finding a comfortable spot between the rainclouds and the yawning fields of Fife below. I’ve never seen Scotland from this perspective before, but I do know something about my country’s land ownership and for the initial 20 minutes of the flight, it is hard to enjoy the view. The ground below is exclusively used for farming or towns or golf courses. In other words, nothing natural, with virtually all of it scarred to one degree or another. Glencoe seen in satellite view (Photo: National Geographic)This improves as we follow the River Tay inland and the topography kicks into the sky. Arable land gives way to pastoral and as we gain height sheep appear as tiny pixels below. The mountains ahead represent something much wilder, some hiding their heads in clouds, their considerable shoulders covered in purpling heather, their toes dipped into lochs. Eventually, we come to mighty Glen Coe, where suddenly we are flying between the peaks, sharing the sky with wisps of forgotten cloud. Bursting out into Scotland’s ostentatious west coast, sea lochs then stretch below us, reaching like crooked fingers into the nation’s belly. We swoop west to the Isle of Eriska, which sits on the confluence of waters lochs Creran and Linnhe, where we stop for lunch at the island’s Scottish Baronial mansion. After the pilots have refuelled the choppers, we fly south over Argyll, buzz over Rest and Be Thankful, then emerge over Loch Lomond’s bonnie banks to spin around lofty Ben Lomond, where tourists wave tiny hands and think they’re lucky to have seen us, but not half as lucky as we are to have seen them. Europe from Above premieres on National Geographic at 8pm on Thursday 11 August. All episodes will be available for catch-up on Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk.

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