While working in 3D-visualization software such as Lumion, features such as OpenStreetMap (OSM) and satellite ground planes can provide some context for your design. They are suitable options for quickly building urban or rural environments relevant to your project’s location, but they’re also limited. For instance, OSM only provides rough building shapes, rendered white, and the satellite maps are flat, often outdated, and the resolution is too low for client visualization.
Drone photography has been one of the biggest advancements in aerial photography and cinematography. Drones began making a huge impact on filmmaking in the early 2000s, but vast advancements in aerial and camera technology have dramatically increased the use of and demand for aerial footage in nearly every industry focused on digital content.
The construction industry has begun implementing drones on construction sites as a way to get a birdseye view of a project, capture the finished building from a unique perspective and even be used in the actual construction of the building itself. But when it comes to architectural photography and cinematography, we are just beginning to scratch the surface.
Read on for ArchDaily's Guide to Drone Photography/Cinematography.
Beauty or Tragedy? Aerial Imagery of Spain’s Abandoned Housing Estates Wins DJI Drone Photography Award
The winners of the DJI Drone Photography Award have been announced, a competition calling for ideas to make creative use of drone photography, and to explore subject matters impossible to experience on foot. This year, the two winning projects consisted of a new perspective on Spain’s 3.4 million abandoned houses, and the documentation of salt production across Europe.
Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly called drones, are gaining in popularity not only among the general public and consumers, but also among professionals working in the AEC industry. We’ve seen ambitious predictions for the use of drones on construction sites, as transportation vehicles and marketing tools.
While this new technology, like 3D printing and robotic fabrication in general, promises to revolutionize the architectural profession, it is useful to know to what extent its practical application can affect the way archipreneurs work. It seems that, for now, drones have great potentials when it comes to several aspects of the profession.
Drones help us see architecture in new ways. Explore Moscow, Georgia, St. Petersberg, and Russian supertall skyscraper Lakhta Center through Timelab’s lense. With the help of drones, Timelab Production’s vimeo profile showcases a wide variety of professional video content. Travel to new places (and new heights) from the comfort of your own home by watching the videos below.
Diverse, green and dynamic, in this video Singapore is shown through a new kind of lens, one that exists above the city, pans down it, rolls over it and offers a view of its architecture from an alternative angle. André Eckhardt's drone hyperlapse video takes us onto the street, up in the air, and down by the sea as the weather shifts and changes, and as people go about their day to day lives. Using clever speed adjustments, Eckhardt switches between the fast-paced movements of the city up-close and moments of pause as he takes us up over it. Picking out architectural works including the iconic Bayside projects of Moshe Safdie, PARKROYAL on Pickering and the Oasia Hotel by WOHA, the Gardens by the Bay, and the Helix Bridge, Eckhardt brings Singapore's colorful skyline to life.
The immense scales and geometric intricacies of Hong Kong have long held the fascination of the public consciousness, and has been further reinforced in recent years by mind-bending photography series such as Michael Wolf’s “Architecture of Density.”
In this new film from architect Mariana Bisti, this phenomenon is explored for the first time through drone videography. Not limited to vantage points accessible to humans, the video zooms and pans deliberately over, across and into the city’s enormous residential blocks, the cinematography bringing to mind that of Charles and Ray Eames’ seminal production, “Powers of Ten.” Special care to detail has been taken to align each composition to the Cartesian plane, resulting in mesmerizing experience that never breaks your attention.
In this video, drone Videographer Azeez Bakare takes us through BIG's recently-completed Grove at Grand Bay, a residential complex in South Miami featuring two twisting 20-story towers and a lush tropical landscape terrace designed by landscape architect Raymond Jungles.
Commissioned for the project by BIG, the video shows how the building transforms throughout the day: standing out as stark white sculptures during the day before turning an orange glow as the glass balconies reflect back the setting sun, and finally, lit up at night against the Miami skyline.
Architect and author of the Architect + Entrepreneur book series Eric Reinholdt recently released a video detailing the results of his research into the best drone for architects and designers. The drone he chose is the Mavic Pro from DJI, which he says balances multiple factors like cost, portability, camera quality, stability, ease of operation, and flight time. The only major negative Reinholdt mentions is the camera’s fixed aperture; he recommends counteracting this by purchasing neutral density filters, which help adjust the camera’s exposure. But why architects? Reinholdt mentions the variety of possible uses for a drone throughout a project, but most importantly, he sees video as the future of telling the story of architecture. Through video, you can simulate a user's movement through spaces and mimic the experience of architecture.
With rapid advancements in technology and crystal clear imagery, drones have allowed us to experience our cities and landscapes from unimaginable vantage points and perspectives. In its series of videos, YouTube channel Mingomatic uses drones to capture the sights and scenes of predominantly American cities and various locations from above, offering glimpses of skylines, oceans, highways and terrains (and seals!). Check out the 10 videos below for some spectacular views, and find Mingomatic’s full selection, here.
Preliminary Research Office has recently been selected to design a pedestrian bridge in Shenzhen, connecting the two tower buildings, each 210 meters (689 feet) high, which will serve as their client’s future headquarters.
The bridge’s formal composition is the result of two intersecting conic masses, positioned about their common axis and directed towards the towers’ core. Perpendicular cones are split by these larger cones at two points on the bridge’s axis, extending to form observation platforms for flying and viewing drones, while also serving as meeting spaces.
In preparation for their grand opening on January 11/12, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg has released an interactive drone video that lets you experience the Herzog & de Meuron-designed building at two different speeds: adagio and presto (slow or fast). Using the spacebar to switch between speeds, the footage takes you on a tour up the curving escalator, on to the elevated terrace, around the building and finally into the main concert hall, where the drones meet back up in a dramatic finish.
New typologies in architecture generally arise in two ways. The first is through a reevaluation of existing typologies that cater to familiar programs such as housing, schools, or healthcare. This is done in an effort to improve on the norm and to challenge accepted architectural notions, as seen for example, in the work of Moshe Safdie and OMA. The other is when an entirely new program, site condition, or client emerges and forces the invention of a new typology simply through their design requirements.
For his Master’s degree project at the University of Alcalá in Spain, Saúl Ajuria Fernández has envisioned the essential civic building of the future: the Urban Droneport. Located in what Ajuria has identified as a “disused urban vacuum” in Madrid, Spain, the Urban Droneport “allows and optimizes the transport of goods with Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems in urban areas” - in other words, drone-delivered packages.
Foster + Partners' Apple 2 Campus is racing towards its December 2016 completion date. As seen in this drone video captured by aerial videographer Matthew Roberts, the exterior of the spaceship-like main building is nearly finished, with many of the campus' other buildings, such as the auditorium, the research & development center and the 100,000 square foot corporate fitness center, also approaching full realization.
Set to a soundtrack suitable for the most climactic moment of an episode of Game of Thrones, this drone footage from filmmaking duo BigFly takes viewers inside the St. Louis Church in Paimboeuf, France. As it carefully navigates around the church’s arches and pendentives, the drone captures the space in a distinctly golden light, giving viewers up-close looks at the bold colors and flamboyant ornamentation for which the neo-Byzantine style is recognized.
Back in September, Foster + Partners released details of their designs for a droneport in Rwanda, a humanitarian initiative that seeks to jumpstart and navigate the infrastructural challenges of emerging economies. In this video, Foster and others involved in the project explain the process of realizing the droneports, giving further details on its inclusion in this year’s Venice Biennale—with engaging new architectural visualizations to boot.
A new video by PONGOFILMS titled, “Archaeology of the Sea” captures footage of Italy's Riviera Romagnola during the winter. Using drones, the footage is captured from above, displaying closed aquatic recreation centres in "a place where it's difficult to understand what is waiting for the summer and what will remain lost." Boat rentals, cabanas and nightclubs laze into the frame, bereft of the buzz and activity that usually occupies them. See the full video, with accompanying soundtrack by Tame Impala, below.
As I have touched on in the past many times, context is what transforms an artistic rendering into a photorealistic visual that accurately portrays a building. Seemingly minute details such as the warmth of interior lighting in night renders can actually make a dramatic impact on how the image is received by a potential client or investor. With this in mind, and in a continual attempt to improve the accuracy of renderings while increasing the value they provide to architects, some rendering artists are now taking advantage of readily available Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platforms – more commonly referred to as drones – to gain a unique vantage point of land slated for development.
In the past capturing aerial photographs of an area could only be achieved from planes or helicopters, both of which come at a hefty price tag, even to rent. Drones equipped with the same capabilities can now be purchased for a fraction of the cost, making aerial photography more attainable. Aside from capturing standard video or images, drones have given rendering artists access to software that allows them to accurately map the topography of an area slated for development, adding a new level of context and accuracy to the rendering.