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Collaboration Will Bring Cinematic Training Modules To Zephyr Drone Simulator

Little Arms Studios Partners With Emmy-Nominated Cinematographer Skip Fredricks

A collaboration has been formed between Little Arms Studios and Hollywood cinematographer Skip Fredricks to launch an updated version of the Zephyr Drone Simulator that include the basics of drone cinematography. The two-time Emmy nominated content producer and certified drone instructor has brought his unique instructional perspective to a series of new cinematic skill modules that have been added to the simulator’s progressive training curriculum.

“These cinematic filming skills are important not only for filmmakers but are central to many other RPAS disciplines as well,” said Kyle Bishop, CEO of Little Arms Studios. “For any commercial UAV pilot looking to capture footage for tower inspection, agricultural survey or a real estate marketing video, the new Skip Fredricks Edition of Zephyr will ensure competency in all of these core skills.”

Fredricks’ cinematic career includes credits on many well-known productions for both the big and the small screen ranging from action sports broadcasts to content for The Sopranos, even blockbuster films like The Fast and the Furious 2. Fredricks is also currently the Program Director at DroneTV and an FAA certified flight instructor at the Unmanned Vehicle University. Bringing his unique perspective to the cinematic training modules in the Zephyr Drone Simulator, Fredricks and Little Arms Studios are delivering a comprehensive training solution for cinematographers looking to incorporate drone footage into their filmmaking repertoire.

“The drone-mounted camera can be an amazing cinematic tool for filmmakers which, obviously, requires some special training,” said Skip Fredricks. “As I developed the curriculum for a new college-level cinematography program, I began to realize that students needed a simulator that could give them a safe, economical platform on which to build a base of flight experience. Expanding on the flight skills already incorporated into the Zephyr Drone Simulator allows filmmakers to transfer the core photographic techniques like composition, panning, and reveals to the three-dimensional space available with a drone.”

The progressive training curriculum and real-life flight physics built into the Zephyr Drone Simulator make it the ideal starting point for novice sUAS pilots. Zephyr takes students through a natural skill progression to ensure proficiency in all elements from basic flight to advanced techniques, even throwing unexpected weather shifts and component failures into the mix while teaching FAA regulations. Zephyr has become the preferred simulation solution for colleges and universities, first response units and professional flight schools training commercial drone pilots. Instructors also rely on the platform’s proprietary Learning Management System (LMS) to easily issue assignments, review and assess students’ skills and monitor their overall progress throughout the training courses.

With Zephyr’s core curriculum establishing the basics of straight-and-level flight, the special Skip Fredricks Edition builds on these core capabilities with a series of modules designed to teach a core cinematic skill set, including:

Tracking Shots: One of the most-used cinematic techniques is the tracking shot which sweeps horizontally across a scene, maintaining a consistent distance to the target subject is imperative and requires practice on the stick to master.
Dolly Shots: Moving the camera towards or away from a subject is another common filmmaker’s technique that requires absolutely precise straight-line flight and consistent speed control from a UAV pilot.
Tracking Reveal: Panning the drone-mounted camera across a scene while gaining altitude at a consistent, appropriate and eye-pleasing rate takes considerable practice but can often add an element of surprise to a shot.
Dolly Reveal: Similarly, an airborne dolly reveal requires a skilled pilot to progress to or from a subject at a constant speed while changing altitude for the ultimate reveal.
Flyover Reveal: Whether tracking down a moving speedboat or traversing the route to a real estate listing, the flyover reveal eventually overtakes the subject after building the appropriate anticipation.

The Skip Fredricks Edition of the Zephyr Drone Simulator can be bundled with the pilot’s choice of transmitter for $159.99 or is available as an upgrade for current users for $19.99.

(Source: Little Arms Studios news release. Image from file)



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