Drone Filming for the BBC

BBC Canal Boat Diaries

Series One, Two and Three

Location: Midland & Yorkshire

We were the drone pilots on several episodes of the first series if BBC’s Canal Boat Diaries with Robbie Cummings series one and then when series two and three were commissioned we were asked to fly every episode as the preferred drone filming company which was such good fun.

Robbie Cummings presented this unique TV program  using his Iphone giving a unique perspective on canal boat life. 

Our  drone filming added a touch  cinematography to the whole production making it one of the most watched programs on BBC4

Extra Bits

Flying off a barge has its own challenges so most of the drone shots were taken from the tow paths with kind permission from The Canal and River Trust.

We based ourselves on Robbies barge most of the time stopping along the way to get stunning drone shots that complimented the ground images.

Each episode taking around 4 weeks to film and in the case of Series 2 filming started at Ellesmere Port and ended in the centre of Birmingham.

Series 3 started at Wigan going all the way through Lancashire then into Yorkshire and ending at Ripon in North Yorkshire.

Its a very small crew but produces some stunning work and gives a real inside into the life of a single boater travelling the UK’s waterways.

So here’s the secret formula in how we made one of the BBC ‘s most watched programs.

The crew consisted of Robbie our presenter, star and film maker. Myself as drone pilot and series photographer and Stuart Woodman our producer who filmed interesting B-roll on Go Pro 8’s and made sure we filmed everything we needed checking the interesting facts along the way.

 It made for a lot of hard work but the results were staggering. Once the shoot was over Stu’s rough cut edit was passed over to Matt the professional editor and then on to the colour grade by Andrew Dobson. All overseen by Lou our production manager and series executive Tony.

For those who are interested in the drones used on the shoot there has  been a real mixture of the DJI Inspire 2 with the X5s micro4/3rds camera set up and the DJI Mavic Pro 2. When series 4 get commissioned we will be using the DJI Mavic 3 cine filming in 1080 HD or 4k and rec 709 colour profile. The DJI Mavic Mini 3 might even get a ride out for some of the tricky locations but this will again be used in 4K just to keep the quality as good as we can get.

Operating as a drone pilot on the program has been incredibly challenging working long days based from Robbie boat, charging kit on the boat and then walking countless miles with the boat to get the general views only possible when drone filming from dry land.

Its a happy crew with Stu keeping everyone fed with his not so yummy potted meat sandwiches making a hotel evening meal even more appealing.

Here’s a few of the never before seen stills from behind the scenes of Canal Boat Diaries two and three.

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