Drone Filming for the BBC

BBC / HBO Gentleman Jack

Series One and Two

Location: Yorkshire

Drone filming on Sally Wainwrights hit drama for HBO and the BBC was one of the high lights of our aerial filming business for several years.

We first started drone filming in 2018 on series One working through the summer heat and enjoying every moment of it. The sun was out every day we were booked for our drone filming service and we never lost a day of filming due to poor weather. 

Then 2019 came along and all filming stopped for many months due to a government lock down caused by a world wide pandemic.

However series Two of Gentleman Jack was back in production and over the next 18 months the cast and crew battled through this very difficult time.  

Originally most of series One was filmed on location in Shibden Hall and the stunning landscape of Calderdale and Halifax with other scenes filmed around York and over seas.

However due to travel restrictions and attempts to control the virus a custom built set was made a Leeds East Airport in a vast hanger. 

Individual rooms were created with space for the crew to move around at a safe distance from other cast and crew members and helped to eventually bring Gentleman Jack series back to the telly.

We did manage to film many exterior scenes during both series One and Two and had the privilege of being the drone pilot for all the drone scenes. 

If you’re a fan of Gentleman Jack you will recall both opening scenes of series One and Two which were both filmed by our drone with Philip Fearnley piloting the aircraft and also closed series two with the final closing shot of the series.

Some of the other memorable moments were drone filming Stephensons Rocket for the train sequence,  flying close behind a horse and carriage at high speed down a very narrow cobbled street in Bradford and working very close with Suranne Jones on several dramatic high speed walking shots.

Often we would be working with trained stunt horses with our drones following the action. These specially trained horses had to get used to out aircraft so prior to filming we would fly the drone from a safe distance to the animals and then slowly bringing them closer and close. This conditioned the horses to the sound of the drones and meant that when we did the actual scene they were totally fine with it and never got spooked.



So what kind of drones and kit did we use?

On both series of Gentleman Jack we flew the incredible DJI Inspire 2 aircraft with the super 35 sensor. We alway have at least two of these brilliant aircraft within our van just incase there are any issues on the day.

The DJI Inspire 2 is a super reliable drone however there are times when for no reason what so ever there might be a problem. Hence the saying One is non and Two is one.

We always carry back up kit!

Technically we shot in Proress 4444HQ and in Dlog 4k which gave amazing results when compared to the crews ground Cameras and unnoticeable in quality once on the TV screens.

We filmed as a two and three man crew on Gentleman Jack. Myself Phil Fearnley piloting the drone, several professional drone camera operators working the drones camera and often a AC pulling focus.

The drones live images were sent via SDI cables to the video village for other cast and crew to see all under the careful eyes of Sally Wainwright, Directors of Photography and production executives.

An incredible experience and highly pressurised but well worth the effort.

Hopefully there will be a third series of Gentleman Jack and if that’s the case we will hopefully be invited back to be the drone pilot and drone crew.

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