It is not every day that we have the opportunity to film a helicopter in flight in the mountains, with our on-board cameras and our drones!
We will therefore relate the particularities and constraints, as well as the solutions adopted to capture images as close as possible to the action, without however interfering with the helicopter pilot and the heli-lifting of electrical pylons, within the framework of a report commissioned by our client.
When Stéphane Hulin, director of the Aude/Pyrénées-Orientales branch of INEO/Equans, contacted Drone-Pictures, his idea was to have us make a film about an atypical operation that ENEDIS had commissioned: changing three kilometres of power lines in a mountainous area, located an hour from Perpignan, the branch’s headquarters.
His first motivation is to make the job of a network fitter known. Of course, he is perfectly aware of the spectacular nature of the means used, such as the spider shovel and the helicopter. The magnificent setting of the Saint-Marsal valley, in the heart of the Pyrenean mountains, as well as the intrinsic subject of the film to be produced, requires the use of drones, ground and on-board cameras.
Mr. Hulin, having seen our references and productions, immediately felt in phase and confident with our approach, our means and our enthusiasm to participate in this challenge.
The first day of filming is scheduled for March 2023, where the spider shovel is working to dislodge the old wooden pylons.
The spider shovel, because as you can see in the film, the slope is steep, and only a machine designed to be able to grip the sloping and sometimes slippery ground can be used for this kind of work.
This first phase also allows us to understand this forest valley in a mountainous area and its relative inaccessibility by road.
It was at this point that we discussed possible solutions so as not to miss any of the phases of the heli-lift scheduled for April.
Back from Perpignan, following the first shooting, the editing of phase 1 seduced our client. Just like him, we can’t wait to get the more original images of phase 2, which is helicoptered!
So, at the very beginning of April 2023, in the heart of a nature that spring has just awakened, we are at the foot of the helicopter to consider with the pilot and his assistant on the ground, the possibilities of fixing our GoPro onboard cameras. One outside on the undercarriage (double secured), the other inside in the centre of the cockpit, just behind the front seats. Our cameraman will also be able to board the first reconnaissance flight with a 360° boom camera and hold it outside for a few minutes while flying over the power line. He will also film some close-ups of the pilot, with our Sony A7 camera.
Back on the ground, and start of the heli-lift operations.
These will take place over 2 short hours. No time to lose.
The following sequence will be repeated about twenty times throughout the morning:
Take-off of the helicopter
Attachment of the new metal pylon
Take off to the implementation area
Drop, retrieve and anchor the pylon in the foundations prepared for this purpose by the network installers
Hanging up the old wooden tower for removal down the valley
Drop zone of the wooden pylon
After two flights with our Inspire 2 drone for a first collection of aerial images, we each took a camera to complete them with ground and low angle views.
Then it’s time to follow a team of Network Installers and film their actions as the helicopter drops the new pylons and picks up the old ones. This part will be shot simultaneously by a drone and a ground camera, the FX3, with our cameraman on site with the INEO team, the remote pilot of the drone a little further away.
Once the new pylon is securely in place and the old one has been taken up into the air, the technicians are left with the task of repositioning the electric cables on the new supports. This is a high-flying job requiring them to climb and work suspended in the void some ten metres above the ground. A risky and very physical job.
It is these skills, difficulties and technical mastery that the film we produced and directed for INEO/EQUANS aims to show and hear through interviews with the agency director and Anaïs Ranely, the business manager in charge of this highly structural and exhilarating mission!
Mission accomplished, judging by the reactions of our client, whom we thank warmly. This new filming experience allowed us to discover new trades, a new region that we know little about, and a whole team of professionals invested in and motivated by their little-known trades.
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